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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

Diamond Jubilee Drinking Fountain

Location: Yeadon, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

Thomas Brown, owner of Kirk Lane Mills in Yeadon, was a local benefactor who donated funds to build the Town Hall. In his will, he directed the planting of 300 trees along Killinghill Road (renamed Victoria Avenue), and the purchase of a drinking fountain to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. The directors of the Yeadon Water Works Company agreed to supply water free of charge during the term of their office.

The opening of Victoria Avenue, and the dedication of the Jubilee Drinking fountain took place on 8th January 1898 following a procession along the High Street. The fountain was erected at the intersection of Yeadon High Street and Victoria Avenue, now known as the Fountain Cross Roads.

In 1944 the fountain was irreparably damaged and removed. Its whereabouts are unknown. It may have been recycled for armaments during the war.

A stone marker was erected by Aireborough Civic Society in 1997 at the original site of the fountain. A plaque is inscribed with the following legend. Near This Site Stood / Yeadon Fountain / (Erected 1897) / Airborough Civic / Society / 1997

 leodis2

Used by kind permission of Leeds Library and Information Services, www.leodis.net

Used by kind permission of Leeds Library and Information Services, http://www.leodis.net

There is only one very blurred photograph of the fountain available which was font casting number 18, manufactured at Walter Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. The 6 feet 2 inches casting specifications had a wide base in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross with canted corners, on which was set a circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. Rising from the centre was a stanchion decorated with swans and cranes on alternating sides. A kylix-shaped vase terminal with four projecting tendrils offered drinking cups suspended by chains. A small trough for dogs was located at the base of the font.

Saracen_Font_18

A dedication shield on the front of the fountain was salvaged and is now located above the booking office in the Town Hall. This Fountain Was Given And / The Trees Along This Road Were Planted / And Given To The Urban / District Council For The District Of / Yeadon / By / Mrs. E. Brown Of Mount Cross Bramley / To Form An Avenue Called Victoria Avenue / In Memory Of Her Late Husband / Thomas Brown Of Mount Cross Bramley / And Kirk Lane Mills / Yeadon / Also To Commemorate The Diamond Jubilee / Of Her Most Gracious Majesty / Queen Victoria / 1897

Glossary

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Kylix, a Grecian style drinking cup
  • Quatrefoil, a type of decorative framework consisting of a symmetrical shape which forms the overall outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the same diameter
  • Stanchion, upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

Woodhouse Moor Fountain

Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

In 1857, following an Act of Parliament, Leeds Corporation acquired the Woodhouse Moor for £3,200 and it became the town’s first municipal park. It was formally landscaped in the 1870s with trees, walkways, gardens, a fountain with clock turret and a bandstand. The walkways were later enhanced in 1902 with iron archways and gas lights to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII and facilitate ‘evening promenading’ The Moor has a number of diagonal walkways which converge in the centre where the bandstand and fountain originally stood.

Alderman William North donated the imposing public drinking fountain and bandstand which was a focal point of the walks in the park. It was presented by the Leeds councillor in 1879. The clock turret was presented by Councillor Adam Brown.

The bandstand was removed during World War II to be melted down to supply armaments for the war effort. It is possible that this ‘Lost’ fountain endured the same fate.

Drinking fountain number 1 manufactured by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland, consisted of a modified octagonal base forming the shape of cross. The structure was seated on a two tiered circular plinth. A single rectangular column was divided into 5 levels with the use of acroteria and cornices. The upper levels were supported by four columns with lamp terminals.

Arches offered space for memorial inscriptions and had lunettes with a barometer and thermometer. A demilune 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 finial was a weather vane surmounted on a four tiered acroteria.

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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
  • Demilune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Finial, A sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal