St Lawrence Jewry Drinking Fountain

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1430819

Date first listed: 03-Dec-2015

Statutory Address: Carter Lane Garden, Carter Lane, City of London, EC4M 8BX

Map

Ordnance survey map of St Lawrence Jewry Drinking Fountain
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Location

Statutory Address: Carter Lane Garden, Carter Lane, City of London, EC4M 8BX

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: City and County of the City of London (London Borough)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: TQ3212681050

Summary

Drinking fountain, 1866, built to the designs of John Robinson, sculpture by Joseph Durham; the contractor was William Thomas. Originally sited in Church Passage, now on Carter Lane.

Reasons for Designation

The St Lawrence Jewry fountain is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: as a substantial and richly decorative piece of Victorian street furniture, with sculptural work by the noted artist, Joseph Durham; * Historic interest: in being reflective of a period when the provision of clean, freely accessible, drinking water was a valued, and often lavishly made, philanthropic gesture; * Group value: prominently sited adjacent to the Grade I listed St Paul’s Cathedral the fountain is located within an area of the City of London rich in listed street furniture, including the recently restored Temple Bar (Grade I), Queen Anne’s statue (Grade II) and St Paul’s Cross (Grade II).

History

The St Lawrence Jewry drinking fountain was erected in 1866 and originally stood outside the Church of St Lawrence Jewry, just to the west of Guildhall Yard in the City of London. It was erected jointly by the parishes of St Lawrence Jewry and St Mary Magdalene. The fountain remained in its original location until 1970, when the redevelopment of Guildhall Yard required its removal. The fountain was dismantled and put into storage with the intention that it should be subsequently re-erected. The fountain remained in storage until 2010 when it was restored and re-sited at the north end of Carter Lane, to the south of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The fountain was designed by the architect John Robinson (1829-1912). Robinson studied at the Royal Academy and became the pupil of Sir James Pennethorne (1801-1871), chief architect at the Office of Works and student of Pugin and Nash. On Pennethorne’s retirement Robinson established his own practice at Carteret Street, Westminster. Robinson’s oeuvre was varied, including office, hotel and domestic buildings, interior schemes, and several memorial structures. The sculptural work on the St Lawrence fountain is the work of Joseph Durham (1814-1877), a noted sculptor of the period. Durham studied under John Francis before working for Edward Hodges Baily, the sculptor of Nelson’s Column. Durham was working independently by c1835 and became an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1866. One of Durham’s first major commissions was the memorial to commemorate the Great Exhibition of 1851 situated on Prince Consort Road (now listed Grade II). Much of his output was for a domestic market, but he also completed a number of public works, at least six of which have been listed.

In the early C19, water supplies to London and other large towns and cities were inadequate for the needs of the population, badly contaminated, and responsible to a great degree for the high mortality rate. The Metropolitan Water Act of 1852 resulted in a marked improvement, but supply was far from ideal and outbreaks of cholera remained a reality. Philanthropic bodies and civic amenity groups played a significant role in advancing sanitary improvements from the 1850s onwards, particularly through the provision of water fountains. Foremost amongst such organisations was the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association (later becoming the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association), founded in 1859, which was responsible for establishing a great number of drinking fountains which provided free, clean, water to all. The St Lawrence Jewry fountain however, is an example of two parishes coming together to provide this humanitarian service.

Details

Drinking fountain, 1866, to the designs of John Robinson, sculpture by Joseph Durham.

MATERIALS: Portland stone with polished pink granite columns, and bronze relief sculpture.

DESCRIPTION: the monument is square in plan, approximately 9.5 metres high and 2.7 metres wide, with the fountain element projecting from the north face; it stands on two low steps.

Executed in an elaborate Gothic style, it takes the form of a substantial base (approximately two metres high), carrying a canopy formed of four hooded niches and a central sprocketed spire. A band of carved shields runs around the top of the base. The niches have trefoil arches, with the hoods over being steeply pitched and sprocketed, with a pointed arch and foliate designs carved into the tympana. The hoods are supported by granite columns with stiff leaf capitals. In the north-facing niche is a carved stone statue of St Lawrence holding a grid iron (on which he was martyred) and in the south-facing niche is a statue of St Mary Magdalene holding a cross, and with a skull at her feet. The other two niches are empty but are believed to have originally held the names of past benefactors of the churches carved into white marble slabs.

The fountain is on the north face of the monument and takes the form of a niche with carved hood resting on granite columns. Set into the niche is a bronze bas-relief of Moses striking the rock at Horeb (Exodus. XVII. IV-VI), water runs down the face of the bronze from where Moses’ staff strikes. To the left of Moses is the figure of a woman holding a cup of water to her child’s mouth. The water flows into a shallow stone bowl which projects out from the fountain and is supported on a broad granite column with stone base. On the south side of the monument a new brass tap has been fitted for modern use.

A bronze plaque has been attached to the east side of the monument which reads:

CITY / OF / LONDON / THE ST LAWRENCE & MARY MAGDALENE DRINKING FOUNTAIN / COMMISSIONED BY THE UNITED PARISHES OF / ST LAWRENCE JEWRY & ST MARY MAGDALENE / ORIGINALLY LOCATED IN THE GUILDHALL YARD / OUTSIDE THE CHURCH OF ST LAWRENCE JEWRY FROM 1866 TO 1970 / DESIGNED BY ARCHITECT JOHN ROBINSON AND SCULPTOR JOSEPH DURHAM / RESTORED AND RELOCATED HERE IN 2010

The monument has undergone restoration, with a quantity of the stonework having to be replaced.

Sources

Websites
St Lawrence Jewry Memorial Fountain website, accessed 14 October 2015 from http://www.stlawrencefountain.co.uk

End of official listing