Tag Archives: Fife

Toll Green Pump

Location: Elie, Fife, Scotland

The cast iron structure at Toll Green in Elie often referred to as a drinking fountain was actually a cow tailed pump. It was erected in 1869 as engraved on the base; George Smith & Co Sun Foundry Glasgow 1869.

ELIE_1900s_flickr dodfather

Circa 1900. Used with permission. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dodfather/6583802409/


This octagonal shaped pump is design #8 from the catalogue of George Smith & Co. The single pillar with attic base hosted 8 inset arched panels of which six were for dedication. Two panels were used for the water spout and the cow tailed lever. When the pump was no longer used to supply water, these were removed and replaced with blank panels. Entablature with bolt consoles sits beneath an ogee cupola with alternate panels of fleur de lys motif.

A single column supported a six sided glass pane lantern which was capped with a ball and spike finial. The lamp has been replaced with an open sphere and spike finial atop a column with floral relief. Yoke maintenance arms that originally supported the lamp-lighter’s ladder are still in evidence. A small trough set into the base of the structure was for the use of dogs.

In 2001 Elie and Earlsferry Community Council raised funds to refurbish the pump as a millennium project. Acknowledged as the only remaining example of this design in Scotland, it was recorded as a Category C historic building on 9 August 2012.

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  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • Entablature, moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Ogee, curve with a concave
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of a street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder

Newport-on-Tay Fountain

Location: Dundee, Fife, Scotland

The city of Dundee was once the jute capital of the world. Mrs. Blyth Martin, a member of a prominent Dundee jute family, donated the fountain in 1882 to the town of Newport-on-Tay with the intention of providing clean drinking water to the citizens. It is situated on Tay Street looking across the River Tay to Dundee.

The fountain was listed a category B historic building in 2002. Restoration of the fountain was undertaken in 2012. The discovery of rust shortly thereafter revealed that the surface had not been adequately prepared and corrective measures were taken in 2013.

The canopied drinking fountain is design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) from Walter Macfarlane’s catalog manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth, the canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette offer shields for memorial. The east facing shield contains a commemoration inscription, The Gift / of / Mrs. Blyth Martin / 1882. The remaining lunettes contain a stag and herons.

On each side, arch faceplates provided a flat surface for an inscription using raised metal letters; above the east facing arch is the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals are floral ornament. The structure is surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.

Under the canopy stands font casting number 7. The 5 ft 8ins high font is a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2 ft 6 ins in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin is engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase is terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles support drinking cups on chains.

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
  • 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
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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



Links Place Fountain

Location: Burnt Island, Fife, Scotland

The drinking fountain located at Kinghorn Road, Links Place is number 3 in the George Smith & Co. catalogue. Four columns with obelisk finials rise from a circular plinth to support a domed canopy. The interior column connectors to the dome are adorned with descending alligators and leafy decoration. Alligators were considered a symbol of evil and were hung from the ceilings of cabinets as a reminder of the mortality of humanity.

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 four medallions bears the Burntisland coat of arms.

The canopy covers a fluted pedestal and wide basin containing a putto holding an oar, seated on an upturned urn (casting number 8). At the rear of the pedestal is housed a small basin at ground level for animals. The dome’s apex has a customized finial. Damage to the original finial can be seen when comparing the two photographs.

The fountain was gifted to the town by James Taylor of Starley Hall, a merchant of Leith, in recognition of the kindness extended to him by the town council.  Date of erection is unknown. On 31 March 1995 it was listed a category C historic building.

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  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Putto (plural is Putti), a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue