Category Archives: Saracen Foundry

Church Street Fountain

Location: Preston, Lancashire, England

A cast iron drinking fountain/horse trough was erected in 1897 at the intersection of Church and Stanley Streets outside H. M. Prison. It was donated in 1897 by Mary Cross, the founder of the Deaf and Dumb School at Brockholes. Sadly, it no longer exists.

Design number 19 was advertised by Walter Macfarlane & Co. to be used as a standalone fountain or placed under a canopy structure. Manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, the font was 10’ 10” high. The wide base with canted corners supported a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column were decorated with floral relief and projecting acanthus. Four consoles protruded from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. Two elaborate brackets supported lamps. The capital supported the finial, a statue of Samson.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

1900

Circa 1900

barrackschurch st

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • 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
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support

 

Glenview Park Memorial Fountain

Location: Larkhall, Lanarkshire, Scotland

I have been unable to discover when this drinking fountain was erected, and if Glenview Memorial Park is the original location. However, per photographic evidence it was in this location in 1929.

1929

The canopied drinking fountain located in Glenview Memorial Park is 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 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 displayed lunettes with alternate images of cranes and swans, or optional memorial shields such as the Larkhall Victualling Society Limited. On each side arch faceplates provide 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 offer decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals are floral ornament, and statues of owls on enlarged column heads. The openwork iron canopy was originally surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

 

Under the canopy stood font casting number 7. The 5ft 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 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; 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.

As part of the refurbishment of Glenview Memorial Park a mosaic was created on the octagonal plinth of the cast iron drinking fountain. The mosaic was created by artist Alan Potter focusing the design on the historical, cultural and social development of Larkhall village and its environs. The icons are accompanied by brief descriptions in text set around the time-line: The Beaker people, The Damnoni Celts, The Romans, The early Christians, The Hamilton Family, The Reformation, The Covenanters and the Friendly Societies.

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The central portion of the design comprises images which are of particular significance to Larkhall in its development since the mid-18th century.

  • The early introduction of Building Societies allowing people to own their own properties (“Bonnet Lairds”).
  • Fruit growing in the Clyde Valley.
  • Home weaving with a handloom and shuttles.
  • Portrait of Robert Smillie, a miner, trade unionist who defended the rights of miners around the UK, a social reformer who co-founded the Labour Party in Scotland, President of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain, and a symbolic broken chain and an overhead lamp symbolizing enlightenment.
  • A miner working in a low, cramped seam, his headlamp echoing the one above Smillie’s portrait.
  • Coal loaded on to trucks being taken away to power the heavy industries of Britain.
  • The steam train crosses the viaduct, tallest in Scotland at 170’ high, over Morgan’s Glen and the River Avon.

At the centre is a circular icon showing a lark ascending over a hill, the possible origin of the name Larkhall. However the name appears as Lakhouse in Timothy Pont’s Blaeu Atlas of Scotland completed in 1596 and published in 1654. It was also known in the 19th century as Laverockhall (Laverockha’) referring to a skylark and a wet boggy area.

The mosaic was unveiled in October 2008 by artist Alan Potter and the Larkhall Heritage Group. Many thanks to Alan Potter who supplied me with the mosaic information.

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

Cameron Memorial Fountain

Location: Launceston, Tasmania

The drinking fountain/horse trough at the corner of St John and Patterson Streets in Launceston was donated to the town in 1884 by Emma Walker in memory of her late father John Cameron Esquire JP., a merchant, an investor in real estate, and a Justice of the Peace. The fountain was erected in 1885 in front of the Post Office.

The trough was moved circa 1938 as it was seldom used in that part of the city. It was relocated to the Marine Board at Lower St. John Street, near the Customs House, Esplanade where there were still numerous horse drawn vehicles in the vicinity of the wharves. When the Sewerage Treatment plant was later built on that site it was given a temporary home in the Trustees Court near Centreway Arcade.

