Saturday, 5 April 2008

Horse and Cattle Troughs and Drinking Fountains

Every now and then I have come across old granite horse troughs that have long outlived their original purpose but which usually have an interesting inscription behind them. Most of them are now glorified flower-beds but originally they served the philanthropic purpose of providing clean drinking water both for the local residents and for the assorted animals of London. The story of the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association is an interesting one and I was surprised to read that they are still in existence - albeit in a much reduced form. I expect I'll be adding to this one over the years but here are a few that I've come across recently

Trinity Road SW18
Very close to Wandsworth Prison, this Drinking Trough is full of earth, but no plants, and has been incorporated into the wall outside a pub

Wimbledon Common, Parkside Avenue SW9
This is the only example I've come across so far that is still being used for it's original purpose in that it is still full of water (and leaves!). I would guess this is because the common still has a couple of riding schools that use it as well as the mounted Park Rangers. The splendid drinking fountain behind it though has long since fallen into disuse
I would guess that there would have been cups for the drinkers and the steps are for the younger and smaller Wimbledonians to use and maybe even the odd Womble or two. Dogs had their own drinking space underneath. Each of the sides has a typical Biblical quote with a Temperance message but the dedication inscription on the front edge says it was provided by Robt. Hanbury Esq. MP.
Mitcham Cricket Green, CR4
This trough is situated on a very busy crossroads opposite the Burn Bullock pub so it was impossible to get a photograph of the inscription on the far side which, if I remember correctly, commemorated Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Roehampton High Street
I think this fountain might pre-date the Metropolitan Cattle Trough Association. It's certainly a different style with some very svelte low-slung horse troughs each side of this imposing drinks fountain - so low-slung that they are not immediately obvious in the picture below and I bet more than one little kid went paddling on a hot summers day in the horse water! There were no inscriptions (other than for the local Putney manufacturer, so no obvious temperance links for this oneThis is the only side with the original fountain-head still intact. On the whole it's in very good condition - something I put down to being a traffic island in a busy road!

Wimbledon Common - The Windmill
The second trough on Wimbledon Common but this one is still fully-functional. Horses use it, Dogs drink underneath and humans have their own fountain next to it (the cup on a chain has long-since departed). The date of installation seems to be 1887.
This is the artistic shot - a sad attempt to include the windmill with the sun in my eyes!St Lawrence Church, London Road SM4
Three for one at this trough - horses on top, dogs beneath and humans at the end. Like the one above this was placed near a tavern in order to provide a temperance option for thirsty travelers. This one was erected in memory of all the horses that suffered in the South African (Boer) War

Clapham Common - Near 'Old Town'
Well this one is quite some piece of sculpture - very dramatic in a Victorian biblical fashion. Not working of course but in a very prominent position nontheless
This is a close-up of the dedication plaque with a typical temperance link from the donors. I'm sure I recall a horse trough on Clapham Common somewhere so I hope to find that soon.And finally... nothing to do with the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Association, but fun anyway this one of two troughs to be found bordering
Merton High Street SW19
Commissioned by the High Path Tenants Association to celebrate the millennium, these are not Horse Troughs masquerading as flower containers, but rather flower containers masquerading as Horse Troughs! Concrete rather than granite but they deserve a place nonetheless.


carolrose said...

Thanks for all these photos, they helped me identify a particular drinking fountain that one of our customer's was trying to find a part for! Didn't know there was such a thing as a multi user trough/fountain!

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