Spray fountain in Promenade Gardens


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
South Promenade, St Anne's on Sea


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Statutory Address:
South Promenade, St Anne's on Sea

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

Fylde (District Authority)
Saint Anne's on the Sea
National Grid Reference:


An ornamental spray fountain of approximately 1898, by Walter MacFarlane and Company of Saracen Foundry, Glasgow.

Reasons for Designation

The spray fountain in Promenade Gardens, St Anne's on Sea, a three-tiered fountain of approximately 1898, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for its richly-detailed decoration and well-proportioned composition, which survive well;

* as a good example of the work of Walter MacFarlane and Company, one of the best-known suppliers of cast-iron structures in the world.

Group value:

* for its strong visual and functional relationship with the registered landscape (National Heritage List for England 1001491) and the other ornamental listed structures nearby in the gardens, in particular the drinking fountain by the same foundry (NHLE 1463338).


The fountain is thought to have been installed in connection with the creation of the promenade gardens, which were laid out progressively following the 1896 St Anne's Improvement Act. The gardens are registered (NHLE 1001491), and contain five structures which are already listed including a bandstand, octagonal pavilion and two shelters, which are probably all by MacFarlane's. The fountain is thought to have been in place by 1898, and a known example of the foundry’s work (NHLE 1250392) which dates from 1902 contains identical elements. The fountain does not appear on the 1893 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey (OS) map, surveyed in 1891, but is marked on the revision of 1909 (published 1911). The fountain forms the centrepiece of the northern section of Promenade Gardens and is surrounded by paths and ornamental planting.

Walter MacFarlane and Company of Glasgow were one of the most prolific suppliers of architectural cast-iron in the world. Operating from 1851 to 1967 out of ‘Saracen Foundry’ (in three successive locations), in 1875 the foundry covered 80 acres and employed over 1,400 people. Over 80 cast-iron structures in England which are now listed buildings are attributed to MacFarlane's, including telephone kiosks, sewage ventilator shafts, lamp posts, drinking fountains, urinals and bandstands. More listed examples of their work are known but unattributed, and the true number is probably several hundred.


Ornamental fountain, approximately 1898, by Walter MacFarlane and Company of Saracen Foundry, Glasgow.

MATERIALS: cast-iron.

DESCRIPTION: a three-tiered spray fountain. The octofoil lower basin is set into concrete. The outer rim of the basin has passion-flower rosettes. Four lily pads within the basin (in 2019, one broken) have jets. A central cylindrical shaft is decorated with an ivy-leaf upper frieze and four reliefs of two alternate scenes: one a squirrel on an oak branch holding an acorn and accompanied by a bird and a dragonfly; the other a putto wearing a flower as a hat and sailing a boat crafted from a leaf. Around this shaft are four columns with octagonal bases and foliated shafts and capitals. The bases bear, in relief, the maker’s name ‘W MACFARLANE & CO/ GLASGOW’. Above is a large circular bowl with a leafy outer rim (with minor damage) and bulrush-and-lotus-leaf detail on the underside. Above this, a slender central shaft is surrounded by four pelicans with outstretched wings, the spouts of the fountain in flowers at their feet. Atop this shaft is a smaller leafy bowl. Seated on a mushroom in the centre is a putto holding aloft with his right hand a small conical bowl on a stem, with a jet within.


Information on the St Annes fountains from the Memorial Drinking Fountains blog, accessed 27/02/19 from https://memorialdrinkingfountains.wordpress.com/tag/st-annes/
Information on Walter MacFarlane and Company from Grace's Guide to British Industrial History, accessed 27/02/19 from https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Walter_Macfarlane_and_Co
Information on Walter MacFarlane from Grace's Guide to British Industrial History, accessed 27/02/19 from https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Walter_Macfarlane
Historical Appraisal Of The Promenade Gardens, St Annes, M Conder (Scott Wilson Resource Consultants), 2000


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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