Drinking 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:


A decorative drinking fountain of approximately 1898, to the number 18 design of Walter MacFarlane and Company of Saracen Foundry, Glasgow.

Reasons for Designation

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

Architectural interest:

* for its richly-detailed decoration and a good level of survival;

* 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 spray fountain by the same foundry (NHLE 1463337).


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 when the spray fountain was in place; a known example in Leeds of the same design of drinking fountain was dedicated in January 1898 and the design must therefore date to 1897 or earlier. 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 arms originally had attached chains with drinking cups and it is not known when these were lost. The fountain is prominently-sited at a road junction, and on a path into the Promenade Gardens.

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.


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

MATERIALS: cast-iron on a sandstone base.

DESCRIPTION: this is an example of Walter Macfarlane and Company’s drinking fountain design number 18. It stands on a two-stepped octagonal stone base, and itself stands 1.8m tall. The foot is X-shaped, with a central circular shaft, ornamented with water lilies. Around this four jambs, each with a single lion’s foot and a lion’s head, support a quatrefoil basin. The jambs are linked by straps decorated with rosettes. The underside of the basin is decorated with flowers, probably poppies, and its rim has palmette decoration. Rising from the centre is a tapering stanchion with four concave sides at its base. Above swan-neck scrolls are taps (broken on the south and missing on the west and east). Above these the sides are convex and decorated with swans on the east and west and cranes or herons on the north and south. Foliate decoration adorns the angles between the sides. The kylix-shaped (a kylix being a type of Classical Greek wine-drinking cup) vase terminal has four projecting arms like leafy tendrils; the drinking cups suspended by chains are missing. A small trough for dogs is located between the feet on the east side. In 2019 the fountain was not operational.


Information on No 18 type drinking fountain in Yeadon, Leeds, from Memorial Drinking Fountains blog, accessed 27/02/19 from https://memorialdrinkingfountains.wordpress.com/2015/04/
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