In 1964 the fountain was moved again to the rear of Franklin House Museum which is owned by the National Trust at Youngtown. It is currently located near the single storey schoolhouse, having been donated by the Launceston City Council. Following a restoration appeal, an authentic lamp was purchased at auction and restored by volunteers Ian Smith and David Ragan.

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The fountain is design #31 from the catalogue of Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Seated on a circular stone plinth, the wide base is in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross with four lion jambs supporting four elaborately decorated quatrefoil basins for horses. The stanchion is decorated with bands of acanthus and alternating panels of cranes and swans.

Four consoles protrude from a circular fluted shaft to suspend drinking cups on chains. The standard design was offered with a round lamp. However, Emma decided that it would be better to have one with panes, in case of breakage, and requested that the monogram J.C. be engraved on each pane. A shield was mounted to the column with the inscription, This / Fountain Is Erected / To The Memory Of / The Late / John Cameron / Of This Town / By His Daughter / Emma / 1884

franklin house_tasfhs

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • 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
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support

 

 

Launceston Design #27

Location: Launceston, Tasmania

Launceston was a city rife with drinking fountains/horse trough combinations in the 19th century, and design number 27 from the catalogue of Walter Macfarlane & Co. was a popular purchase. This first image is from the late 1800s near the Launceston and Western Railway station on Invermay Road. It was donated by The Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals for the use of travelling stock. Unfortunately, in 1910, it was removed to allow for construction of the Launceston Municipal Tramway. It was sold as scrap metal and no longer exists.

Invermay rd

Another example of the trough with a gas lamp was donated to the town by Alderman Adye Douglas Esq. and officially unveiled on 30 November 1883 (the following year, he became Premier of Tasmania). It was erected on the High Street, and although the location was chosen to allow light to be cast on Lawrence Street, High Street, Elphin Road, and Brisbane Street, its suitability was questioned as it was believed that horses stopping to drink would hinder other traffic in the street. In the year 1910, prior to the opening of the Tramway, this fountain was also moved to allow for construction.

GE_John HUtton2

Used with permission, John Hutton, Glasgow Engineering

The original 18 ft. drinking fountain was a modified version of design number 27 manufactured by the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow. The design was well suited for Street Crossings, Squares, Market Places, etc., as it afforded drinking accommodation for a large number of horses and drivers, and effectively lit a wide space with the least possible obstruction to other traffic.

The fountain was situated on a concrete plinth providing a drinking trough for horses with four small basins for dogs at ground level. The 6 feet 6 inches in diameter trough was a circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horses’ hooves. The water was regulated by a small patent cistern, which was self-acting, and when the troughs were full the ball rose and shut the water off.

The central stanchion with four decorative consoles suspended cups allowing humans to drink. The water flow was operated with two bib valves which released water when pressed. A memorial shield painted brown was situated at the base of the fluted column inscribed with gold letters; Presented / To The Town Of Launceston / By / Adye Douglas Esq M.H.A. / An Alderman Of The Town / From Its Incorporation / Alfred Harrap / Mayor / C. W. Rocher / Town Clerk / 1883. The column was originally capped with an octagonal gilded lamp roofed in with scales of opal glass (design number 223). The lantern which cast the light downwards was surmounted with a crown terminal.

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The structure changed throughout the years, and at one point in history, the lamp pillar was removed; replaced with a large basin decorated with lion mascarons and painted green.

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Glasgow Engineering (established in 1892 in Launceston) was contracted by Launceston City Council to restore it to its original design. The restoration work was done to a high standard by recasting parts in cast iron and re-manufacturing the lamp. Glasgow Engineering donated $4000 to the project to bolster the limited funds of the Council. The water trough was installed on Sunday 12th October 2008 in its original location.

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Many thanks to John Hutton, Managing Director of Glasgow Engineering, who kindly shared information and photographs of the structure. Detailed images of the restoration work can be viewed at https://www.pinterest.com/glasgowengineer/fabrication-shopheritage-conservation-work-water-t/

Glossary

  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal