Category Archives: Drinking Fountain

Market Square Fountain

Location: Galashiels, Scottish Borders, Scotland

A drinking fountain/horse trough structure erected in 1882 and originally located in Market Square was removed in 1920 to accommodate the creation of a bus station.

The fountain was relocated to Tweed Crescent in 1933 where the base which included the drinking basins was encompassed in masonry, and the gas lantern atop the fountain was converted to electricity.

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Tweed Crescent electric light

Repair was scheduled by the Scottish Borders Council in 2011 to remove decades of deterioration due to rust. During removal of the masonry, the drinking basins originally attached to the light source were revealed. Repair of the lamp post then became a restoration project made possible with the assistance of Old Gala Club and the Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) financed with pay parking money raised in Galashiels.

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Source: Border Telegraph

The Ballantine Bo’ness Iron Company restored the lamp column and Sugg Lighting Company of Horsham (manufacturing company of the original triple lantern) was commissioned to recreate the light feature. A local company, Finlaysons, repainted the lamp post in red and gold.

 

The drinking fountain was created using lamp standard design number 28 offered by W. T. Allen & Co. of London. Three demi-lune basins were attached to a compass cross on each side of the square base into which lion mascarons spouted water. A large horse trough originally attached to the fourth side has been lost. Each basin is flanked with palmette and acanthus relief.

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Creative Commons License, Walter Baxter. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2334458

A frieze of acanthus is situated beneath the capital upon which there is a lamp pedestal. Each corner of the pedestal contains an open mouthed griffin alternated with a sculpture of fruit. (Symbolism was popular in Victorian times; griffins represented guardians of priceless possessions). The lamp pillar with floral bas-relief extends into a banded, fluted column. The terminal is a candelabrum of 3 glass lanterns extending from elaborate consoles.

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Used with permission, John P. Bolton, Scottish Ironwork Foundation

A small plaque on the base is inscribed with the name of a supplier of gas fittings; J Milne & Son, Milton House, Edinburgh.

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Relief, a sculptural technique to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

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Starkweather Fountain

Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

When water mains were installed in the city of Ypsilanti in 1889, Mrs. Mary Ann (Newberry) Starkweather donated an elaborate drinking fountain which was erected on the southeast corner of Huron & Congress outside the Ypsilanti Savings Bank (now City Hall).

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Source: Ypsilanti Historical Society

The 12ft. 6ins. tall fountain manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York was seated on an octagonal granite plinth. The base consisted of a single octagonal pedestal with attic base and canted corners.

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Eight arched cornices contained dolphin mascarons which are symbolic of guardians of water. On the east and west sides, mascarons spouted water into demi-lune basins for human consumption. Drinking cups were suspended by chains. Horses drank from two large demi-lune fluted troughs on the north and south sides. Overflow water fed basins at ground level for the refreshment of small animals. A plaque between the dog troughs was inscribed with the maker’s name, The J.L. Mott/Iron Wks. N.Y.

An attic base supported a short square column containing 4 inset panels bounded by pilasters. Within the panels, 3 cartouches contained bas-relief and a fourth cartouche offered an engraved plaque. The capital supported a five feet tall bronze statue of a Greek goddess standing contrapposto. The figure of Hebe classically dressed in flowing robes was sculpted by Bertel Thorvaldsen. She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera, the goddess of Youth and Spring, and cup bearer of the Gods. She gazes at the cup of immortality as she raises it with her left hand. A jug is held with a lowered right hand beside her thigh.

In April 1932 the fountain was dismantled for repair, with the intention of placing it in the park behind Ladies Library. However, it was put into storage (possibly due to a new awareness of sanitation). In 1935, the short column and statue were detached from the fountain structure, and erected at the entrance to Tourist Park on Catherine Street.

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There are numerous unsubstantiated tales regarding the fate of the separated fountain base and statue which have been lost for decades. One of the most likely is the requisition and destruction of ornamental iron decorations as raw material for the war industries.

Glossary

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription.
  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests

 


Earlsdon Avenue Drinking Fountain

Location: Earlsdon, Coventry, England

The drinking fountain located on Earlsdon Avenue South is a remnant of the original structure erected in 1870 at Spon Street near St. John Baptist Church.

