Samuel Family and Memorial Drinking Fountains

The Samuel family presented a number of drinking fountains to the City of Cardiff, several of which were placed in the public parks. The family's first donation is thought to have been in memory of their parents Moses and Gertrude.[1] Census records indicate that both parents were born in Poland around 1820, and Moses was a watchmaker. When Gertrude died in 1892 a report of her funeral appeared in the Western Mail.[2] Moses died in 1894.[3]

Moses and Gertrude Samuel had the following children:

Name Born Married Died
Louis c.1847   14th January 1906[4]
Herman c.1850    
Soloman c.1852    
Lewin Lazarus 1853[5] 1887[6] 21st June 1893[7]
Isaac c.1855   September 1914
Henry c.1857    
Abraham c.1859    
Jacob c.1860    
Priscilla Rachel 1863[8] 1885[9] 1898[10]
Esther R c.1866    

The location of the first fountain and date of presentation are not known, though it was reported to be have been placed in Roath Park.[11]

The first fully documented presentation was in 1907. In memory of Louis Samuel, a drinking fountain was erected in North Road, adjoining Cathays Park in front of the Law Courts and City Hall. Louis Samuel was a furniture dealer (censuses 1891 and 1901) and he died in 1906.[12] The fountain was described as 18 feet 8 inches in height, and of red granite, with four drinking basins on grey granite columns.[13] A report in the Weekly Mail before the fountain was erected quoted the inscription: "In Memorium. Louis Samuel, Died 14th January, 1906. First Jewish Justice of the Peace of the City of Cardiff. Presented by his brothers."[14]

In 1908 the family gave a drinking fountain in memory of Lewin L. Samuel and this was placed in Victoria Park in July of that year.[15] It can be seen in the postcard images. The canopy of this fountain still exists, having been restored in the 1980s and relocated as the centre piece of the formal flower beds at the southern end of the park. Lewin Lazarus Samuel died at Reading on June 21st 1893, aged 39, though his death was registered as "Lewin Lazarus Samuell". Probate was granted to Louis Samuel and Isaac Samuel.[16]

Another drinking fountain presented by the Samuel family in 1908 was placed in the Roath Park Botanic Garden. The Parks Committee approved a site near the bandstand in May 1907, and in July 1908 agreed " to ask the chairman to formally open the fountain fixed in Roath Park by Messrs. Samuel in memory of Mr. Louis Samuel J.P."[17] Ordnance Survey maps for the 1920s and 1940s show a fountain at the junction of two main paths, near the shelter and the second bridge below the Promenade.

The fourth fountain donated by the Samuel family was placed in 1908 in The Hayes, close to the Free Library, and was in memory of Harry Samuel.[18]

In July 1909 a fountain in Grange Gardens was formally presented by the Samuel brothers in memory of their sister Mrs Rachel Joseph.[19] This is believed to have been lost in the 1939-45 war. A modern replica of the canopy was installed in 2001 following an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund. However, this appears to be a copy of the Victoria Park canopy, as the inscription reads "In memoriam - Lewin L Samuel - Aged 39 Years. Died 1893. Presented to the city of Cardiff in the year 1908 by his brothers in affectionate remembrance."

A fountain was presented in Splott Park by the family on the same day as the Grange Gardens presentation. This was in memory of Arthur Edward Samuel, who was a solicitor in practice in London.[20]

In December 1910 the family presented a fountain in memory of Mrs. Fanny Samuel. This was placed at the junction of Albany Road and Waterloo Road, opposite St. Margaret's Church, Roath.[21]

The first Samuel fountain placed in Roath Park was probably in the Recreation Ground at the northerly end near Alder Road. Another was added at the southerly end near Penylan Road and was formally presented on September 29th 1913.[22] Both fountains were shown on Ordnance Survey maps for the 1900s through to the 1920s but by the 1940s both had been removed, possibly contributed to the war effort, after the Parks Committee decided in March 1943 that it would not object to the removal of canopies from fountains in the parks for that purpose.

