Category Archives: England

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

 

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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.

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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

 


Newbridge Park Drinking Fountain

Location: Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England

A drinking fountain erected in Newbridge Park in 1927 was donated by Wolverhampton Solicitor Robert Rhodes. It was demolished during the Second World War when a dead tree fell on it.

lostwolverhampton

Robert Rhodes is fourth from the left in the picture. Source: http://lostwolverhampton.co.uk/when-spring-water-was-on-tap/

The canopied drinking fountain was design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) from Walter Macfarlane &Co.’s catalog manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on an octagonal plinth, the canopy was supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which were positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches were trimmed with rope mouldings which displayed lunettes with alternate images of cranes and swans, or optional memorial shields. On each side arch faceplates provided a flat surface for 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, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals were floral ornament, and statues of owls on enlarged column heads. The openwork iron canopy was surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

Under the canopy stood font casting number 7. The 5ft. 8ins. high font is a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2ft. 6ins. in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin was engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase was terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles supported drinking cups on chains. Water flowed from a spout into the drinking cup by pressing its edge against a projecting stud below the spout. The self-closing valve allowed for operation with only one hand.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; doves are synonymous with peace, and owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife. Cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance and are often depicted standing on one leg while holding a stone in the claws of the other foot. Legend states that if the watchful crane fell asleep the stone would fall and waken the bird.

Glossary

  • 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
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • 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
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Victoria Park Drinking Fountain

Location: Keighley, West Yorkshire, England

Eastwood House which was located in extensive parkland became part of the estate bought by public subscription in 1891. Henry Isaac Butterfield who was a local mill owner agreed to be a major benefactor with the condition that the new park be named Victoria Park. It was officially opened on 6 July 1893.

Capture

Within each of the town’s parks a rule forbade alcoholic drinks. In an effort to prevent people from leaving the park to attend beer houses, Butterfield presented an elaborate drinking fountain to the townspeople.

ebay

The cast iron drinking fountain which no longer exists was purchased from Walter Macfarlane & Co, and manufactured at the Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland. It was customized using features from two separate patterns.

The canopy was design number 20, an elaborate 18 feet by 4 feet fountain which was seated on a triple 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 cusped arches were trimmed with rope mouldings which displayed lunettes with alternate images of cranes and swans, or optional memorial shields. On each side arch faceplates provided a flat surface for 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 #38 eagle finial (2ft. 10ins.)

The font which stood beneath the canopy was casting number 7. The 5ft. 8ins. high font was a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2ft. 6ins. in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin was engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase was terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles supported drinking cups on chains. Water flowed from a spout into the drinking cup by pressing its edge against a projecting stud below the spout. The self-closing valve allowed for operation with only one hand.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; doves are synonymous with peace, and owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife. Cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance and are often depicted standing on one leg while holding a stone in the claws of the other foot. Legend states that if the watchful crane fell asleep the stone would fall and waken the bird.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • 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
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pilaster
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal