Category Archives: Ireland

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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Clones Jubilee Fountain

Location: Clones, Co. Monaghan, Northern Ireland

A cast iron canopy and drinking fountain located at the market area known as the Diamond was installed in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee which celebrated 60 years of her reign.

Circa 1965, a brewery truck reversed into it doing irreparable damage. Three of the four griffins which were positioned above each column were rescued and incorporated on top of a wall leading from Roslea Road to the Roman Catholic Church. Although the font basin still remained in situ in 1967, all remnants of the drinking fountain are now lost.

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 a triple tiered 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 a profile image of Queen Victoria and a dedication shield; Erected By / Public Subscription / To Commemorate / The / Diamond Jubilee / Of / Queen Victoria / 1897. 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. The openwork iron canopy was surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

Under the canopy stood font casting number 7. The 5 ft 8ins high font was a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2 ft 6 ins 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 support 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; lions are symbolic of guardianship; 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
  • 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

 


Dunscombe Testimonial Fountain

Location: Cork, Republic of Ireland

The fountain which once stood at the end of Shandon Street in Brown’s Square adjacent to the North Gate Bridge supplied drinking water to the north side of the city. The area served as a place for traders and vendors to sell their goods. The image below shows holly for sale dating it in the Christmas season.

The drinking fountain was donated in April 1883 to the Cork Corporation in memory of Reverend Nicholas Colthurst Dunscombe who was ordained in 1823, a leading Protestant clergyman, Rector of Temple Michael De-Duah, and a founding member of the Temperance Movement in the city. As an advocate for moderation in alcohol consumption a drinking fountain was a very suitable memorial.

1939

Circa 1939

A committee administered donations to fund the construction and erection of the fountain which was in situ from 1883 until 1935 when it was removed. There is no record of the reason for its removal or the whereabouts of its relocation.

The design was registered by George Smith & Co. and manufactured by the Sun Foundry. It was seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth. A compass cross base with canted corners supported a central pedestal and four columns decorated with diamond frieze and nail head molding. The font (design number 13) was a large basin with dog tooth relief on the rim, partitioned by four foliate consoles from which cups were suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts on each side released water flow.

A central column with engraved dedication supported an inverted umbrella-style canopy with highly decorated acanthus scroll work. The cornice was intricate open fret detail with four consoles supporting glass globes lanterns lit by gas. The dome consisted of eight panels rising to two bands; one of open filigree and the other engraved bas-relief. An ogee roof supported the lamp finial with crown and pyramid apex.

Sun_Airdrie 1867

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

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration. It is symbolic of a difficult problem that has been solved.
  • 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
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Dog tooth frieze, pyramid shaped carving
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Foliate, decorated with leaves or leaf like motif
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Nail head molding, a series of low four-sided pyramids
  • Ogee, curve with a concave
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

Tait Drinking Fountain

Location: Limerick, Eire

In 1866, Sir Peter Tait, founder and owner of the Tait Clothing Factory on Lord Edward Street (later renamed the Limerick Clothing Factory), erected an elaborate cast iron drinking fountain inside the factory as a source of drinking water for his employees. Tait was a benevolent citizen and Mayor for three terms, 1866-1868.

The subsequent history of the fountain is unknown, but at some point it was removed, retained as an historical artifact and erected in the Terence Albert O’Brien Park which opened in the 1940’s. O’Brien was the Bishop of Emly who was executed in 1651 after the city fell to Cromwell’s army. The public park is also known as Clare Street Park.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings. It is seated on a two tiered square plinth.