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Image circa 1884

The fountain which was surmounted by a large gas street lamp replaced a red sandstone fountain erected by the Coventry United Temperance and Band of Hope Association on the same site in September 1859.

Considered redundant in 1921 the fountain was relocated to Earlsdon Avenue at Styvechale Common, but whether the lamp was removed at this point in time is unknown. It remained operational until the 1970s. Decades of disuse and a lack of maintenance followed causing deterioration of the structure.

A movement to restore the drinking fountain was successfully funded by Heritage Lottery. The project was co-ordinated by two local community groups, the South Earlsdon Neighbours Association and the Earlsdon Research Group, in partnership with Coventry City Council, Severn Trent Water.

The actual restoration was undertaken by the Fountain Company of Glossop in Derbyshire in 2015. When reinstalled with brass spigots and a connected water supply, it was rotated 90° from its original position to situate the basins in a north/south direction. It was listed a Grade II historic building on 15 May 2017.

Design #27 from the catalogue of George Smith & Co. was manufactured at the Sun Foundry in Glasgow. This octagonal shaped drinking fountain is a single pedestal with attic base and inset arched panels that offered space for dedications. Two demi-lune basins with drinking cups suspended by chains offered water to humans, and at ground level was a basin for dogs. Entablature with bolt consoles sit beneath an ogee cupola with alternate panels of fleur de lys motif. The original structure was surmounted with a Bray’s Patent Flat Flame gas lantern in the form of a large globe. An acorn shaped finial was attached to the restored fountain (standard finial used on George Smith’s font pattern #14, and the base of the original lamp fountain).

Glossary

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • Demilune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Entablature, moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Ogee, curve with a concave

Market Street Fountain

Location: Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

If you mention the fountain in Bloomsburg most people will immediately refer to the David Stroup spray fountain situated in Market Square intersecting with West Main Street. However, there is a small cast iron drinking fountain located outside the public library.

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The Stroup Fountain and the drinking fountain were simultaneously erected in October 1892 with the latter originally erected at Post Office corner. The Town Council erected this drinking fountain in response to a petition requesting a drinking source for men, dogs and horses.

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It was restored in 1991 and placed in front of the library on Market Street.

The drinking fountain is casting #14 by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York. It has a circular base with a trough for dogs at street level and a short bulbous pedestal with flora design. The cornice, decorated with acanthus frieze, sits beneath the capital which supports a finial resembling a pineapple. A lion mascaron originally spouted water into a small basin designed for human use. A large trough for horses facing the road is supplied with water by a lion mascaron.

A manufacturer’s plate is attached above the small basin; J.L. Mott N.Y.

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Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue

 


Top Green Park Fountain

Location: Coventry, England

The drinking fountain located on the eastern side of Top Green near Warwick Road was donated to the community by Mayoress Alick Sergeant Hill.

Designed and manufactured by Glenfield & Kennedy Ltd. this late 19th century design is known as Kennedy’s patent, self closing, anti-freezing Pillar fountain. It consists of a short fluted shaft with a fluted domed cap and a missing small moulded finial resembling a pineapple. An attached plaque is embossed with the legend; A Gift By Mrs Alick S Hill Mayoress Of Coventry 1916-1918.

Water which was released by turning a decorative knob located directly above a lion mascaron spout was captured in a tin cup suspended on a chain from the domed top. A small demi-lune trough at ground level captured overflow water for the use of dogs.

Glossary:

  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal

 


Big Lamp Fountain

Location: Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

The market place in the town of Carrickfergus lay within a triangle formed by the castle, the friary and St Nicholas’ Church. In its centre were a market cross called Great Patrick, and a market house which became the original Town Hall in 1843 until 1936.

A drinking fountain with a large gas lamp was installed on 19 November 1881 near the site of the old market cross on the High Street. It stood at the location of the old market house and was known locally as the Big Lamp. It became a meeting place, “Meet you at the Big Lamp”, and men gathered around it to discuss the news during World War One.

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Circa 1930s – presence of motor vehicles. Source: Facebook/OldCarrickFergus

Throughout the decades, the drinking fountain was modified; the big lamp was replaced with a central globe and three downward facing lanterns in the early 1930s, most likely coinciding with the introduction of electricity. Road signs to direct motor traffic were attached to the pedestal around the same time period.