The ninth Samuel fountain was erected in Bute Place, near the entrance to the docks, in 1914.[23]

The table below shows the locations of the drinking fountains donated to the City of Cardiff, arranged in chronological order:

Location Presented Dedication Status
Roath Park Rec Unknown Unknown Removed c.1943
North Road September 1907 In memoriam Louis Samuel Removed
Victoria Park 1908 In memoriam Lewin L Samuel Canopy exists
Roath Park Botanic 1908 Louis Samuel Removed 1940-50
The Hayes 1908 Harry Samuel Moved to Grand Avenue, Ely 1934[24]
Grange Gardens July 1909 Mrs Rachel Joseph nee Samuel Lost 1939-45
Splott Park July 1909 Arthur E. Samuel Removed
St Margarets Church December 1910 Mrs. Fanny Samuel Removed c.1957[25]
Roath Park Rec September 1913 Unknown Removed c.1943
Butetown Docks March 1914 Unknown Derelict 1970s,[26] since removed

In 1914 Isaac Samuel initiated the creation of a large ornamental fountain at Llandaff Fields, in memory of the late Alderman Lewis Morgan. Census records show that Isaac Samuel was in business as a clothier (1881 and 1891) and later as a house furnisher (1901). Isaac Samuel died in 1914. The report of his death stated that he was a Justice of the Peace and was active in local politics.[27]

In 1933 the City Engineer reported to the Public Works Committee that there were eight Samuel fountains in the City. The Committee had received a letter from Mr Jack Samuel, who said that the Hayes fountain was "a disgrace", and with one or two exceptions, the other Samuel fountains in the city were neither useful nor ornamental, as they were not painted and the water had been cut off.[28]

Sources of Information

  1. Memorial Drinking Fountains - Cardiff's Canopy Fountains
  2. Western Mail 23rd January 1892 page 4
  3. Registration of death, Cardiff 1894 quarter 2, volume 11a page 211
  4. The Weekly Mail December 22nd 1906 page 7
  5. Registration of birth, Neath 1853 quarter 2, volume 11a page 367
  6. Registration of marriage Brighton 1887 quarter 3, volume 2b page 395
  7. Registration of death Reading 1893 quarter 2, volume 2c page 212
  8. Registration of birth Cardiff 1863 quarter 1, volume 11a page 252
  9. Registration of marriage Cardiff 1885 quarter 1, volume 11a page 405
  10. Registration of death Leicester 1898 quarter 1, volume 7a page 189
  11. The Weekly Mail Saturday September 19th 1908 page 10
  12. Registration of death Cardiff 1906 quarter 1, volume 11a page 232
  13. The Weekly Mail Saturday September 28th 1907 page 9
  14. The Weekly Mail Saturday December 22nd 1906 page 7
  15. Cardiff Parks Superintendent's Report Bookpdf(pdf) A handwritten book covering the period January 1908 to October 1912 inclusive, currently in the care of the Cardiff Council's Parks Service.
  16. England and Wales National Probate Calendar (Index to wills and administrations 1858-1966)
  17. The Weekly Mail Saturday August 1st 1908 page 12 & Cardiff Times and South Wales Weekly News, Saturday August 1st 1908 page 4
  18. The Weekly Mail Saturday September 19th 1908 page 10
  19. The Weekly Mail Saturday July 17th 1909 page 6
  20. Cardiff Times and South Wales Weekly News Saturday 17th July 1909 page 10
  21. Western Mail 23rd December 1910
  22. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 29th September 1913
  23. Western Mail 12th March 1914 page 6
  24. Western Mail & South Wales News Wednesday April 25th 1934 page 11
  25. Western Mail Thursday March 14 1957 page 5
  26. Memorial Drinking Fountains - Cardiff's Canopy Fountains
  27. Western Mail 7th September 1914 page 6
  28. Western Mail & South Wales News 17th February 1933 page 11