Many of these cast iron drinking fountains were once found in parks and streets throughout Britain. Most were made by the famous Scottish ironfounders such as Walter McFarlane’s Saracen Foundry.
The fountains were of two main types – a little four column version and the grander eight column fountain as shown in the photos below. Since the 1980’s most of the surviving examples have been restored, the one at Darwen, Lancs being one of the last to be tackled.
As you can see from the photo on the right, the structure was in a bad way with some of the casting missing from the fountain itself. We already had patterns for these, so replacement was fairly straightforward.
Like many Victorian decorative iron castings, the components were extremely brittle and had to be handled with great care. This was mainly due to the original foundries using a high-phosphorus iron which made the molten iron very fluid but produced castings of very low tensile strength.