Tag Archives: Preston

Ashton Park Fountain

Location: Preston, Lancashire, England

This octagonal shaped drinking fountain seated on an octagonal plinth is design #14 manufactured by George Smith & Co., Sun Foundry, Glasgow. The ogee shaped base and acroter support a single pillar with attic base and inset arched panels. Entablature with bolt consoles sit beneath an ogee cupola. The structure is surmounted with an acorn shaped finial.

Two demi-lune basins originally offered a cup suspended on a chain for the use of humans, and at ground level, was a basin for dogs.

ashton park preston

Used with permission, Tony Worrall. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyworrall/875406715

The plaque on the base is engraved with the legend; Fredk Bird & Co. / Engineers & / Ironfounders / London W.


  • Acroter, flat base
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cupola, a small, domed structure on top of a roof.
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • 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

Church Street Fountain

Location: Preston, Lancashire, England

A cast iron drinking fountain/horse trough was erected in 1897 at the intersection of Church and Stanley Streets outside H. M. Prison. It was donated in 1897 by Mary Cross, the founder of the Deaf and Dumb School at Brockholes. Sadly, it no longer exists.

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 font was 10’ 10” high. The wide base with canted corners supported a circular shaft ornamented with water lilies. Four lion jambs supported four highly decorated quatrefoil basins. The stanchion and central column were decorated with floral relief and projecting acanthus. Four consoles protruded from the column to suspend drinking cups on chains. Two elaborate brackets supported lamps. The capital supported the finial, a statue of Samson.

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


Circa 1900

barrackschurch st


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • 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


Dolphin Fountain

Location: Preston, Lancashire, England

In the mid 19th century, within the south east corner of Avenham Park close to the Old Tram Bridge, an arched recess was built into sandstone to house a natural spring which had the reputation of never running dry and being so pure that it could cure ailments. In the 1870s a drinking fountain was erected over the spring to allow the public improved access to the crystal clear water.

The fountain consisted of a dolphin sculptured in serpentine (a dark green mineral consisting of hydrated magnesium silicate, sometimes mottled or spotted like a snake’s skin). Water flowed from the mouth of the dolphin into a white marble basin in the shape of a shell.

Due to analysis of the spring water in the 1880s a very high percentage of animal matter was discovered; and the spring was therefore diverted from the fountain with the intention of piping water from the nearby town of Longridge.

In the mid 20th century, two conflicting events occurred: the fountain structure disappeared leaving only a protruding pipe, and the stone well was recorded as a Grade II historic listing on 27 September 1979.

A 21st century multi-million pound restoration project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the North West Regional Development Agency to regenerate Preston’s parks included a proposal to restore the historic drinking fountain. Consent was received to alter the listed structure, and a replica of the Dolphin Fountain was created in cast iron with a demi-lune fluted basin. The fountain was once again connected to the natural underground spring and installation was completed in 2011.

Although the sculpture resembles a sea serpent, this figurine is relatively common in the Victorian period and was representative of a dolphin. They were recognized as a good omen and a symbol of protection.


  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove decorating


Haslam Park Drinking Fountain

Location: Haslam Park, Preston, Lancashire, England

Entering via the south-east gate, beside the avenue of lime trees and parallel with the railway, you will find a cast iron drinking fountain. It was donated by Councillor W. G. Makinson in 1911 following the opening of Haslam Park. The fountain was listed as a Grade II historic building on 27 September 1979.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue is 9 feet 6 inches high and stands on a two tiered plinth with canted corners. The structure consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded roundels within each lunette host the image of a crane. On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters Presented by Councillor W.G. Makinson January 1911; 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 (casting 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.

All photos courtesy of Tony Worral, https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=10089490@N06&q=haslam%20park


  • 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