Location: Keighley, West Yorkshire, England
Eastwood House which was located in extensive parkland became part of the estate bought by public subscription in 1891. Henry Isaac Butterfield who was a local mill owner agreed to be a major benefactor with the condition that the new park be named Victoria Park. It was officially opened on 6 July 1893.
Within each of the town’s parks a rule forbade alcoholic drinks. In an effort to prevent people from leaving the park to attend beer houses, Butterfield presented an elaborate drinking fountain to the townspeople.
The cast iron drinking fountain which no longer exists was purchased from Walter Macfarlane & Co, and manufactured at the Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland. It was customized using features from two separate patterns.
The canopy was design number 20, an elaborate 18 feet by 4 feet fountain which was seated on a triple tiered octagonal plinth. The open filigree canopy was supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which were positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.
The highly decorated cusped arches were trimmed with rope mouldings which displayed lunettes with alternate images of cranes and swans, or optional memorial shields. On each side arch faceplates provided a flat surface for inscription using raised metal letters; often the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.
Doves and flowers offered decorative relief on the circular, ribbed dome. The internal capitals contained flowers and statues of owls on enlarged column heads. The structure was surmounted with #38 eagle finial (2ft. 10ins.)
The font which stood beneath the canopy was casting number 7. The 5ft. 8ins. high font was a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2ft. 6ins. in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin was engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase was terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles supported drinking cups on chains. Water flowed from a spout into the drinking cup by pressing its edge against a projecting stud below the spout. The self-closing valve allowed for operation with only one hand.
Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; doves are synonymous with peace, and owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife. Cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance and are often depicted standing on one leg while holding a stone in the claws of the other foot. Legend states that if the watchful crane fell asleep the stone would fall and waken the bird.
- Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
- Console, a decorative bracket support element
- Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
- Filigree, fine ornamental work
- Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
- Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
- 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
- Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
- Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal