Category Archives: England

Wall Inset Models – Saracen #17

Location: Eire and England

The font, casting number 17 (4’5” x 2’10”) from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue, was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. The design utilizes features of the canopy used in drinking fountain number 8, and is surmounted by a palmette finial. Griffin terminals flank a highly decorated arch outlined with rope detail which also encircles a medallion hosting the image of a crane. The recessed interior of the arch contains a shell lunette from which a tap protruded. A single drinking cup on a chain was originally suspended above a fluted demi-lune basin.

Sometimes, no matter how much I research, there is little information available online. Such is the case with the following drinking fountains.

The fountain at Athlone Railway Station in Ireland has been neglected as evidenced by rust and the missing medallion.

A pair of drinking fountains set into the wall at Viking Bay in Broadstairs, Kent, England, also show rust. The crane medallion is still in place.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, and cranes, recognized as a symbol of vigilance, 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.

broadstairs_geograph paul harrop

Creative commons license, Paul Harrop. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5535723

The following examples are the same model; however, the medallion has been customized.

A drinking fountain embedded into a wall at the entrance to the Old School Tea Room car park in Falstone, Northumberland, England, was installed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The standard crane medallion was replaced with the left facing profile of Queen Victoria.

The medallion in a polished and lacquered version of design #17 hosts a lion passant guardant meaning it is walking while looking towards you (on guard). I have been unable to find a similar heraldic image to explain this customization. The item was sold in 2009 by an auction house following salvage from a Wimbledon home in England.

wimbledon sif

Source: Scottish Ironwork Foundation

Glossary

  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • 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
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

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Stowmarket Council School Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Stowmarket, Suffolk, England

A cast iron structure located just inside the War Memorial gates on Finborough Road was purchased as a memorial to past students who gave their lives during the First World War. The drinking fountain was installed in the Recreation Ground opened on 1 May 1920 by Mr. George Ormes, chairman of the Stowmarket Urban District Council’s War Memorial Committee.

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In 1961 Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Suffolk included an exhibition of local industry, arts, crafts and agricultural produce in the Recreation Ground at Stowmarket. To provide ease of access to the Queen’s vehicle the fountain was moved to the western corner of the park. It was not returned to its original location until 2007 following restoration of the structure.

The drinking fountain was recorded as a Grade II historic listed building on 20 February 2017.

The 6’ 2” drinking fountain, design number 18, was manufactured by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered square plinth, it has a wide base in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross with canted corners, on which is set a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Three sides of the central obelisk contain swan and bird relief. The fourth side contains a dedication; This Drinking Fountain / Was Presented / To The Town Of / Stowmarket / By The Children Of The / Adjacent Senior Council / School In Memory Of / Those Old Scholar s/ Who Made The / Supreme Sacrifice / In The Great War / 1914-18. A kylix-shaped vase terminal with four consoles originally 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; owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife, and eagles represent immortality.

Glossary

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • 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

 


Clock Tower Fountain

Location: Mitcham, Surrey, England

On 29 November 1899, a clock tower and cast iron drinking fountain was unveiled by James Salter White, chairman of the Croydon Rural District Council. The structure was funded by public subscription to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee of 1897.

It was erected on the site of the old village pump in an area which was a rally point for Evangelists and politicians, fundraising, and events such as recruitment for the war and the inspection of Red Cross nurses by visiting Royalty.

The structure was controversial as many residents were unhappy that the old pump had been removed, and the clock became well known for its unreliability due to condensation affecting the clock’s mechanism. It was not uncommon for each of the four faces to show a different time.

The drinking fountain erected on London Road adjacent to the Buck’s Head pub and opposite the King’s Arms was relocated several times within Fair Green to allow for regeneration of the area. A controversial move in 1994, part of London Road was closed to traffic to create a pedestrian area and market place. It is within this pedestrian area that the structure is currently situated.

On 2 September 1988, it was listed as a Grade II historic building. In 2014 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund enabled the town to undertake restoration of the historic structure; a water supply was connected to the drinking fountain, a new weather vane was installed, and the clock was refurbished by Surrey-based specialist clock makers Gillett & Johnston (the clock hands are not to the original design).

The newly restored structure was erected on 26th August 2015 with bespoke lanterns installed in 2016 to illuminate the clock face. (The original four gas lamps were replaced during the advent of electricity.)

The structure manufactured by McDowall Steven & Co. Ltd. is approximately 7m high and was seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth originally with two dog troughs at ground level. Two large demi-lune basins protrude from the pedestal beneath which the maker’s nameplate is visible, McDowall Steven & Co. / Limited / London & Glasgow.

