Category Archives: Memorial Drinking Fountain

Jubilee Fountain

Location: Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, Scotland

The drinking fountain canopy standing on a two tiered concrete plinth at Summerlee Industrial Museum was originally part of the drinking fountain installed in Dunbeth Park, Coatbridge to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. The ornately decorated canopy was known as the Jubilee Fountain.

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Creative Commons License, Colin Smith. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1471807

The canopy was donated to Summerlee Heritage Trust by Monklands District Council Leisure and Recreation Department in 1989. It was restored by conservation engineers circa 1994-1996 and relocated to the Summerlee Museum. Many thanks to Jenny Noble, Social History Curator at CultureNL Ltd. who was very helpful in assisting with my research.

Design numbers 20 and 21 from Walter Macfarlane &Co.’s catalog were very similar, and with no pictorial evidence of the original structure including the finial and font, it is difficult to know for certain. However, John P. Bolton from the Scottish Ironwork Foundation is of the opinion that the design is #21 due to the fact that pattern number 20 was not available until the 1890s presumably for commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee of 1897.

Saracen #21

#21 from Walter Macfarlane &Co.’s catalog

Design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth, the canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings which display lunettes with cartouches of a crane, a left facing profile of Queen Victoria and a dedication: Presented To The Burgh Of Coatbridge / By The / Building Trades / 22nd June / 1887. Directly above an arch faceplate provides a flat surface for inscription using raised metal letters; Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals are floral ornament. The openwork iron canopy was originally surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

Under the canopy stood the font, 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; lions are symbolic of guardianship; and doves are synonymous with peace. 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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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

 


Newtown Square Fountain

Location: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

A branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) which was formed in Lunenburg in 1890 advocated moderation in alcohol consumption and a concern for animal welfare. The society’s ‘Kindness to Animals’ movement was activated by the junior branch of the W.C.T.U. to alleviate the thirst of oxen and horses that stood for hours in the market place after pulling heavy loads of wood and produce into the town.

A proposal by the society to erect a drinking fountain with ox-troughs at the intersection of Falkland and Lincoln Streets was accepted. The fountain was presented to the town in 1911, and accepted by Mayor J. J. Kinley on behalf of the citizens.

Temperance Fountain  /This Fountain Was Presented In 1911 By The / Women’s Christian Temperance Union Of Lunenburg / To Quench The Thirst Of The Customer / And Their Horses And Oxen / At The Nearby Marketplace. / The Fountain Flowed For More Than 30 Years / Until Traffic Patterns Changed / Dedicated October 1911 By Mayor J. J. Kinley / Rededicated October 1995 By Mayor D. L. Mawhinney / A Project Of The Lunenburg Heritage Society

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The manufacturer of the cast iron fountain is unknown although the crane sculpture was frequently used by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York.

The original design consisted of a square pedestal base to support the structure. On each side a panel is decorated with bas-relief with a large trough for animals on two sides. The base, which is missing in this example, may have been removed or buried; hence the reason the troughs are at ground level.

The capital supports a circular pillar with attic base and lion head mascarons on four sides which spouted water into the troughs. Drinking cups suspended on chains allowed humans to drink from the flowing water.

A dedication plaque is secured to the east side. A sculpture of cranes standing amongst water reeds sits beneath the lamp post.

Glossary:

  • 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
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue

 


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.

penmorfa

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

Paterson Memorial Clock

Location: Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, Scotland

The Memorial Clock and Drinking Fountain located on Henderson Street was erected in 1898 by public subscription to commemorate gratitude for Dr. Alexander Paterson’s service to the town.

Dr. Paterson was a doctor and Medical Officer of Health for the burgh in addition to being a Justice of the Peace. His realised dream of creating a health resort originated from his belief in the therapeutic waters in the area.

In June 1929, the two ton drinking fountain and clock was relocated a few yards west to allow for road widening. The structure was fitted with electricity in 1930.

Restoration of the structure was undertaken in 2009 with a fresh coat of green paint and gold leaf. The clock was refurbished by James Ritchie and Sons, Clockmakers.

Manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow drinking fountain number 231 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue stands 20 feet high. Originally seated on a double tiered square plinth, the square pedestal with Egyptian patterned frieze, designed by Alexander ‘Greek” Thomson, offers a demi-lune basin. A spigot within the geometric pattern released water into the basin, and a drinking cup attached to a chain was suspended from a decorative console.

The griffin feet capitals support a four sided central stanchion heavily decorated with palmette and acanthus relief on three sides. The fourth side contains an engraved dedication; The Paterson Memorial / Erected By The Inhabitants Of Bridge Of Allan / And Others In Memory Of The Late / Dr. Alexander Paterson / Who Practised In This District For Upwards Of 50 Years / And Who Was Medical Officer Of Health For The Burgh / He Was Held In Universal Esteem / Being A Skilful Physician And A Kind Friend / 1898.

A fluted column with attic base arises from a highly decorated acroter. The structure is capped with a clock face on four sides.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • 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 decorating the shaft of a column
  • 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
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Spigot, a device that controls the flow of water (tap)
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support

Queen Street Drinking Fountain

Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

To commemorate the centenary of the founding of the Province of Upper Canada, a cast iron drinking fountain was unveiled on Queen Street outside the Niagara Court House on July 16, 1892.

A large underground cistern beneath the drinking fountain supplied water for fire-fighting in the mid 19th century.

The fountain consists of a rectangular pedestal with a square chamfered base decorated with a form of egg and dart frieze. A panel on all four sides contains the stylized pattern of a flower. Beneath the cornice facing the sidewalk is a metal dedication plaque; Erected 1892 / In Commemoration Of The Founding / Of The Province Of Upper / Canada July 16 1792.  The side facing the street offers a small basin for dogs. The capital supports a small fluted basin currently operated with a bubbler type tap.

Glossary:

  • Bubbler, a fountain with a tap which ejects a stream of water
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Chamfer, a beveled edge
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Egg and dart, a carving of alternating oval shapes and dart or arrow shapes
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue

 


300th Post

The post for the Saavedra drinking fountain dated July 24, 2017 denotes the 300th drinking fountain that I have successfully researched. I am so proud to have reached this milestone.

When I first decided to write this blog, I had no idea that so many cast iron fountains survived throughout the world. It seems strange that a metal prone to rusting would be chosen to manufacture drinking fountains when these structures were intended to be placed outdoors in an oxygen rich environment with the purpose of providing drinking water (oxygen and water creates a chemical reaction in cast iron known as rust).

These cast iron structures and monuments are now being recognized as historic artifacts, and are being restored with public and government funding.

The invaluable assistance generously given by John P. Bolton of the Scottish Ironwork Foundation has been instrumental in ensuring the accuracy of my research. My appreciation of his guidance is immeasurable. I would also like to thank all the photographers who have granted permission to use their photos.