Category Archives: England

Victorian Fountain

Location: Skegness, Lincolnshire, England

A Victorian drinking fountain located outside the Natureland Seal Sanctuary and Wildlife Park in Skegness was originally erected beside a lamppost near the Hildred Hotel at the junction of High Street and Lumley Road in the late 19th century.

2009 jpb

Status 2009. Used with permission, John Bolton, the Scottish Ironwork Foundation

The fountain is design number 13 by George Smith & Co. manufactured by the Sun Foundry. The base is in the form of a compass cross with canted corners. It has a central pedestal and four columns decorated with diamond frieze and nail head molding which supported the font. The large basin has nail head relief on the rim and is partitioned by four foliate brackets from which cups are suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts on each side release water flow. The structure is surmounted with a chained orb terminal. The base is 2ft wide, basin is 2ft 9” wide and the height of the structure is 4’ 9”.

Glossary:

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Foliate, decorated with leaves or leaf like motif
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
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Williamson Park Drinking Fountain

Location: Lancaster, Lancashire, England

A park designed in the 1870s for John Williamson Snr. was further developed by his son and donated to the city in 1881. James Williamson Jnr., Lord Ashton, paid for further embellishments around 1904 and 1909 including the Ashton Memorial, a bandstand, the Greg Astronomical Observatory and an orangery/palm house (the bandstand and observatory no longer exist).

frith 1912

Circa 1912. Canopied fountain is visible on far left of image. Source: https://photos.francisfrith.com/frith/lancaster-williamson-park-1912_64219.jpg

I can find no information on the drinking fountain that was located at the south end of the park near the lake. I am making an assumption that it was also installed between the years 1904-1909; the date on which it was demolished is also unknown. However, the double tiered plinth on which it stood still exists on the pathway (seems strange to leave it in-situ when it is an obstruction to traffic on the path).

pre 1909 facebook

Circa 1904

The cast iron fountain was design #3 manufactured by the Sun Foundry, Glasgow, Scotland. Four columns with obelisk finials rose from a two tiered plinth to support a solid domed canopy. The finial took the form of a stylized urn from which rose a pilaster and orb. 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. Lunettes above each arch offered tablets for dedications. An indistinct crest can be seen – perhaps the City of Lancaster’s crest.

A fluted pedestal with a wide basin (2 feet 8 inches in diameter) contained the statue of a putto holding an oar seated on an upturned urn. This design advertised as pattern #8 was identified as ‘boy with a paddle and urn’. Water was distributed via the urn and retrieved with a cup suspended on a chain. At ground level, a small trough supplied water to dogs, and a stamp identified Sun Foundry / Glasgow.

Sun #3_putto

Sun Foundry #3 with putto and paddle

Glossary

  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Faceplates
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Putto (plural is Putti), a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude

 


Bishopsgate Lost Fountain

Location: London, England

This post is related to a ‘lost’ drinking fountain once located in the area of Bishopsgate in London. There were several drinking fountains located near or on the railings of St. Botolph church, and two of them were donated by Charles Gilpin M.P.

A record sourced from Historic England listing 1359170: Drinking Fountain 1866; 2 stone piers flanking entrance to churchyard from Bishopsgate. Stone with pink granite bands and bowls beneath niches decorated with masks. Brass fittings. South fountain reads “The Gift of the Churchwardens 1866” on side elevation. North fountain reads “The Gift of C Gilpin Esq MP. 1866”

The cast iron drinking fountain which no longer exists  was located in close proximity to the parish church of St Boltoph (I have been unable to discover the specific location). It was presented by Mr. Charles Gilpin M.P. on Wed 11thJuly 1860 to the ward of Bishopsgate in which he resided. Mr. Metcalfe Hopgood of the Common Council took the first draught of water and proposed the health of her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Gilpin was a Quaker and a publisher who was involved in radical politics. He campaigned for parliamentary, economic and land reform as well as the abolition of slavery and capital punishment. The gift of a drinking fountain to encourage the abstinence of alcohol and give an alternative to the thirsty passersby was an acknowledgment to his membership in the Temperance movement which he joined as a youth.

The fountain was cast by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire from a design by William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk. The brothers were noted sculptors in the mid 19th. century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains.

1347420-engraving-depicting-the-drinking-fountain-in-bishopsgate

The cast iron frame was in the form of a stylized shield with curved and winged edges. The top part of the shield, in the form of an ogee arch, contained a sculpture of winged cherubs resting upon clouds. The design offered a legend beneath the cherub, He Opened The Rock And / The Waters Gushed Out / They Ran In The Dry Places / Like A River / Psalm CV 41.

A recessed round arch contained the drinking well and the name of the sculptors, Wills Brothers Sculpt London. Water was dispersed into the basin via a spigot concealed behind a clam shell decoration situated in the interior of the arch. Two cups were suspended on chains on each side of the arch. The foundry’s name is engraved on the edge of the basin, Coalbrookdale Co.

Each side of the arch was decorated with reeds and foliage. On the left side was a robed male figure with long beard standing contrapposto. In his left hand was a rod resting on the cusp of the arch. This was a depiction of Moses striking the rock to release gushing water. On the right of the drinking well was the robed figure of a woman offering a basin of water to a naked child.