2008-3 mitcham

Four dolphins (dolphins are a symbolic protector of all things related to water) at each corner of the stanchion create sections decorated with a shell pattern, floral relief and a crest engraved V.R. 1897 which is a reference to the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Two drinking cups were once suspended on chains.

The capital supports a fluted lamp column with attic base. The column is decorated with swags, a shield bearing a cross and stylized flowers flanked by leaves. Four consoles offered a gas light source from a glass paned lantern the top of which was decorated with palmette relief and a terminal resembling castle turrets.

Four beaded consoles divided by a flower sit just beneath the four clock faces. Each clock panel is bound by fan spandrels. A gable roof is adorned by a spike at each peak and bas-relief of a crown in the pediment.

A closed urn with four knob pendants supports a weather vane with directional compass points and a directional arrow with butterfly wings.

 

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
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Gable, triangular portion of a wall between edges of a dual pitched roof
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pediment, an element in architecture consisting of a gable placed above a horizontal structure supported by columns
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Spandrel, the triangular space between two arches
  • Stanchion, upright bar, post or frame providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Harlesden Golden Jubilee Clock/Fountain

Location: Harlesden, London, England

harlesden-mcd,s-1890--hurst

Known as the Clock Tower this structure located in the High Street was originally also a drinking fountain. It was erected in 1888 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee which had been celebrated a year earlier.

With the advent of the motor vehicle it became a traffic hazard; at least two trams derailed and collided with the clock which resulted in one of the four decorative arms being damaged. As a result, on 20th March 1939 the Clock Tower was relocated three metres from its original position to ease navigation in the area.

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The basins no longer appear on images of this time period.

7-lamps_pinterest_1409The shape of the lanterns has changed and they no longer have crown terminals. Possibly due to the transition to electric light.

8-lamps2_pinterest_3145The image above shows that the lamps have been replaced again. The shape has changed and the glass is now frosted/opaque.

9-pinterest 1950s

The image above is from the 1950’s era. The lamps no longer exist and the structure has been painted red.

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Used with permission, John Moone. Source:http://www.themoones.co.uk/nw10.html

Circa 60s -70s and there is no weather vane visible.

The Jubilee Clock was recorded as a Grade II listed building on 23 Jan 1974. The tower was renovated in 1992 and again in 1997 when it was painted red, gold and black.

In 2014 the structure was temporarily removed as part of a £4.5 million regeneration project of the town centre. The Jubilee Clock, refurbished in its original colour scheme, was unveiled on 14 February 2015 at the new semi-pedestrian section of the High Street.

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The original structure manufactured by Steven Bros & Co. of London and Glasgow was seated on a square plinth with two dog troughs at ground level. Two large demi-lune basins protruded from the pedestal beneath which a dedication was inscribed: Erected by public subscription A.D. 1887. Directly above was the maker’s nameplate, Steven Bros. & Co. London & Glasgow.

An additional dedication on the base presumably refers to members of the committee that managed the project; C. J. Class Esq. Chairman / John Soper Esq. Treasurer / C. Coldney-Cary Esq. Sub / Jas Maxwell Esq. Committee / Wm. Orme Wedlake Esq. / Hon. Secretary

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Four dolphins at each corner of the stanchion created sections decorated with a shell pattern, floral relief and a crest above which were a crown and two rosettes. Two drinking cups were suspended on chains.

12-geograph_quinn

Creative Commons License, Mike Quinn. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2751729

The capital supported a fluted lamp pillar with attic base. The pillar was decorated with swags, a shield bearing a cross and stylized flowers flanked by leaves. Four consoles offered a gas light source from a glass paned lantern the top of which was decorated with palmette relief and a terminal resembling castle turrets.

Four beaded consoles divided by a flower sat just beneath the four clock faces. Each clock panel was bound by fan spandrels. A gable roof was adorned by a spike at each peak and bas-relief of a crown in the pediment.

A closed urn with 4 knob pendants originally supported a weather vane with directional compass points and a directional arrow with butterfly wings.

Note of thanks and appreciation: I would like to acknowledge John Bolton from the Scottish Ironwork Foundation who brought my attention to this structure and who has been a welcome, boundless, source of information and assistance on many of my posts on items manufactured by Scottish Iron Foundries. 

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
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Gable, triangular portion of a wall between edges of a dual pitched roof
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pediment, an element in architecture consisting of a gable placed above a horizontal structure supported by columns
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Rosette, a round stylized flower design
  • Spandrel, the triangular space between two arches
  • Stanchion, upright bar, post or frame providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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.

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