NS3878 : Old drinking fountain, Renton

taken 4 years ago, near to Renton, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

Old drinking fountain, Renton
Old drinking fountain, Renton
The structure stands on the east side of Main Street in Renton; although I do not have confirmation of the manufacturer, the canopy is typical(*) of the work of Walter Macfarlane & Co., of the well-known Saracen Foundry, at Possilpark, Glasgow.

The base of the font (the part that is sheltered by the canopy) bears the manufacturer's name Glenfield & Kennedy, but it is likely that it is a replacement for an earlier font; if so, the most likely reason for the change is that the replacement font was considered to have a more hygienic design (for example, there is a NS4863 : Hygienic fountain, Paisley, which was also manufactured by Glenfield & Kennedy). Such replacement has happened with other fountains of the same design (see the links at the end of this description).

On the upper part of the canopy, on the left, are the words "Keep the pavement dry", and a picture of a dog with the word "Fides" under it.

On the right is the following inscription:

"Presented by Alex. Wylie of Cordale to Local Authority of Cardross Parish to commemorate the opening of Renton Water Works 1886".

There were originally two such fountains, but only this one survives. It used to stand beside NS3878 : Renton Primary School; it was set beside the pavement, not far from NS3878 : The Smollett Monument. In the picture just linked, the Smollett Monument is the very tall Tuscan column; behind it is a brick-built recess in the line of the fence, showing where the fountain used to stand.

The other fountain stood near the top of Stirling Street (it had remained in its original location), but it disappeared many years ago; I do not know what happened to it.

These fountains commemorated the official opening of Carman Reservoir; see NS3778 : Carman Reservoir, where that event is described in detail.

The structure itself is almost identical to one that stands beside some sheltered housing near NS2777 : The Old West Kirk in Greenock (see a link given at the end of this item for pictures of the fountain, and close-up details).

The one in Greenock differs in that it has an extra feature on top: a finial incorporating a crown and a pattée cross. As it happens, the Renton fountain did originally have one of these, but, now being in a generally rather poor condition, has lost it. Also, under the "Keep the pavement dry" message, the one in Greenock features a bird (see the link in the end-note), rather than a dog.

I later took some pictures of the old fountain in Greenock for myself (NS2777 : Old drinking fountain, Greenock / NS2777 : Old drinking fountain, Greenock), but for closer views, see the link below, already mentioned.

- - • - -

(*) Contemporary newspaper reports about the two fountains in Renton describe their ongoing construction in the week or two before the presentation, and the fact that they are the gift of Mr Wylie, but they do not describe the fountains themselves, nor do they name the manufacturer. However, their design is one that was listed, as "Cast iron drinking fountain number 8", in the catalogue of Walter Macfarlane & Co. (of the Saracen Foundry).

For comparable examples, some of them with their original finials, see the following pages. The first group of links is a selection of pages from the Memorial Drinking Fountains site (at Wordpress.com); many other examples could be given from that site:

LinkExternal link : Woodvale Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
LinkExternal link : William Hall Fountain, Sunderland, England.
LinkExternal link : Jubilee Fountain, Dalton-in-Furness, England.
LinkExternal link : Railway Square Fountain, Sydney, Australia.

See also the following page from "the Greenockian" (at Blogspot.com):

LinkExternal link : the very similar fountain in Greenock, mentioned above. Note also that the bird shown on it is a perfect match for the one on a fountain in Coleraine, as shown in C8432 : Ornamental drinking fountain, Anderson Park, Coleraine (detail); the overall structure of the two fountains is different, but the manufacturer is the same, and many details are identical. My thanks to Albert Bridge for bringing the Coleraine fountain to my attention.
Old drinking fountain, Renton

One of two drinking fountains presented in 1886 by Alexander Wylie of Cordale (in Renton) to the Local Authority of Cardross Parish to commemorate the opening of the Renton Water Works (see Carman Reservoir – Link – for details). This drinking fountain originally stood beside Renton Primary School (the other, now long gone, stood at the top of Stirling Street). It has lost its original finial, and does not bear a manufacturer's name, but it is by Walter Macfarlane & Co., of the Saracen Foundry; its design was listed as "cast iron drinking fountain number 8" in their catalogue. See LinkExternal link (at Memorial Drinking Fountains) for a very useful detailed description of the structure and its symbolism.

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NS3878, 291 images   (more nearby search)
Photographer
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Date Taken
Friday, 8 July, 2016   (more nearby)
Submitted
Thursday, 14 July, 2016
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Derelict, Disused  Water resources 
Primary Subject of Photo
Drinking Fountain 
Manufacturer (from Tags)
Walter Macfarlane & Co. 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3884 7850 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:58.3417N 4:35.0406W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3884 7850
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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Other Tags
Saracen Foundry  Walter Macfarlane 

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