Wall fountains not surprisingly required a supporting wall. These decorative drinking fountains were set into the wall to form unobtrusive niches – a design that was very popular on railway station platforms. Although they provided a necessary service in a period of history when clean drinking water was not readily accessible, there generally appeared to be so little commotion at the erection of these structures that their individual history has been lost. The Saracen Foundry owned by Walter Macfarlane & Co. offered several models.
Casting number 15 (2ft. 9ins. x 1ft. 9ins.) is a wall mounted drinking fountain with a fluted demi-lune basin and egg and dart rim. An arch faceplate bears the inscription Keep the Pavement Dry. The interior of the arch contains a shell lunette from which a tap protrudes. Two doves represent the symbolism of the spirit drinking from the water of life. A single drinking cup on a chain is suspended on a decorative console.
Casting #16 (3 ft. 3 ins. high and 2 ft. 7 ins. wide) is a wall mounted drinking fountain in the form of a round arch trimmed with highly decorated fret detail and rope moulding. The recessed interior of the arch contains a shell lunette with a tap which issued water into a fluted demi-lune basin. The fountain is surmounted with a palmette finial and a ring from which a single drinking cup was suspended on a chain. See previous posts: Innerwick and Peebles in Scotland, and Ramsey, England.
The example below located at Dumfries Railway Station on the northbound platform is functional. A second example on the southbound platform has no tap. The station and all parts thereof are a category B listing as designated by Historic Environment Scotland.
The model below is an extended version of Design No. 16 with a ground drainage basin. An inscription in raised letters is located above the tap; Thank God From Whom All Blessings Flow.
Casting number 17 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue has already been blogged. See Saracen 17 Wall fountains identifying models in Colchester, Falstone and Milford Haven in England; Penarth and Portcawl in Wales; and Rathdrum, Ireland.
Casting #9 is a small drinking fountain measuring less than 2ft. wide and 2ft. high. It has a plain backplate devoid of decoration in the form of a shield. A spigot emerges from an embellishment in the shape of a diamond with dog tooth frieze. A drinking cup was originally attached to a chain, and run off water was captured in a plain demi lune basin.
This example is located in Gigha, Argyll & Bute, Scotland opposite the post office and is in an advanced state of rust. It is situated almost at ground level on a stone wall, adjacent to entrance gates to the Gigha Church of Scotland.
Casting #5 is a 4ft. tall cast iron plate. The drinking fountain on the wall of the Guardbridge Hotel (previously the station house) bids you to Keep The Pavement Dry. An arch shape with quatrefoil bas relief displays the acronym for North British Railway, NBR. A spigot protruding from the same point furnished water into a single drinking cup on a chain suspended from a decorative console (no longer present in these images). A decorative flourish is applied as an enrichment. The example at Leuchars Railway Station no longer exists.
An example of modification to design No 5 is located on the boundary wall at the current Social Services Department (formerly Abbotshall Primary School). It was recorded as a C listing on Historic Environment Scotland on 27 February 1997.
- Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
- Console, a decorative bracket support element
- Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
- Dog tooth frieze, pyramid shaped carving
- Egg and dart, a carving of alternating oval shapes and dart or arrow shapes
- Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
- Fluted, a long rounded groove
- Fret, running or repeated ornament
- 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
- 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
- Spigot, a device that controls the flow of liquid