Tag Archives: Alexandra Park

Alexandra Fountain

Location: Alexandra Park, Crosby, Liverpool, Merseyside, England

Alexandra Park was formally opened in December 1902. Although not an optimum month for opening festivities, officials were eager to open it during the Coronation year. The park was named as it was adjacent to Alexandra Road, and also in honour of Queen Alexandra and her coronation in August. A park access road was named Coronation Road.

The drinking fountain was installed in the park in 1903, and little more is known about the history of this drinking fountain. It was restored in 2009 by Sefton Council as part of National Love Parks Week. The project was led by Sefton Park Rangers and assisted by many local volunteers including the Seaforth Information Network Group. The fountain was repainted in the original colour scheme of black and gold, and as the water feature no longer worked the basins were planted with trailing plants.

Purchased from Glasgow’s Saracen Foundry the drinking fountain, 10’ 10” high, is a customization of number 19 (the statue of Samson was replaced). The wide base is in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, on which is set a circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column are decorated with floral relief. Four tendrils protruding from the column once suspended drinking cups on chains. The capital supports the finial, casting #150, a female figure that originally held a leaf above her head.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • 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, an upright bar or post providing support

Penarth, Penarth Fountains

There are two drinking fountains in Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales.

St. Augustine’s Church

The wall inset fountain located at St. Augustine’s Church was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry and is 4 foot 5 inches high. The font is casting number 17, and is surmounted by a palmette finial. Griffin terminals flank a highly decorated arch with rope detail which also outlines a medallion hosting the image of a crane. The tap protrudes from a shell lunette which is repeated in the fluted basin. A single drinking cup was originally suspended on a chain.

I have been unable to find any record regarding purchase or installation of the fountain. However, in 1925 the Town Surveyor was authorised to purchase six drinking fountains for use in the park and elsewhere.

Alexandra Park

The second fountain (casting number 7 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue, manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow) is located at Alexandra Park, Beach Road, Penarth. It is located north of the pond which itself has a fountain. It was purchased in 1911 and is visible in old postcards from 1915. Currently the drinking fountain is a pedestal with a circular concrete top. The original structure was 5 feet 8 inches high, a single pedestal with four decorative columns and descending salamander relief that supported the decorated basin. A central urn with four projecting tendrils offered drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal was a crane, a symbol of vigilance.

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

  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • 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
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

 


Alexandra Parade Fountain

The 40 foot cast iron fountain, built by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry, located within Alexandra Park in the east end of Glasgow is not a drinking fountain and therefore will not be detailed here.

Instead we will focus on the cast iron drinking fountain at the entrance gates of Alexandra Park. It was erected circa 1880 and has been attributed to Cruickshank & Co., although it would appear to be an exact replica of the Sun Foundry’s drinking fountain number 3.

Four columns with obelisk finials rise from a double plinth to support a solid domed canopy. The interior column connectors to the dome are adorned with descending alligators and leafy decoration. They were considered a symbol of evil and were hung from the ceilings of cabinets as a reminder of the mortality of humanity.

The dome with a vase obelisk finial covers the fluted pedestal and wide basin containing a putto holding an oar, seated on an upturned urn.

Arch faceplates with drip fret detail offer a flat surface for inscriptions in raised metal letters; civic virtues such as temperance were extolled on many drinking fountains. Over each arch are commemorative panels for dedication or crests, one of these lunettes contains the Coat of Arms for the City of Glasgow.

The fountain was recorded as a category B historic listed building 17 June 1992.

Glossary

  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • 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
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Putto (plural is Putti), a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude