Tag Archives: Bristol

Queen Street Fountain

Location: Clifton, Bristol, England

An offer of £100 was made in 1859 by Mr. Robert Lane, a member of the Bristol town council, for the erection of drinking fountains. In 1880 a drinking fountain and stone horse trough was erected on Queens Road opposite the art museum near tramway number 8 terminal.

The drinking fountain was manufactured by Coalbrookdale Company and was a blend of two castings, using the pedestal of #112A and the dome/terminal of #130.

It was 7’10” high and seated on an octagonal 3 tiered plinth. Four fluted pilasters surrounded a central pedestal with canted corner base. Arch shaped panels hosted bas-relief of alternating Neptune mascarons and a figure holding an urn from which water flows.

The supply of water fell from the dome into a shallow basin. Drinking cups chained to the neck of a swan were supported on a small ledge above the Neptune mask.

The consoles were swans with neck bent, and upward wings. Four columns supported an acroter with frieze. The domed roof had an urn terminal.

A stone trough was placed beside the fountain to enable man and horse to quench thirsts in the same location.

This lost fountain was still identified on a 1949 map. Sometime thereafter it was removed to appease traffic flow.

Circa 1900. Used with permission. Source: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/aztecwest/7075912327/

Circa 1900. Used with permission. Source: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/aztecwest/7075912327/


  • Acroter, flat base
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • 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
  • 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


Queen Victoria Jubilee Drinking Fountain

Location: The Green, Shirehampton, Bristol, England

A cast iron drinking fountain originally located on a triangle of land at the northern edge of the Parade between Park Hill and High Street was erected in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The fountain was registered as a Grade II Historic Building on 8 January 1959.

Through a project funded by the Shirehampton Community Group (by public subscription) and the Bristol City Council the entire fountain was repaired, cleaned and repainted in the autumn of 1998.

Verse from an old Shirehampton folk song:

I met me first love in the village
(name of Mary-jean)
We shar’d a cup of water from
The fountain on the Green
We first sang carols there together
One cold Christmas Eve
Then went into The George to drink
Before I took me leave.

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, (griffins no longer exist on this structure).

Rope moulded cartouches contained within each lunette host the image of a crane, and a bust of Queen Victoria. On two sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; Queen Victoria’s Daimond Jubiliee 1897 is displayed above the bust of the Monarch. 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.’ and the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry were common features of this casting. 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 stands the font (design number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. The basin which has a scalloped edge and decorative relief is 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 offer drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal is a crane.

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.


  • 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

Queen Victoria Fountain

Location: Bristol, England

The fountain set into the exterior wall of Market House on St. Nicholas Street, Bristol, was installed to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 40th birthday in 1859. It was donated by Mr. Budgett, a wealthy Bristol grocery merchant.

The fountain was cast by Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire (casting #106) from a design by William and Thomas Wills of Suffolk. The brothers were noted sculptors in the mid 19th century and best known for their designs of drinking fountains.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette displaying the crowned head of Queen Victoria; beneath is a recessed arch which contains the drinking well. On either side of the well are cherubs holding daffodils on high whilst standing on acanthus foliage. An inscription is visible on the arch: Wills Brothers Sculpt London. A shell situated in the interior of the arch dispersed water into the basin below.

Listed a Grade II building in 1977 the painted structure was refreshed regularly by Mr. John Hewett of Whitehall in Bristol. The iron back plate and basin were damaged in 1982, and the basin was rebuilt in a concrete/resin mixture.

The fountain was restored at the behest of Bristol City Council and undertaken by Dorothea Restorations. Damage to the fountain was repaired, new cast iron pieces were fitted, and the structure was cleaned.  The original paint had deteriorated over time and after consultation with the City it was repainted in an acceptable colour palette.


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting

Image Sources





Angel Drinking Fountains

There are two angel fountains that I am aware of in England.

Manufactured by the English iron foundry, Coalbrookdale Company, pattern number 101 is a wall mounted drinking fountain.

A sculptured wreath with a recessed scalloped basin is surmounted by the upper torso of a winged angel holding an open book inscribed with a verse from the New Testament: John chapter IV, verses 13 & 14: Whosever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give shall never thirst. The recessed interior of the fountain is decorated with a shell surrounded by reeds.


The Angel Fountain erected in 1850 was originally located at Christ Church at the junction of Colmore Row and New Street in Birmingham. When the church was demolished in 1899, the fountain was moved to St. Philips Cathedral in Colmore Row. The fountain is mounted in a rectangular column with acroteria within the south western perimeter of the Cathedral grounds. Originally drinking cups were suspended on chains from two circular mounts on each side of the wreath.

A plaque beneath the fountain describes a brief history of the fountain and its restoration. This drinking fountain originally stood outside Christ Church at the junction of Colmore Row and New Street and after the demolition of the church in 1899 it was re-sited in this location. In 1988 the fountain was restored by the Planning Committee of the City Council, the Cathedral Close Community and Messrs. Wragge and Company, Solicitors.

A small step stone is located directly in front of the fountain as an aid to smaller persons. Two semi circular basins inserted on either side of the fountain at ground level are for the use of dogs.

The fountain was listed an English Heritage grade II architectural or historic interest building in 1982.









The Angel drinking fountain set into the east wall of St Nicholas church in Bristol was located at one of the city’s busiest road junctions: High Street & Bristol Bridge. It was erected in 19th November 1859 by the Iron Merchants of Bristol. This lost fountain is swathed in mystery as there is much confusion and dispute as to what happened to it.

It has been reported that during the early months of World War II it was removed for safety.

Another source claims that it was destroyed during the war. St. Nicholas Church was utilized as an air raid shelter and was subjected to many enemy bombs which destroyed the church and the surrounding buildings on the High Street. The ensuing fire destroyed furnishings and documents, and if the angel had not been taken off site it is possible that it was destroyed.

Yet another scenario suggests that the angel was damaged during WWII and removed for repair. Further damage was caused by water penetrating the wall. It was neglected in a city council yard until the Temple Local History Group and the Bristol Civic Society took action, and it was transferred to the Bristol Industrial Museum. Its location here has been refuted by a former employee.