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Commemorative Fountain, Junction of Main Street and B822, Fintry

A Category C Listed Building in Forth and Endrick, Stirling

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0533 / 56°3'11"N

Longitude: -4.2238 / 4°13'25"W

OS Eastings: 261602

OS Northings: 686721

OS Grid: NS616867

Mapcode National: GBR 10.QR2F

Mapcode Global: WH4PG.23XT

Entry Name: Commemorative Fountain, Junction of Main Street and B822, Fintry

Listing Date: 4 December 2019

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 407299

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52526

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Fintry

County: Stirling

Electoral Ward: Forth and Endrick

Parish: Fintry

Traditional County: Stirlingshire

Description

Dated 1902 and manufactured by Walter Macfarlane and Company of Saracen Foundry. Painted cast iron fountain commemorating the coronation of King Edward VII. The fountain is prominently sited at a road junction in the centre of the village.

The fountain is a four-sided design and it sits on a two-tiered hexagonal base plinth edged with stone copes. The base of the fountain is a pedestal with four decorative legs with lion heads and paws. This supports rounded quatrefoil fountain basins decorated with foliate and floral relief which support a splayed pedestal decorated with foliage and herons. On this pedestal are four small brackets (designed to hold drinking cups on chains) and a column with decorative ladder support brackets. There is a mid-20th century four-sided glass lantern on the top.

A plaque attached to the north side reads Erected by Walter Menzies of Culcreuch in commemoration of the coronation of Edward VII in June 1902 . The fountain is no longer in use as a water fountain (2019).

Historical development

The fountain is first marked on the 2nd revision Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1914, published 1918). It was installed in a prominent position on the junction where the only two roads in the village meet. It is currently at the centre of the Fintry Conservation Area.

In the mid-19th century clean drinking water was lacking in towns and cities and diphtheria and cholera were rife. Public drinking fountains with piped water were first introduced in Liverpool and then in London in 1859 by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Association and then to other cities and towns. The temperance movement which aimed to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed increased donations for public fountains. Until the early 20th century rural transportation was reliant on horses and the fountains were designed to provide them with water.

In June 1902 the Kirkintolloch Herald recorded Stirling County Council approved a request from Walter Menzies of nearby Culcreuch House, to grant a site for a fountain. On the 6th August 1902 the same paper noted that the fountain had been erected to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII. It notes that the lamp at the top was lit by an electricity supply from a dynamo at the local mill. Local contractors, William Wilson and Mr Paton, are credited with the masonry and plumbing for the installation.

The fountain casting was designed in 1883 and appears in the Macfarlane and Son 6th edition catalogue (p. 411, pattern number 18). The standard design included taps which were activated by pushing the drinking cups against a small lever as well as water troughs for horses. It is not known if the drinking cups shown in the catalogue were part of this fountain s design.

A photograph from the early 20th century shows the fountain in its current setting in Fintry. The current glass lantern is a later replacement, appearing to date from the mid-20th century, as it a different profile from that shown in the photo.

The fountain was damaged by a car in 1986 and briefly moved to a garden beside the road. It was reinstated on its original coped plinth after a short time and its position and detailing remain almost the same as in 1902. The former electricity and water supplies to the fountain do not currently function (2019).

Statement of Interest

Architectural interest

Design

This cast iron fountain was manufactured by the renowned 19th century iron foundry Walter Macfarlane and Company. The company operated from the Saracen Foundry which opened in Glasgow around 1850. Walter Macfarlane was one of the major suppliers in the Scottish ironwork industry in the 19th century and they exported their decorative designs across the British Empire and the world. Their 6th edition catalogue demonstrates the variety and breadth of products that this significant firm designed and produced. It includes products from cast iron gutters to ornate gates, railings, and civic structures such as bandstands and fountains. The company closed in 1967.

The fountain is a small yet ornate and technically detailed casting. Its design incorporates symbolic natural elements relating to water such as water lily leaves and herons standing in a reed bed. It is casting is number 18 in the catalogue and is the most elaborate of the free-standing fountains that Macfarlane and Co. produced from 1883 into the earlier part of the 20th century. The catalogue advertises it as available as a standalone piece or as an element of a more complex design, such as an ornate canopy. It also advertises: any of the fountains can be supplied with Dog Trough or with lamp on top, also any Inscription or Device on shield to order .

Many of the known examples of casting 18 are a single element freestanding fountain without the column. This Fintry example has a high level of design interest because it has the tall column and lamp.

The replacement glass lantern is the only slight change from the 1902 design. The fountain is a largely complete and is an ornate freestanding fountain designed by an internationally renowned 19th century Scottish iron foundry.

Setting

The fountain is on the only road junction in this small rural village and it is at the centre of the Fintry Conservation Area. It is a prominent feature in the centre of village and can be seen when approached from the roads which lead in from surrounding villages. The fountain is in its original position in a street which is largely characterised by 19th century houses and it groups well with the historic buildings around it.

Ornate water fountains were mostly installed in larger town centres or public parks as civic amenities. The village setting of this fountain adds to its interest because it is rarer for such a decorative fountain to be in a small rural village. The design includes large troughs for horses, who would have used the fountain when transporting carts through the area. Its setting is unchanged and continues to contribute to its interest.

Historic interest

Age and rarity

Public water fountains were installed from the mid-19th century to the earlier 20th century to provide fresh drinking water to both people and animals. The majority were small pillar type or wall mounted designs. The commemorative fountain in Fintry dates from a time when street furniture was often used to commemorate public events or people.

The number of new public fountains dropped dramatically in the earlier 20th century following the introduction of piped water to most housing. Many cast iron fountains were removed or destroyed in the mid and later 20th century. Some were removed and the cast iron repurposed as part of the war effort in the 1940s. Others have been removed or moved as part of town planning and changes to road layouts. Decorative cast iron fountains are subsequently relatively rare, and particularly those in their original location.

The Scottish Ironwork Foundation records that there are only 17 known surviving examples of the pattern 18 fountain worldwide. Other examples in Scotland include the Memorial Fountain in Ardesier (listed at category C, LB52346) which is a freestanding example and in Fraserburgh which has a large ornate canopy (listed at category B, LB31970). The fountain on Albert Crescent in Dunoon is the only other known example of a pattern 18 that has a column and lantern on top. Most street lamps of the time were lit by gas and it is likely the Fintry fountain was an early example of one lit by an electric supply.

The fountain in Fintry is a rare example of its type in Scotland and worldwide and only one of two surviving that were installed with a lantern.

Social historical interest

The fountain has social interest as an early 20th century civic structure that provided drinking water to improve public health as well as provide lighting to improve road safety.

Association with people or events of national importance

The fountain has a close historical association with a person of national importance because it commemorates the coronation of King Edward VII.

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