Location: Old Elvet, Durham, England
In the 19th century a cast iron drinking fountain/horse trough was located outside the Royal County Hotel in Old Elvet.
With regards to the history of this structure, I have been able to discover very little. A volume of the Builder Magazine for 1863 reported that a drinking fountain was situated at the foot of Elvet Bridge. Durham Record Office identifies it as being erected in 1864, and there are numerous links (mostly Pinterest) that state it was presented by Coroner of the Chester Ward, John Graham, and his wife in 1896.
Design #27 was manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co. in the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow. The design was advertised as 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.
It provided a drinking trough for horses with small basins for dogs at ground level. The trough was a 6’6” diameter circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horse hooves. Fetlocks transitioned into an acanthus scroll motif at the interface with the trough. 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 supported a central column with flared bases and pilasters. Four projecting consoles suspended cups on chains that allowed humans to drink from spouting water (the water flow was operated with two bib valves which released water when pressed). Horses drank from the large basin.
A dedication shield located directly above the consoles was adhered to the fluted shaft. The decorative capital, enriched with acanthus and rosette with a dog tooth frieze, supported a central gas lamp.
- Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration. It is symbolic of a problem that has been solved.
- Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
- Console, a decorative bracket support element
- Dog tooth, pyramid shaped carving
- Fluted Shaft, 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
- Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
- Rosette, a round stylized flower design
- Stanchion, upright bar, post or frame providing support