Category Archives: Saracen Foundry

Arboretum DrinkingFountain

Location: Walsall Willenhall, West Midlands, England

In 1870 the Walsall Arboretum and Lake Company was formed in order to provide the town with a public park. The Arboretum consisted of two boating lakes, two lodges, a boathouse, a bandstand, several summerhouses, a tree lined promenade, and lawns with formal bedding displays. The park was officially opened on 4 May 1874 by Lady Hatherton.

In June 1886 the Town Council installed a drinking fountain inside the lodge gates which was turned on by the Mayor, William Kirkpatrick, who drank the first cupful on 5th August.

I have discovered two photographs of a drinking fountain of the same style, but whether they are the same fountain is unclear. One image shows that it is located near the tennis courts which were opened in 1902.

This design was number 7 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue and was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Standing 5ft 8ins it featured a single pedestal basin with four pilasters rising from an octagonal plinth. Four salamanders descended the fountain pedestal as a symbol of courage and bravery.

Saracen #7

The basin, 2ft 6 ins in diameter, had a scalloped edge and decorative relief. The interior surface was engraved, and a sculptured urn was terminated by the figure of a crane, a symbol of vigilance. 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 allows for operation with only one hand.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Salamanders represent bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

Glossary:

  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • 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

King Edward VII Fountain

Location: Dordrecht, Eastern Cape, South Africa

The memorial drinking fountain located in the grounds of the Anderson Museum was originally erected in Hofmeyr Square where it was presumably supplied with water from the Hogsett Reservoir. At some point in time the fountain was moved to the site of the Great War Memorial, in the gardens of the Dordrecht Municipal Offices. The structure deteriorated due to lack of maintenance until its care was transferred to Anderson Museum to be restored and repainted.

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.

Standing 12ft 9ins high it consists of a circular cast iron basin with a broad rounded perimeter rim upon which the manufacturer’s name is recorded in raised letters. Supported on four legs cast in the form of horse hooves, the fetlock transitions at the interface with the trough into an acanthus scroll motif. 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 attic base supported a central fluted column. 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). Originally a bulbous form engraved with acanthus bas-relief demarcated the transition of the column into a lamp pillar (design #30) supporting a central gas lamp (#208) roofed in with scales of opal glass which allowed the lantern to cast the light downward. The terminal was a crown. Yoke maintenance arms were positioned beneath the lantern.

The column capital is presently surmounted with a light fitting of circular domed sheet metal cap supported on four curved round bar supports. The light fitting was kept separately within the museum; however, the glass lamp shade appears not to have survived.

A dedication is recorded in raised letters on a small curved rectangular cast metal plaque mounted on the lamp pillar. The dedication is transcribed; This Fountain Was Erected / By The Inhabitants / Of Dordrecht / To Commemorate The / Coronation Of His / Most Gracious Majesty, / King Edward The Seventh / 1902.

artefacts_inscription

Used with permission, William Martinson. Source: https://www.artefacts.co.za/main/Buildings/bldgframes.php?bldgid=14705

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
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Bib valve, a valve controlling the release of a liquid
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of the street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder

 


Spittal’s Lost Drinking Fountain

Location: Spittal, Berwick, Northumberland, England

The town’s name derives from a shortened form of the word, hospital. A hospital dedicated to St Bartholomew, was built in the 13th century to take care of lepers.

St John’s parish church was built in 1867 on Main Street. The cast iron drinking fountain seated on a three tier square plinth was once located at the corner of Main Street and Sea Road not far from the church.

Design number 4 standing 4 feet 9 inches high from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow featuring a single pedestal with decorative bands seated on an octagonal base. Rising from the etched basin was a bulbous form supporting a pointed finial and two consoles from which metal cups were suspended on chains.

Saracen #4

Little is known in regard to the installation and subsequent removal of this ‘lost’ fountain.

Glossary:

  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests

St. John’s Drinking Fountain & Lamp

Location: Dunoon, Argyll, Scotland

This cast iron drinking fountain with lamp was presented to the town in 1899 by David Doig (a past master of Dunoon Masonic Lodge 1879-1882 & 1890-1894). It is located in Hanover Street Gardens adjacent to St. John’s Church.

The fountain is design #31 from the catalogue of Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Seated on a two tier 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 which protrude from a circular fluted shaft to suspend drinking cups on chains are unique and differ from the standard issue. The structure is surmounted with a round lamp.

Plans to repair and restore the drinking fountain were initiated in 2016.

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
  • 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, upright bar or post providing support