Location: Capetown, South Africa
This fountain was briefly mentioned in a previous post entitled Distant Twins & Cousins which reviewed the same model in Loanhead, Scotland, and Mowbray and Simon’s Town both in the Republic of South Africa.
The drinking fountain with trough and lamp was donated to the people of Rondebosch by mining magnate Mr. George Pigot Moodie in 1891.
Located on a traffic island at the intersection of Belmont and Main Road in the centre of Rondebosch it is recognized as the first electric street light in the area it was declared a national monument on the 10th of April 1964.
In 2011 the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District together with other stake holders financed refurbishment of the fountain which had begun to deteriorate. Originally black and gold the paint colours were changed to the current heritage-green.
The structure was destroyed by a speeding car driven by an unlicensed drunk driver in 2015.
Heritage Castings, a restoration company based in Blackheath, which undertook the restoration of the fountain in May 2017 has funded most of the cost of repairing the fountain with the Simon van der Stel Foundation making a financial contribution. Established in Cape Town in 1990, Heritage Castings is one of a few remaining foundries worldwide capable of recreating original castings of this nature.
Many parts including the lantern were missing and were replicated with wood patterns by foundry pattern maker Steve Wood at the Cape Town foundry. The horse and dog troughs have been refurbished. The entire restoration is in cast aluminium as it is more durable and does not rust, therefore requiring very little maintenance.
Although the fountain which is being restored with the original colour palette was scheduled to be installed in 2019, national laws for donated items must go through a legal process which has caused a delay.
The drinking fountain is design #27 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 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 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 lamp roofed in with scales of opal glass which allowed the lantern to cast the light downward. The terminal was a crown. The electric light was powered by Pigot Moodie’s own generator until the municipal power supply was implemented in 1892.
- 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
- 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
- Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal