Public drinking fountains became common from the late nineteenth century onwards to provide clean drinking water in urban areas where sanitation was often lacking. The Temperance Movement promoted philanthropic donations of memorial drinking fountains to reduce drunkenness and encourage abstinence from alcohol. Many of Cardiff's drinking fountains were given by philanthropic families and the Council agreed to provide a water supply.
Cast iron memorial drinking fountains were produced by many iron foundries, including Walter Macfarlane & Co. of Glasgow, who made some of the Samuel memorial fountains installed in Cardiff. These started to disappear when many were requisitioned during the 1939-45 war. The fountains that survived the war were removed from the 1950s onwards, as they fell into disrepair, and there were concerns about hygiene.
Many of the historic fountains described in this section were placed in or near Cardiff's parks in the early 1900s. Information on fountains discovered in other locations during the course of this research has also been included.
Sources of Information