Tag Archives: Isle of Wight

Jubilee Clock Tower Fountain

Location: The Esplanade, Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

The foundation stone of the clock tower was laid in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The clock tower, built of local ashlar stone with a metal clock face and painted lead on a cast iron roof, was dedicated in 1897 to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

A dedication is engraved into the stone: This Clock Tower Was Paid By / Subscription From /The Lord Of The Manor And / The Inhabitants Of Shanklin / To Commemorate The / Diamond Jubilee Of / Queen Victoria 1897. The Clock tower was listed a grade II historic building in Feb 1992.

Drinking fountain number 15 was manufactured by Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry and set into the south face of the tower. The wall mounted fountain with a fluted demi basin is 2’ 9” high. An arch faceplate bears the inscription “Keep the Pavement dry”. Two doves represent the symbolism of the spirit drinking from the water of life. The tap protrudes from a shell lunette which is repeated in the fluted basin. A single drinking cup was originally suspended on a chain.


  • Ashlar: finely cut stone
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting

Prince’s Green Drinking Fountain

Location: Cowes, Isle of Wight

Located in Cowes, this Saracen Foundry drinking fountain is featured on the Esplanade facing north to the Solent, (the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England.) The fountain was donated in 1864 by George Robert Stephenson, cousin of the famed civil engineer Robert Stephenson, to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandria of Denmark.

The fountain was restored in 1979 and was listed a grade II English Heritage Building in 1979. It is positioned atop 5 steps overlooking the Esplanade and the English Channel.

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 are symbols of guardians of priceless possessions.)

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette host 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.’ 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 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