The standard design of the rope moulded cartouches within each lunette contained the image of a crane, 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 optional memorial shield contains the heraldic emblem of the Tait family crest; a gauntlet with embowed arm in riveted plate armour and a bare hand grasping stems of red roses and leaves. Above the lunette is the Tait crest motto, Gratiam dat Deus (God Give Grace).

limerickie

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 is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy the original font was design number 7 and stood 5 foot 8 inches high. The terminal which is now missing was a crane. The basin (2 feet 6 inches in diameter) which has a scalloped edge and decorative relief is 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
  • 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
  • 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

Woodvale Park

Location: Woodvale Road, upper Shankill, north-west Belfast, Northern Ireland

Land purchased from Woodville House by Belfast Corporation was transformed into Woodvale Park. The park opened in 1888 with a bandstand and shelter. Two drinking fountains were also installed one at the front gate, and one at the back entrance to the park. Woodvale Park originally included a large pond which was filled in after World War II, and a children’s playground built in its stead. The fountain was replaced circa late 1950s or early 1960s with a bubbler type fountain with push button.

Cast iron drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured in 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 image of a crane, 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,’ or optional memorial shields. 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

Alexander Hamilton Memorial Fountain

Location: Chaine Memorial Road, Larne, Co Antrim, Ireland

Alexander Hamilton was born in 1824.He lived on Bridge Street in Larne with his wife, three sons and a daughter. As a highly respected grocer and hardware merchant in the community, he was elected to represent ratepayers at the Larne Union Poor Law Board and the Board of Larne Town Commissioners. He was a staunch Conservative and a member of the Loyal Orange Institution in Larne advancing within the membership to become the Deputy Master of the District Lodge of Co. Antrim.

He died on 9 April 1981 at the residence of his son-in-law, R. B. Kennedy. His funeral was well attended with a procession half a mile long. He was buried on 11 April 1891 in Glynn Church Yard, Larne, Ireland.

A drinking fountain was erected in his memory. A dedication plaque on the southern side reads :Erected / By Orangemen And Others / Sympathizing Friends / To The Memory Of / Alexr Hamilton / Of Larne / Who Died 9th April 1891 / Aged 67 Years / James N Mccalmont MP DL / A Boyd Secretary / J Fullerton Treasurer.

The fountain located at Sandy Bay is a customization of number 13 by George Smith’s Sun Foundry. Seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth, 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 support the font. The large basin has nail head relief on the rim and is partitioned by four foliate brackets from which cups were suspended on chains. Shell motif spouts on each side released water flow. The fountain differs slightly from the original design with an elongated column to host the dedication plaque. The structure is surmounted with a banded orb finial.

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.

 


General Henry Hall Memorial Fountain

Location: Dublin, Ireland

This structure commonly known as the Five Lamps was erected in 1875 courtesy of Lieutenant General Henry Hall C. B. of Merville House, Stillorgan, who served with the British Army and was superintendent of the Ajmer-Merwara region in India for 10 years. Upon his death, his will revealed a monetary bequest to be directed to the installation of two drinking fountains ‘to encourage sobriety’.

It is located at the junction of five streets: Seville Place, Amiens Street, Portland Row, Killarney Street and North Strand Row. Debate exists regarding the reason for 5 lamps, popularly believed to signify the five connecting streets. It is also alleged to symbolize the five battles fought by the British against the anti-colonial revolt in India. There is apparently a Hindu tradition of lighting five lamps or candles for luck.

The drinking fountain is design number 175 registered to George Smith & Co. manufactured by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow.  Demi-lune quatrefoil basins which doubled as horse troughs are supported by a square base with chamfered corners. Panels decorated with palmette and acanthus relief flank each basin. Each side of the central column contains a compass cross at the centre of which is a lion mask with a self-closing tap from which water spouted. Originally there were metal cups suspended on chains.

A frieze of laurel wreaths is situated beneath the capital upon which there is a lamp standard with four decorative feet. The pedestal has a bulbous base with bas-relief extending with fluted column and bands to a two tiered acroter, the terminal of which is a candelabrum of 5 glass lanterns with elaborate consoles.

As cast iron is prone to do, it rusted over decades, and at one time was missing a couple of the lamps. It was restored in 1987 as part of the Dublin Millennium. Grime and paint were sandblasted, the lamps were removed for restoration by craftsmen, and 70-watt high pressure sodium lights were installed. Three missing lion heads were recast and the basins were filled in to prevent vandalism. The road signs which were mounted on the structure were removed.

 

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • 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
  • Chamfer
  • 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
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mask/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
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal