Tag Archives: Northamptonshire

‘The Black Statue’ Fountain

Location: Kettering, Northamptonshire, England

A drinking fountain was donated in 1894 to the town by local man John Bryan, a successful boot and shoe manufacturer. It was erected in Rockingham Pleasure Park and officially unveiled on October 26th.

After vandals damaged the structure in 1972 it was removed to storage at the Westfield Museum where it remained until the 1980s when a local group led by hotelier Sylvia McQuade petitioned the town for its restoration and reinstatement. Funds for the project were raised through the auction of a watercolour and the sale of a book of poetry and prose. It was reinstalled and officially unveiled by Mayor J. B. Poole who served from 1984-1985.

The fountain known locally as the Black Statue was moved in 1998 to the redeveloped Horse Market in the Town Centre.

Design number 19 was advertised by Walter Macfarlane & Co. to be used as a standalone fountain or placed under a canopy structure. Manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, the cast iron font is 10’ 10” high and is seated on a two tiered circular plinth. The wide base is in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross, on which is set a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs support four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The obelisk and central column decorated with floral relief hosts a dedication shield: Presented / by / John Bryan Esq / 26 October / 1894. Four consoles originally protruded from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. The capital supports the finial, a statue of Samson.

A brass plaque fixed to the base of the fountain is inscribed;
THIS FORMER DRINKING FOUNTAIN HAS BEEN RESTORED WITH THE AID OF FUNDS
RAISED BY THE Victorian Restoration Committee:
Sylvia McQuade (Hon. Secretary) Thomas J. Hawthorn (Hon. Treasurer)
Joanne M. Chatwin, David Chatwin, Duncan McQuade (Committee Members)
VOLUNTARY RESTORATION WORKS WERE CARRIED OUT BY Timsons Ltd., Engineers
& Ironfounders, Edward Chenay & Sons Ltd., Paul Webster (Builders)
Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd., George James & Sons (Blacksmith) Ltd.
THE FUND WAS LAUNCHED FROM THE PROCEEDS OF AN AUCTION BY Martin
Pendered (Auctioneer) OF A WATER COLOUR ‘The Fountain’ DONATED BY
Pauline & Ralph Hartley. THE FUND WAS SUPPORTED BY THE PUBLICATION
AND SALE OF A BOOK ‘Poetry and Prose from Kettering and parts of
the County of Northamptonshire’. Reinstatement of the fountain was carried
out by the Kettering Borough Council with the co-operation of the Restoration
Committee, Mayor J. B. Poole 1984 -1985.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Lions are symbolic of guardianship and Samson is symbolic of strength.

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • 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, an upright bar or post providing support
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Market Square Fountain

 Location: Northampton, Northamptonshire, England

This is a lost fountain. The only part remaining is an engraved plaque which is retained at the Abington Museum: Presented to / the Mayor and / Corporation / in trust for the inhabitants / by Samuel Isaac / Captn. Commandt. / of the 5th Corps of / Northamptonshire / Rifle Volunteers / 1863.

The fountain was manufactured by the Eagle Foundry of Northampton. There is a historic tale that the owners and brothers, Edward and William Barwell, made two fountains. The second fountain sank during the voyage to Australia.

The fountain was erectedin 1863 at the south-side of the Market Square to commemorate the marriage of Prince Albert to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. It was no ordinary cast-iron fountain, 45 feet high and 19 feet wide with many of the enrichments cast in valuable bronze.

The structure was seated on an octagonal plinth with four steps leading to the base of the fountain which formed a St. Andrew’s cross. A decorative sculptured jamb was located on each corner. Drinking basins were located on the north and south sides and shields bearing inscriptions on the east and west sides. Emblems, masks, and shields containing the Borough’s coat of arms and the crest of Captain Samuel Isaac were visible on the lower parts of the structure.

Four tazzas with water fountains poured water into basins which then fell into masks and finally into the drinking fountain basin. The acroter supported a highly decorative ornamental column with a gilt globe lantern, 4 feet in diameter, surmounted by a Maltese cross.

In 1930 the Market Square fountain was renovated, and the globe lamp which had already been replaced by 1900 was replaced once again with four suspended lamps.

After being a much loved focal point of the Market Place for almost a century, the cast iron fountain was removed in 1962 due to repeated vandalism and the opinion that the structure was unsafe. This opinion was proven false when it took several days, six men, a crane and a blowtorch to remove it.

The stone steps remained and were used by market traders to stack their goods. In due time the steps and the cobbles in the square were also removed leaving no vestige of the fountain ever being there.

Glossary

  • Acroter, flat base
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Maltese cross, a cross with four arms of equal length, each arm in a “V” shape, and eight points
  • Mask, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face, or head, of a human being or an animal
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Tazza, A shallow saucer-like dish either mounted on a stem and foot, or on a foot alone.

 

Image Sources

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nfhs/with/7716180100/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1444977242404160/photos/