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Maxwell Square Fountain

Location: Pollokshields, Glasgow, Scotland

In the late 19th century during demolition of the tenements in East Pollokshields, Sir John Stirling Maxwell donated land to create a playground for local children. Named Maxwell Square (not to be confused with Maxwell Park) it was opened in 1889 and featured a cast-iron drinking fountain on the Kenmure Street side of the Park. It was demolished in 1950.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure was 9 feet 6 inches high and consisted of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals united with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette hosted the image of a crane, and 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,’ or optional memorial shields. 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 structure was surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stood the font (design number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. The terminal was a crane. The basin (2 feet 6 inches in diameter) which had a scalloped edge and decorative relief was 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. The fountain was operated by pressing a button.

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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1905 pollokshields

Circa 1905

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

Phoenix Park Fountains

Location: Cowcaddens, Glasgow, Scotland

In the late 19th century and early 20th century there were two fountains in Phoenix Park on Garscube Road. The large ornamental spray fountain was commissioned and donated by a local confectioner and owner of John Buchanan & Bros. Ltd. known as John ‘Sweetie’ Buchanan. It was manufactured by Edington Foundry also known as the Phoenix Foundry (the park was established on the site previously occupied by the foundry.) The park was restored in 1959 and the derelict (due to neglect) spray fountain was demolished.

The smaller drinking fountain, known as the well was also located within the park not far from the spray fountain. Design #25 was manufactured by James Allan Senr & Son, Elmbank Foundry, Glasgow.

The 7ft. 2ins. high structure had a single fluted pedestal with a band of acanthus relief was seated on a two tiered circular stone plinth. A large basin sculptured with egg and dart relief supported 4 dwarf Corinthian columns with attic base. The capitals supported 4 arches decorated with a bas-relief of laurel leaves and a solid dome ornamented with fish scale design. The terminal was an urn with orb finial. A constant stream of water operated via a self-closing tap was delivered through a single jet centrally placed within the canopy. Two drinking cups were suspended from chains.

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1955-hiddenglasgow

Circa 1955

The area surrounding and including the park was cleared during the building of the M8 in the 1970’s.

Glossary

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Canopy, an ornamental roof-like projection
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Column Corinthian, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital.
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

Drinking Fountain and Clock Towers

Location: Glasgow in Scotland, and Leeds in England

Three identical fountains were erected in the late 19th century; Glasgow Gorbals in 1878, Woodhouse Moor, Leeds in 1879; and Hunslet Moor, Leeds in 1880. They were manufactured by George Smith’s Sun Foundry in Glasgow. Unfortunately these fountains no longer exist.

GLASGOW
Gorbals Cross was widened in the late 19th century to create a public space at the junction of Ballater and Gorbals streets. The stone structure with cast iron clock and drinking fountain containing shields bearing the Glasgow Coat of Arms was erected in 1878. It was demolished in 1932. Two faces of the clock were retained and mounted on a simple post which also no longer exists.

In 2015 a community group applied for a grant from Historic Scotland to recreate the drinking fountain by taking a 3D laser scan of the structure in Basseterre to recreate working blueprints.

 

HUNSLET MOOR
Hunslet Moor was a 68 acre open space which Leeds Corporation purchased in 1879 to create a public park. A combination clock tower and drinking fountain was erected in 1880, donated by William Emsley, a local solicitor who became Mayor in 1888. It was located at the beginning of the footpath into the park, on Moor Road facing the tramway and contained shields displaying Leeds’ coat of arms. The structure disappeared circa 1955 most likely to accommodate the creation of the M621 which would link major industrial cities.

Woodhouse Moor has already been posted, see: https://memorialdrinkingfountains.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/woodhouse-moor-fountain/

The only existing model of this pattern is in Bassettere in St Kitts, West Indies, which has been researched previously and can be found here: https://memorialdrinkingfountains.wordpress.com/?s=basseterre

Design number 1, drinking fountain with clock tower, was manufactured by George Smith & Co.’s Sun Foundry in Glasgow, and consisted of a modified octagonal base forming the shape of cross which contained a basin within each of the four recesses. A single rectangular pedestal was divided into five levels with the use of acroteria and cornices. The upper levels were supported by four columns with gas lamp terminals.

Arches offered space for memorial inscriptions and had lunettes with a barometer and thermometer. A demi-lune basin with tap provided drinking water. In the upper tiers shields were offered on each inset square panel, and provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters. A clock face pointed in each compass direction. The capital supported a weather vane surmounted on a four tiered acroteria.

Glossary

  • Acroteria, an ornament placed on a flat base and mounted at the apex of the pediment
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Dalmuir Fountain