Location: Wednesbury, West Midlands, England
On the 21st June 1887, to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, Brunswick Park (designed by William Barron and Son) was opened by the Mayor Alderman Richard Williams, J.P.
Drawings for a fountain were submitted by George Smith & Co. and Walter MacFarlane & Co. The cast iron canopied drinking fountain selected was number 3 from George Smith & Co.’s Sun Foundry and was 9 feet 10 inches high. The structure consisted of four columns with obelisk finials rising from a two tiered plinth to support a domed canopy. 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 offered a flat surface for inscriptions in raised metal letters: civic virtues such as temperance were extolled on many drinking fountains. Over each arch, cartouches within each lunette offered commemorative dedication or crests; the town’s coat of arms is visible in the photograph.
The solid dome with finial covered the fluted pedestal and wide basin containing a standing putto (design #7) holding an urn from which water flowed.
- 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
- Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
- Finial, A sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
- Fluted, A long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
- 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.
- Putto, A figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
In Kings Hill Park, a fountain was placed on the footpath atop a three tiered plinth. The 6’ 2” drinking fountain, design number 18, was manufactured by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. It had a wide base in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross with canted corners, on which was set a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. An obelisk with swan and bird relief rose from the center of the basins. A capped urn terminal with four consoles 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.
- 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
- 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
During World War II these cast iron structures, in addition to railings and the cannons from the mount, were removed to recycle metal as a way of assisting in the war effort.