Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Boy and Serpent, Weston-super-Mare

I'm very fond of cast-iron fountains, and Weston-super-Mare has a lovely example on the sea front. It has been in place since 1913, and was recently restored so it's celebrating its centenary in style. 

A plaque on the base states that the fountain was presented to the town by Thomas Macfarlane, chairman of the town's Urban District Council. His great-grandaughter switched the fountain back on after its restoration.

The fountain itself bears a clear foundry mark: Coalbrookdale. Located in the Ironbridge gorge, and at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, the Coalbrookdale company was founded by Abraham Darby. It had begun making cast-iron rails in the eighteenth century and achieved fame for the gorge's famous Iron Bridge, the world's first cast-iron bridge. The boiler and engine for Trevithick's steam locomotive were made here. In the nineteenth century, it made everything from stoves to furniture to shop fronts. Not least, the company produced much decorative ironwork, ranging from gates for Hyde Park to this lovely fountain. 


John Crockford-Hawley said...

MacFarlane was Chairman of the UDC and contrary to your statement there is a fair amount of information about him, though you'd need to dig it out from the usual places.

CarolineLD said...

Thank you for the information, I've now amended the post. I should have been more specific - there seems to be very little information online. (Living in London, it wasn't practical to visit the local archives, unfortunately.) It's surprising that none of the news stories about the restoration mentioned who he was, and I've perhaps also been spoilt by the many online sources for London!

skids said...

Came across this page with interest today. Just back from taking a few pictures of the fountain with my wife and daughters. Thomas Macfarlane was my wife's great great great Uncle.