Below is an example of the same design still in existence in the town of Hythe in Kent.

wikipedia

Circa 2012. Creative Commons License, Nilfanion. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Water_fountain_in_Hythe.jpg

Glossary:

  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Ogee arch, an arch with a concave apex

 


Hebburn Park Fountain

Location: Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, England

20 acres of land surrounding Hebburn Hall was used as a public park from 1897 until 1920. The land south of the Hall was then gifted to the town by Ralph Carr Ellison as a gesture after the safe return of his son from World War One. It was renamed Hebburn Park, and later renamed Carr-Ellison Park.

A drinking fountain erected at a junction of winding paths was still in existence in 1916 as identified on an ordnance survey map from 1916-17. It is unknown when or why it was removed.

With little historical information on the fountain the installation date is unknown, and therefore the manufacturer is uncertain. The original design was a Sun Foundry pattern later bought by the Lion Foundry when Sun closed business.

canmore

An example of the same pattern in which the basins are more visible

The fountain (design number 41) was 12 ft 8 ins high and stood on a two tiered square plinth. The central column was decorated with palmette and acanthus relief.

Quatrefoil basins were supported by a square base with chamfered corners. Panels above each basin were decorated with floral relief divided into sections by a compass cross. The centre circle contained a lion mask with self-closing tap from which water spouted.

The capital supported a multi level acroter surmounted by the life size figure of a woman (Greek water carrier) dressed in flowing robes holding an olive branch in her left hand while supporting an urn on her head with her right hand.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Chamfered, a beveled edge connecting two surfaces
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter

 

 

 

Glossary:

 


People’s Park Drinking Fountain

Location: Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England

The drinking fountain identified in this blog was located in the People’s Park in Grimsby in the late 19th century and no longer exists. My research uncovered single line references to two drinking fountains within the park; in 1889 a drinking fountain was erected paid for by public subscription; and the erection of a drinking fountain in Grimsby Park on 23 May 1884. Contact made with North East Lincolnshire Council also produced no results.

pinterestGrimsby

Design number 19 was advertised by Walter Macfarlane & Co. to be used as a standalone fountain or placed under a canopy structure. Manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, the 10’ 10” structure was seated on an octagonal plinth. It had a wide base with canted corners supporting a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column were decorated with floral relief and projecting acanthus.

The column contained a shield with a dedication inscription, and four consoles protruding from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. Two elaborate consoles supported lamps. The capital supported the finial, a statue of Samson.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

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
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support

 


Hawthorn Leslie Shipyard Fountain

Location: Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, England

A cast iron drinking fountain for use by shipyard workers was mounted on a wall on Ellison Street at the entrance to the Hawthorn Leslie Shipyard. The fountain identified by me as ‘lost’ because it is no longer visible was actually stolen from the derelict building in 2005.

The fountain was from a design by brothers William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk who were noted sculptors in the mid 19th. century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains. It was manufactured by Emley and Walker of Newcastle. Once recorded as a Grade II historic building it was delisted in 2014.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved and winged edges. The top part of the shield, in the form of an ogee arch, contains a sculpture of winged cherubs resting upon clouds. Beneath the cherub is a legend, He Opened The Rock And / The Waters Gushed Out / They Ran In The Dry Places / Like A River / Psalm CV 41.

A recessed round arch contained the drinking well and the name of the sculptors, Wills Brothers Sculpt London. Water was dispersed into the basin via a spigot concealed behind a clam shell decoration situated in the interior of the arch.

Each side of the arch is decorated with reeds and foliage. On the left side is a robed male figure with long beard standing contrapposto. In his left hand is a rod resting on the cusp of the arch. This is a depiction of Moses striking the rock to release gushing water. On the right of the drinking well is the robed figure of a woman offering a basin of water to a naked child.

Glossary:

  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Ogee arch, an arch with a concave apex

Hickman Park Drinking Fountain

Location: Bilston, West Midlands, England

Sir Alfred Hickman owned local ironworks, collieries and a steel company. He also held positions in Wolverhampton Chamber of Commerce, the Mining Association of Great Britain, the British Iron Trade Association, the Board of Trade and was a Member of Parliament.

He promoted the creating of open spaces in Wolverhampton to aid the welfare of local people and following his death in 1910, he bequeathed the twelve acre Hickman Park to the people of Bilston. His wife, Lady Hickman who officially opened the park on 17 July 1911 donated a bandstand. A cast-iron drinking fountain to commemorate the Coronation of King George V was erected by public subscription.

1910 blackcountry2

Circa 1910. Creative Commons License, Black Country History. Copyright http://blackcountryhistory.org/

The canopied drinking fountain was design number 20, an elaborate 18 feet by 4 feet fountain, sold by Walter Macfarlane & Co, and manufactured at the Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a three tiered octagonal plinth, the open filigree canopy was supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which were positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated drip cusped arches were trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette displayed alternate images of cranes and swans and offered shields for memorial. On each side arch faceplates provided a flat surface for an inscription using raised metal letters; often the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offered decorative relief on the circular, ribbed dome. The internal capitals contained flowers and statues of owls on enlarged column heads. The structure was surmounted with an eagle finial (#38, 2ft 10ins).

Under the canopy stood the font (design number 18.) A circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies, rested on a wide base with canted corners. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Rising from the centre was a pyramid shaped stanchion decorated with swan and bird decoration. A kylix-shaped lamp terminal with four consoles offered drinking cups suspended by chains.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; lions are symbolic of guardianship; doves are synonymous with peace, and owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife.

Glossary

  • 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
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • 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
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal