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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:

Circa 1900. Used with permission. Source:


  • 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.

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  • 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

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Image Sources–bristol


Angel Drinking Fountains