Category Archives: Scotland

Ewing Fountain

Location: Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland

In 1862, Mrs. Catherine Ewing presented the city with an elaborate canopied drinking fountain which was erected in Guildford Square at the corner of Victoria Street. It was flanked on three sides by the Lorne Hotel, the Bute Arms Hotel and the Temperance Hotel.

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I have been unable to find little information on the drinking fountain; whether it was donated as a memorial, or when and why it was removed. My educated guess is that it was removed in the early to mid-1900s most likely due to public awareness of sanitation and possibly dismantled to use the cast iron in war armaments.

Looking to the west

Looking east

The drinking fountain was design number 20, an elaborate 18 feet by 4 feet fountain, sold by Walter Macfarlane & Co, and manufactured at the Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth, the open filigree canopy was supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which were positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches were trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette offered shields for memorial: swan, crane, and a dedication shield. On each side arch faceplates provided a flat surface for an 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 offered decorative relief on the circular, ribbed dome. The internal capitals contained flowers and statues of owls on enlarged column heads. The structure was surmounted with a large lantern finial.

Under the canopy stood the font (design number 18.) A circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies, rested on a wide base with canted corners. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Rising from the centre was a pyramid shaped stanchion decorated with swan and bird decoration. A kylix-shaped lamp terminal with four consoles offered drinking cups suspended by chains.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife, lions are symbolic of guardianship; and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

Glossary

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • 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
  • 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
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

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The Original Drinking Fountain at Saracen Cross

Location: Glasgow, Scotland

The cast iron canopy restored in 1999 at the intersection of Saracen Street and Bardowie Street known as Saracen Cross has been researched and can be viewed at this link.

An entirely different type of drinking fountain stood in the same location in 1878. This fountain was also a source of water for horses.

The 12ft 6ins. high drinking fountain was 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 four lanterns. The terminal was a four sided clock.

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Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • 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
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Rosette, a round stylized flower design
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 


Greenock Esplanade Drinking Fountain

Location: Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Note: I have researched hundreds of cast iron drinking fountains, and on occasion the research takes months, or is put on the back burner because there is no digital information available (most of my research is done online). This particular fountain has been pulled out of my ‘stumped’ folder – perhaps a reader can contribute.

The drinking fountain canopy is located in the garden of John Gault House on the Greenock Esplanade. The structure originally located at the western end of the Esplanade housed a drinking fountain.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette host the image of a crane. Memorial shields were also offered including 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.’ 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 is 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.

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

Aberlour Railway Station Drinking Fountain

Location: Aberlour, Moray, Scotland

The drinking fountain attached to the wall of the main building served travellers for many years following the opening of the railway station in 1923. The Strathspey Railway closed the line to passengers in 1965 although freight traffic continued to use it until 1971. The building has now been transformed by the Aberlour Community Association and serves as a visitor centre and tearoom.

The redundant water fountain set into the wall of the former Aberlour Station building is model D17 cast by the Kennedy Patent Water Meter Co. Ltd. of Kilmarnock, Scotland, now known as Glenfield & Kennedy Ltd.  The maker’s name is stamped onto the backplate; T. Kennedy Patentee / Kilmarnock.

The cast iron backplate has straight sides with moulded arches at the top and bottom of the structure. A bas-relief inscription requests patrons to Keep The Pavement Dry (civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains). A central push button released water from a shell motif spigot into a fluted demi-lune basin. A galvanized cup, originally suspended by a chain, captured drinking water from patented self-closing taps.

Glossary

  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Spigot, a device that controls the flow of liquid

Town House Fountain

Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

In an area of Aberdeen known as Old Machar there is a building on the cobbled High Street which was originally the Town House (Town Hall) in the 19th century. A weekly market and a bi-annual fair were held in this location and likely the reason for the erection of a drinking fountain/trough with a single lamp.

The fountain no longer exists and a mercat cross stands in its stead.

The cast iron drinking fountain was design number 174 manufactured by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow. It consisted of a central pedestal flanked by two horse troughs with a lamp centerpiece.

The pedestal with chamfered edge hosted four panels. On three sides a compass cross contained a lion mascaron with self-closing tap from which water spouted into small basins. Drinking water was captured in metal cups suspended on chains. Overflow water which drained into troughs for horses also fed small troughs at ground level for dogs.

A frieze of acanthus leaves was situated beneath the capital upon which there was a lamp standard seated on four decorative consoles. A bulbous base with bas-relief extended into a fluted column with bands. An acroter supported a single glass lantern.

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Chamfer, a beveled edge
  • Compass cross, a cross of equal vertical and horizontal lengths, concentric with and overlaying a circle.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Fountain

Location: Auchencairn, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

A drinking fountain, lamp & trough located in the Square has been a fixture since the late 19th century. It was funded with public subscriptions and erected in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The fountain which was only one of a few water sources in the very early 1900s also offered water to horses.

The project to restore the fountain was undertaken in 2009 by Roy Wilson who was an active member of the Auchencairn Initiative (a community fundraising organization). The structure was cleaned, repaired and repainted by Ray Innes of Innes Design Centre, a local British Industrial Design Engineer.

The structure was manufactured by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire, England and was originally seated on an octagonal stone plinth. A thick circular pedestal supported a large round trough from which overflow water fed a shallow trough at ground level for the use of smaller animals. During the late 20th century (post 1996) the plinth was extended using cobblestones creating a circular shape, and the short pedestal and shallow drain forming a trough for dogs was removed.

Beneath the capital of a short column rising from the centre of the trough are two decorative consoles from which drinking cups were originally suspended on chains. The decorative fluted lamp pillar with yoke maintenance arms was surmounted with a gas globe (Bray’s Flat Flame Lantern System.)

The manufacturer’s name is located on the trough basin, and on the fluted pedestal is a decorative shield inscribed with a dedication; Jubilee Lamp / Erected By / Public / Subscription / 1897.

Glossary:

  • Bray’s Flat Flame Lantern System, a cluster of wide flat burners within a glass lantern in which the upper portion was white opaque glass to reflect the light downward
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of a street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder

Edward VII Coronation Fountain

Location: Fintry, Stirlingshire, Scotland

In the early 20th century a drinking fountain was erected at the junction of Main Street and Kippen Road (known as the Cross) to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII in 1902. The benefactor was Walter Menzies of Culcreuch who also funded the Menzies Village Hall and Stewart’s School.

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In 1986/7 the fountain was struck by a vehicle causing severe damage which initiated its removal to a residential garden while its future was decided. The offer to restore the fountain at a nominal cost by Broomside Foundry in Bonnybridge was eagerly accepted.

The fountain now located on a small traffic island is a customized design by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. It is seated on an octagonal plinth. The fountain is constructed with font number 18, a wide base in the form of a Greek cross with canted corners, on which is set a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four elaborately decorated quatrefoil basins. Symbolism was popular in Victorian times and lions are symbolic of guardianship.

An obelisk decorated with acanthus and floral relief rises from the center of the basins with four panels containing a swan engraving, and a shield identifying that the fountain was erected by Walter Menzies to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII.

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The capital hosts four consoles which offered drinking cups suspended by chains. A short pillar is terminated with decorative yoke maintenance arms beneath a lantern originally lit by gas.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Greek cross, a cross with arms of equal length
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • 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
  • Relief, a sculptural technique to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of a street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder