Category Archives: England

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.

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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
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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.

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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.

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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

Queen Victoria Wall Fountain

Location: London, Surrey, England

In the grounds of Hampton Court Palace a 19th-century drinking fountain is set into the border wall of the Broad Walk which is in front of the eastern façade of the palace. It was installed soon after Queen Victoria opened the Palace and Gardens to the public in 1838.

The fountain was manufactured by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire (casting #106) 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.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette displaying the crowned head of Queen Victoria; beneath is a recessed trefoil arch which contains the drinking well. A shell situated in the interior of the arch dispersed water into the basin below. A metal cup was chained to the right side of the shield. On either side of the well are seated putti holding daffodils on high whilst resting on acanthus foliage.

Two inscriptions were engraved: on the arch, Wills Brothers Sculpt London; and on the lower edge of the structure, Cast By The Coalbrookdale Co.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Putto (plural is Putti), a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
  • Trefoil, An ornamental design of three rounded lobes

 


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

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

 


Rebekah Foord Memorial Fountain

Location: Strood, Kent, England

A memorial drinking fountain was unveiled on Coronation Day, 28 June 1864, on the Rochester Esplanade to commemorate the life of Mrs. Foord, a benefactor of the poor. It was funded by public subscription and remained on the Esplanade until 1906 when it was relocated to Rochester Castle Gardens. In 1912 it was transported to the Recreation Ground, Northcote Road in Strood where it remained until 1930. Its current whereabouts is unknown.

An article in the Chatham News described the celebration of the opening of the fountain and ended with a poem;
Rebekah’s Fountain
Behold! a humble monument, we lift
To acts of one , to whom fond mem’ry leans;
A Font of flowing water: ‘tis the gift
Of God; t’obtain which man but finds the means.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure was 9 feet 6 inches high and consisted of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals united with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette hosted the city and arms of Rochester and the Foord family, and an open bible displaying a verse from St. John’s Gospel chapter 4 verse 14, ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.’ An inscription read; This Drinking Fountain Is Erected By Voluntary Contributions In Grateful Remembrance Of Mrs. Rebekah Foord Of This City Who During Her Life Was Foremost In All Works Of Usefulness And Kindness To The Poor. A.D. 1864 .

On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. The structure was surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stood the font (design number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. The terminal was a crane. The basin (2 feet 6 inches in diameter) which had a scalloped edge and decorative relief was supported by a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and four descending salamanders, a symbol of courage and bravery. A central urn with four consoles offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The fountain was operated by pressing a button.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • 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

 


Arthur Itter Memorial Fountain

Location: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England

Itter Memorial Park and the drinking fountain located just inside the park were donated to commemorate the life of businessman and philanthropist Arthur Itter, M.A. B.COM. During his lifetime he was a brick manufacturer, a member of the Council of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland, and Mayor of the City of Peterborough.

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In 1933 at age 35 years, he became Mayor Elect of the City of Peterborough. He holds two records; the youngest Mayor ever to be elected; and the shortest term of a Peterborough Mayor. He died following a sudden illness on 26th December 1934 after only being in office for two months.

This octagonal shaped drinking fountain seated on a two tiered circular plinth is design #14 manufactured by George Smith & Co., Sun Foundry, Glasgow. The ogee shaped base and acroter support a single pillar with attic base and inset arched panels. Entablature with bolt consoles sit beneath an ogee cupola. The structure is surmounted with an orb finial.

Originally, cups suspended on chains above the two demi-lune basins offered water to humans, and a trough at ground level supplied smaller animals. A dedication marker is inscribed with the following legend:

This Drinking Fountain Was Erected By / The Mayor, Aldermen And Citizens Of / The City Of Peterborough As A Memorial / To Arthur Itter M.A. B.Com Who Was A Member / Of The City Council From the 26th March / 1929 to the 26th of December 1935. And Died / During His Year Of Office As Mayor Of The / City On The 26th December 1935.

Note that the dates on the plaque are incorrect. Arthur Itter died in 1934. The park was donated by his family in 1935.

Glossary

  • Acroter, flat base
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • Demi-lune, 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