Images from 1952 show that the original font with finial was removed, probably to install a more hygienic bubbler type fountain.

In 1955 it was struck by a truck and damaged prompting its removal. An inaccurate replica of the drinking fountain was erected in 1990 in Victoria Place not far from its original location.

The original drinking fountain, design number 3 from George Smith & Co.’s Sun Foundry, consisted of four columns with obelisk finials rising from a three tiered plinth to support a domed canopy. The interior column connectors to the dome were adorned with descending alligators and leafy decoration. Alligators were considered a symbol of evil and were hung from the ceilings of cabinets as a reminder of the mortality of humanity.

Arch faceplates with drip fret detail offered a flat surface for inscriptions in raised metal letters; civic virtues such as temperance were extolled on many drinking fountains. Over each arch, cartouches within each lunette offered commemorative dedication or crests.

On top of the solid dome was a pedestal braced by four secondary posts to support an oversized lantern made by George Bray, a prominent manufacturer and trader of gas burners and lamps. Bray’s Patent flat flame gas lantern was windproof, tapered downwards so as to avoid throwing a shadow on the ground in the immediate vicinity of the lamp post, and had reflectors in the top of the case to increase the illumination from the gas jet.

Standing within the canopy was a font customized from the standard design. A fluted pedestal and wide basin (pattern #11) was surmounted by the finial from pattern #7; a sculptured urn with two shell motif spouts. Water was collected with two drinking cups suspended on chains from elaborate consoles. A pointed enrichment terminated the structure.

Glossary:

  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

Clock Tower Fountain

Location: Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales

In 1858 a tower was erected by public subscription to replace the Guildhall in the square at the top of Great Darkgate Street. A clock was installed courtesy of the noble family of Pryse of Gogerddan.

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Original clock tower circa 1905

The highly unpopular decision to demolish the original clock tower in 1957 was necessary due to safety concerns with the upper masonry. The current clock tower which was erected to celebrate the millennium bears no resemblance to the original design.

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A plaque in Welsh with English translation states;
This Clock Tower Was Inaugurated By Cllr D J Rowland Jones, Chairman Of Ceredigion City Council And Cllr Jaci Taylor Mayor Of Aberystwyth On 20th October 2000. Its Construction Was Funded By Ceredigion County Council And The Wales Tourist Board.

The drinking fountain at the base of the clock tower was donated in the mid-19th century by the Reverend John Williams who was a local Methodist minister and founder of the Band of Hope temperance group in Aberystwyth. They met in the Tabernacl Chapel and processed around the Town Clock.

 

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The original drinking fountain has been incorporated into the south face of the current tower. The central area where the font was located now hosts a plaque in Welsh with English translation; This Casting Surrounded The Drinking Fountain On The Original Clock Tower And Was Donated By The Rev. John Williams (1826-1898) Of Tabernacl, An Ardent Advocate Of Total Abstinence And Founder Of Band Of Hope Aberystwyth.

Coalbrookdale_Jesus Samaria

The fountain was designed by brothers William and Thomas Wills, sculptors best known for their designs of drinking fountains. Their cast iron fountain designs were manufactured by the Coalbrookdale Co. Limited.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette of a winged cherub resting upon clouds. Beneath the cherub was a recessed arch which contained the font.

Each side of the arch is decorated with flowers and ivy tendrils. On the left side is a seated figure of Jesus Christ pointing with his left hand to the engraved verses 13 and 14 of St John’s Gospel, Chapter IV. Jesus Said / Whosoever Drinketh Of This Water Shall / Thirst Again But Whosoever Drinketh Of / The Water That I Shall Give Him Shall /Never Thirst. But The Water That I Shall / Give Him Shall Be In Him. A Well Of Water / Springing Up Into Everlasting Life / John IV. 13. 14.

On the right is a seated figure of the Woman of Samaria with her right hand resting on her cheek and her left hand on a tall urn. The vignette is a pictorial scene of Jesus meeting the Woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well.

Glossary

  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Vignette, portrayal of an episode