Category Archives: Saracen Foundry

Shildon Drinking Fountain

Location: Shildon, Durham, England

The 19th century drinking fountain located in Timothy Hackworth Park was donated by the Committee of the Old Shildon Workingmen’s Club for the enjoyment of the people of Shildon.

Erected in 1914, the canopied drinking fountain 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.

1965

The structure was listed as a Grade II historic building on 24 February 1986. The structure deteriorated over time and the griffins were stolen.

2001

Photograph taken 13 March 2001 © Mr Alan Bradley LRPS

During refurbishment of the park in 2003, the drinking fountain was also restored. The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings which display lunettes with alternate images of cranes and optional memorial shields. The shields in this instance display the Royal George Engine, the first steam engine cheaper than horse power, which was designed by Timothy Hackworth, a pioneering railway engineer. A second shield is inscribed Presented / To The / Inhabitants Of Shildon / By The / Members Of The Old Shildon / Workmen’s Club / November / 1914. There is also a shield commemorating the mining profession which was predominant in the area.

On each side arch faceplates provided 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 which is surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

Under the canopy stands font, casting number 7. The 5 ft 8ins high font is 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 is engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase is terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles originally 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. The cups were removed due to recurring epidemics of Scarlet Fever which spread quickly and was often fatal.

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.

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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

 

Thorntree Well Fountain

Location: Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland

In the 19th century, the town of Bothwell’s water supply came from a series of public wells. Towards the end of the century these wells were being replaced with piped water. One such well named Thorntree, situated at the junction of Green Street and Main Street, was replaced with a drinking fountain in 1889. Public subscription raised funds for the project in 1888.

The fountain was damaged in April 1896 when it was hit by a tramway bus drawn by four horses. “On Monday night, about nine o’clock, while a tramway bus drawn by four horses, and driven by John Sinclair, 109 Broad street, Carlton, Glasgow, was passing through the village on its way to the city, the driver mistaking the road, took the off-side of the fountain at the foot of Green Street, and went crash against the stone wall at the corner opposite. About fifteen feet of the wall gave way, and the driver was thrown from his seat, sustaining an ugly cut on his temple. The passengers escaped with bruises” Hamilton Advertiser 11/4/1896.

The fountain was removed circa 1940s when it became an obstacle to tramway lines and increased motor traffic.

Design #80 manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co. in the Saracen´s foundry, Glasgow 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. It was 12ft 9ins high providing a circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horses’ hooves. The central stanchion with attic base supported a central fluted column and the option of a shield for inscription. Cups suspended on chains hung from two projecting consoles in the form of tendrils. A bulbous form engraved with acanthus bas-relief demarcated the transformation of the column into a lamp pillar (#30) with lantern design #208. Yoke maintenance arms were positioned beneath the lantern.

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Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of the street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder

Maxwell Square Fountain

Location: Pollokshields, Glasgow, Scotland

In the late 19th century during demolition of the tenements in East Pollokshields, Sir John Stirling Maxwell donated land to create a playground for local children. Named Maxwell Square (not to be confused with Maxwell Park) it was opened in 1889 and featured a cast-iron drinking fountain on the Kenmure Street side of the Park. It was demolished in 1950.

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 image of a crane, 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,’ or optional memorial shields. 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.

ebay

1905 pollokshields

Circa 1905

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

Town Hall Fountain

Location: Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England

The 17th century Town Hall consists of a half-timbered building and a town gate. It was renovated to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee, and at the same time a drinking well operated by pump, was replaced with a drinking fountain mounted on the wall.

Casting number 15 (2 ft 9 x 1ft 9) from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s Saracen Foundry is a wall mounted drinking fountain with a fluted demi-lune basin. An arch faceplate, now blank, once bore 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.

flickr_eve2

Used with permission, Eve Parry. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/12616079@N00/16382840639/

Glossary:

  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting