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Memorial Fountain, High Street, Ardersier

A Category C Listed Building in Ardersier, Highland

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Latitude: 57.5714 / 57°34'16"N

Longitude: -4.0389 / 4°2'20"W

OS Eastings: 278151

OS Northings: 855309

OS Grid: NH781553

Mapcode National: GBR J8DQ.2NP

Mapcode Global: WH4FZ.XYWL

Entry Name: Memorial Fountain, High Street, Ardersier

Listing Date: 10 June 2015

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 405087

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52346

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Ardersier

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Culloden and Ardersier

Parish: Ardersier

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

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Walter Macfarlane and Company of Saracen Foundry, Glasgow, 1901. Painted cast iron fountain commemorating the reign of Queen Victoria surmounted on octagonal concrete base with 2 steps, and in prominent setting at the centre of village. Plaque to north inscribed 'by public subscription in commemoration of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria 1837-1901'. 4 decorative lion heads to pedestal supporting quatrefoil shaped fountain basin with sides decorated with foliate and floral relief. Basin topped with splayed pedestal decorated with foliage and birds and large urn. No longer functioning as a fountain (2014).

Statement of Interest

This is a good surviving example of a near intact commemorative late Victorian drinking fountain, which celebrates the reign of Queen Victoria, produced by the internationally renowned Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Once a common public utility, the fountain in no longer in use, however it is of a type that is increasingly rare. It is prominently sited and adds to the historic streetscape of the village.

The drinking fountain was erected in circa 1902 in the centre of the small fishing village of Ardersier to commemorate the reign of Queen Victoria. It is not evident on the Ordnance Survey map of 1903, published 1905, however local knowledge indicates that it was in situ soon after 1901.

Public water fountains became increasingly common throughout Britain from the mid-19th century onwards as a means of providing readily accessible clean drinking water, an amenity that was not formerly easily obtainable. A great number of commemorative public monuments were erected soon after Queen Victoria's death, and fountains became popular memorials, many of which were erected by public subscription.

Drinking fountains were a common late Victorian-Edwardian feature in parks and town squares, however their numbers are increasingly limited either due to damage or redundancy and therefore few remain.

The Walter Macfarlane & Co Saracen foundry (1850-1965) was perhaps the most important foundry in Scotland for producing decorative ironwork. Based in Glasgow, the company made a wide range of iron goods, including architectural brattishing, railings, lamps, drinking fountains and bandstands. They exported to many countries within the British Empire. Many items from the foundry were destroyed during the Second World War when iron was recovered for the war effort. The company eventually closed in 1967.

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