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Stowmarket Council School Memorial Drinking Fountain

A Grade II Listed Building in Stowmarket, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.1887 / 52°11'19"N

Longitude: 0.989 / 0°59'20"E

OS Eastings: 604410

OS Northings: 258706

OS Grid: TM044587

Mapcode National: GBR SJL.QV5

Mapcode Global: VHKDP.375Z

Entry Name: Stowmarket Council School Memorial Drinking Fountain

Listing Date: 20 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1442348

Location: Stowmarket, Mid Suffolk, Suffolk, IP14

County: Suffolk

District: Mid Suffolk

Civil Parish: Stowmarket

Built-Up Area: Stowmarket

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Stowmarket St Peter and St Mary

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich

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Drinking Fountain and First World War memorial.


The cast drinking fountain is large and highly ornamental, standing inside the War Memorial Gates to the Recreation Ground on Finborough Road. It takes the form of four bowls supported by a central pedestal with four lions one to each side. Scenes cast in relief decorate the pedestal and exterior surfaces of the bowls, including ponds with water-lilies and other plants. The bowl interiors are scalloped. From the intersection of the bowls a tapering pedestal rises to support an urn. The urn used to have four arms from which chains and drinking cups were suspended; the chains and cups, and two of the arms, are now missing.

Each face of this pedestal is ornamented with cast decoration including strips of foliage to each arris, scrolls and shells from which the water issued in each lower section, and depictions of swans and a heron in the upper sections of three of the sides. On the fourth side the dedicatory inscription reads: THIS DRINKING FOUNTAIN/ WAS PRESENTED/ TO THE TOWN OF/ STOWMARKET/ BY THE CHILDREN OF THE/ ADJACENT SENIOR COUNCIL/ SCHOOL IN MEMORY OF/ THOSE OLD SCHOLARS/ WHO MADE THE/ SUPREME SACRIFICE/ IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914-18.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 6 March 2017.


The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

These included memorials raised by corporate bodies and institutions to mark the sacrifice made by their members. One such memorial was raised in the Recreation Ground on Finborough Road, Stowmarket, by Stowmarket Senior Council School as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by ex-pupils who lost their lives in the First World War. The drinking fountain was put up in the new recreation ground that had been opened on 1 May 1920 by Mr George Ormes, chairman of the Stowmarket Urban District Council’s War Memorial Committee. The fountain was provided by Walter Macfarlane and Co of the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow. The adjacent war memorial gates were unveiled and dedicated on 13 February 1921 by the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Sir T Courtenay Warner.

The fountain stood just inside the War Memorial Gates to the Recreation Ground. It was moved to the western corner of the park to permit access for the Queen’s vehicle through the gates, when she visited Stowmarket in 1961. In 2007 the fountain was restored and returned to its original location.

Walter Macfarlane and Co Ltd, based at the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow, was active from 1868 to 1951. The firm cast a large range of sanitary, architectural, and artistic products. The foundry's work includes a great number of listed structures, such as a Sewer Ventilation Pipe in Bideford, the fountain in Princess Gardens, Torquay, a public urinal on Front Street, Castleford (all Grade II-listed), and numerous Grade II-listed telephone kiosks across the country.

Reasons for Listing

Stowmarket County School Memorial Drinking Fountain, which stands in the Recreation Ground on Finborough Road, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the First World War;
* Architectural and design interest: a highly ornamented and well-cast drinking fountain by the Saracen Foundry, incorporating the war memorial dedication, standing at its original location.

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