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Drinking Fountain

A Grade II Listed Building in Kettering, Northamptonshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3985 / 52°23'54"N

Longitude: -0.7259 / 0°43'33"W

OS Eastings: 486787

OS Northings: 278590

OS Grid: SP867785

Mapcode National: GBR CVW.P8X

Mapcode Global: VHDR9.CZM6

Entry Name: Drinking Fountain

Listing Date: 17 September 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1451562

Location: Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN16

County: Northamptonshire

District: Kettering

Electoral Ward/Division: William Knibb

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Kettering

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Summary

Cast-iron drinking fountain, dated 1894, by MacFarlane and Co Iron foundry located in the Horsemarket, Kettering.

Description

An ornate, free-standing, cast-iron drinking fountain, dated 1894, by MacFarlane and Sons.

MATERIALS: cast-iron and granite

PLAN: the fountain stands on a cross-plan masonry plinth on a round base.

DESCRIPTION: the fountain stands about 3.3m high, comprising a statue of Samson on top of a pillar with capital and base; the pillar is ornately decorated with olive tree motifs. The pillar is above four quatrefoil basins which are supported by jambs in the forms of lions. An ornamental shield is set on the pillar and commemorates the donor of the fountain PRESENTED/ BY/ JOHN BRYAN ESQ/ 26 OCT/ 1894. The statue and fountain both retain their original overall form, with the exception of the loss of the chained drinking cups which hung previously from consoles (which do remain) set above the water basins.

A brass plaque fixed to the plinth 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 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 PARS 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.

History

Drinking fountains became an increasingly common feature of the urban streetscape in the second half of the C19 as interest in public hygiene increased and the need for a consistent public water supply became accepted. Such examples as the Samson fountain were also a clear demonstration of the increasing sophistication of metalworking technology. MacFarlane and Son, as a key player in the world-leading Scottish cast-iron industry, were one of the most successful companies working with iron at the time, and their distinctive and highly ornamental architectural ironwork became a world-wide commodity. Not least, this was because of their highly popular catalogues which allowed customers to choose from a wealth of options but also allowed for 'efficient and cost-effective reproduction in the ironworks', as stated in the preface to the 6th edition: 'the details, proportions and sizes of our products are so accurately delineated in the illustrations as to facilitate their selection and combination by our customers to suit every requirement'. This example, the Samson fountain, featured as design number 19 in the 6th edition of the MacFarlane castings catalogue.

The statue was originally unveiled and sited at Rockingham Park in Kettering in October 1894, both Park and fountain having been donated to the town by Mr John Bryan, a local boot and shoe manufacturer. Following vandalism in the 1970s the statue was removed, dismantled and kept in storage for some years. Following a fundraising campaign the statue was restored and re-sited to Horsemarket in the centre of the town, being unveiled in its new location by the serving Mayor of the time, J.B. Poole (1984-1985), which is commemorated by a plaque on the plinth of the fountain. The statue was again relocated in the early 2000s to its current location on Horsemarket.

Reasons for Listing

The cast-iron drinking fountain standing in Horsemarket, Kettering, dated 1894, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* as an example of sophisticated cast-iron architectural work developed and supplied by MacFarlane and Sons Iron Foundry of Glasgow, which had become both prolific and internationally renowned by the time of the fountain's creation;
* for the quality of the design and aesthetic elements of the fountain, including the use of lions and the figure of Samson to denote Victorian standards and civic ambitions;

Historic interest:
* as evidence of a donation to the town by a significant local businessman, Mr John Bryan, boot and shoe manufacturer, demonstrating the prosperity of the borough and the type of philanthropy popular among Victorian factory owners and other commercial and industrial figures.

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