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The Fountains of Whitehaven

Location: Whitehaven, Cumbria, England

On 12 May 1859, Mrs. Bateman Wilson, wife of the chairman of the Water Committee, formally received a cup of water from the first drinking fountain erected in Whitehaven. Located in the centre of Green Market it served many involved in the sale and purchase of market goods. The fountain was cast iron painted dark green with griffin mascarons. A jet of fresh glacial water from Ennerdale Lake spouted from the mouth of a mascaron, and was captured in one of two drinking vessels, a white shell patterned ladle suspended by a chain.

To provide the public with fresh sanitary drinking water, a fountain was also erected at Sugar Tongue Quay to slake the thirst of longshoremen who unloaded sugar from West Indies. It was removed in 1899. Three additional fountains were erected adjoining the old churchyard of St. Nicholas at Queen Street, at the intersection of Church Street and George Street, and at Albion Street near the foundry in Newtown.

Bransty Arch

Bransty Arch

The fountain inset to the wall of Bransty Arch was removed in 1925. Two years later the arches which had become an obstacle to bus transportation were also removed.

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The fountain on Lowther Street (Flatt Walks) near the entrance to Castle Park is identical to the wall inset fountain that graced the Bransty Arch. Cast iron detail is representative of Glenfield & Kennedy’s iron foundry in Glasgow. The fountain supplied water from the mouth of a lion mascaron which was then captured in a demi-lune fluted basin. A similar basin at ground level for the use of dogs was sheltered by an upturned fluted basin. The centre of the fountain contains the date 1859, a shield displaying the Lowther Coat of Arms (also incorporated into the town of Whitehaven’s crest) and the name of the town WHITEHAVEN.

Drinking fountain on wall of Bransty Arch

Drinking fountain on wall of Bransty Arch

As part of Whitehaven’s regeneration and the Quest Art Trail Project, the fountain was restored in 1997 with the addition of a modern sculpture created by John McKenna which represents a miner stepping out of the wall with a whippet at his feet.

Creative Commons License, Julian Osley. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4047576

Creative Commons License, Julian Osley. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4047576

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On Tangier Street, a stone drinking fountain with horse trough was erected outside the Cumberland Motor Services (CMS) bus station. It was commissioned in memory of Robert Fisher, one of Lord Lowther’s horse trainers, and manager of the Whitehaven cab company. Two iron spigots which protruded from the pedestal allowed humans to drink and filled the trough with water.

Cumberland Motor Services bus station

Cumberland Motor Services bus station

CMS bus station on Tangier Street

CMS bus station on Tangier Street

The structure was moved to Castle Park in the 1970s. The structure with fish scale domed roof which stood in the center of an octagonal horse trough was originally surmounted with a two globe lamppost. Bas-relief on one of the octagonal panels is the left facing profile of a horse’s head within scrollwork, and a second panel with bas-relief contains a left facing profile of a horse’s head within a circle. A third panel contains a commemorative inscription: This / Fountain Was / Erected By / The Friends Of / Robert Fisher / Who Died / 1st February 1911 / Aged 87 Years / As A Memorial / Of The High / Esteem In Which / He Was Held / As A Genial / Townsman & A / Fine Sportsman / Who Was Devoted / To Horses.

Memorial to Robert Fisher

Memorial to Robert Fisher

Castle Park

Castle Park

Also on Tangier Street, an identical fountain/horse trough terminating in a lamp terminal was erected outside the Grand Hotel on Tangier Street

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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
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • pedestal
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Diamond Jubilee Fountain

Location: Askam-in-Furness, Cumbria, England

In the late 19th century, the people of Askam-in-Furness made monetary donations to purchase a cast iron water fountain in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The fountain is located near the railway crossing at Duke Street and was erected in 1897. The structure which was recorded as a Grade II listed building on 6 May 1976 was recently vandalized in April 2015 when the commemoration plaque was stolen.

In the late 19th century, the people of Askam-in-Furness made monetary donations to purchase a cast iron water fountain in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The fountain is located near the railway crossing at Duke Street and was erected in 1897. The structure which was recorded as a Grade II listed building on 6 May 1976 was recently vandalized in April 2015 when the commemoration plaque was stolen.

Design 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 roundels within each lunette offered shields for dedication. 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 cartouche within the lunette facing Duke Street contains a dedication: ERECTED / IN / COMMEMORATION OF / HER MAJESTY’S / DIAMOND JUBILEE / 1897 and above, KEEP THE PAVEMENT DRY. The cartouche at the rear of the structure depicts a bust of Queen Victoria. The remaining cartouches contain cranes. The structure is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the apex being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stands the font (casting 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 offered drinking cups suspended by chains, and the original terminal was a crane. These items are missing from the current structure.

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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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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Roundel, A small circular decorative plate
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Queen Victoria Jubilee Fountain

Location: Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, ENG

The drinking fountain in the Market Place at Dalton-in Furness was erected in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. It was designated a Grade II historic building on 6 May 1976 and was restored in the 1980s.

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 contained within the north and south lunettes host the image of a crane; the west contains a dedication: Erected / In / Commemoration Of / Her Majesty’s / Diamond Jubilee / 1897 and above, the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. A left facing bust of Queen Victoria is on the eastern cartouche. The structure is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross. Originally the terminal hosted a gas lamp above the crown.

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. These items are missing from the current structure.

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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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