Earlsdon Drinking Fountain

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1443610
Date first listed:
15-May-2017
Statutory Address:
Earlsdon Avenue, Earlsdon, Coventry

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
Earlsdon Avenue, Earlsdon, Coventry

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

District:
Coventry (Metropolitan Authority)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SP3238777636

Summary

A C19 cast-iron drinking fountain.

Reasons for Designation

The drinking fountain in Earlsdon, Coventry is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as a structure erected as part of an effort to provide the citizens of Coventry with a supply of clean drinking water, in an era of growing awareness of public health;

* Design interest: as a high quality and ornate structure with good standards of applied design;

* Rarity: as one of two surviving drinking fountains nationally manufactured by the firm George Smith & Co, the other, located in Harwich, Essex, is listed at Grade II. This is the only known operational example.

History

Drinking fountains were installed in towns and cities across England from the mid-C19 in an effort to supply clean water to the people. This was part of a growing awareness of the importance of public health in the Victorian era. The need for clean drinking water was further highlighted by the discovery that cholera was a water-borne disease in the early 1850s.

The drinking fountain in Earlsdon was manufactured in the 1860s by the firm George Smith & Co at their Sun Foundry in Glasgow. The fountain was erected in around 1870 and was originally sited in the centre of Coventry, outside the Church of St John the Baptist. It was moved to its current location in 1921 following the opening of the nearby war memorial park. The fountain remained in use until the 1970s. The fountain was restored by a local community group after securing funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2015. As part of this work, the water supply was re-established to the fountain, it was re-painted black with gold detailing and water taps and a finial were both reinstated. At this time the fountain was also positioned approximately two metres further away from the road.

Details

A cast-iron drinking fountain manufactured by George Smith & Co, Glasgow in the 1860s; originally sited outside the Church of St John the Baptist, Coventry in around 1870, moved to its current position on Earlsdon Avenue in 1921.

MATERIALS: cast-iron with brass water taps.

DESCRIPTION: an octagonal structure sitting on a tapered plinth with a concave waist. There is a water bowl to the west and east faces, each with a brass water tap above, and there are also two openings at the base of the structure that serve as water basins for animals. The structure is topped by an ogee cupola with a gold-painted acorn finial and an embossed motif incorporating a fleur-de-lis to the north, east, south and west faces. The band below the cupola has decorative bolts at regular intervals that have been painted gold.

Sources

Websites
Coventry Historic Environment Record: Drinking fountain, Earlsdon Avenue South, Coventry, accessed 16 January 2017 from http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MCT765&resourceID=1029

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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