National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Fountain and Canopy

Summary

Type Fountain

     Eight fluted columns carry eight semi-circular arches. Pierced foliage spandrels, dragon finials and a hemispherical dome of pierced foliage panels, crowned with a statuette of Samson, emblematic of strength. Decorative shields in the spandrel arches depict figures of miners and other symbols of the coal industry. The fountain is painted black and gold.
     The fountain was inaugurated in 1906 to mark the granting of the town's charter. It remained in position until 1966 when it was removed as part of a road improvement scheme. By this time the original drinking troughs had been removed and the canopy needed restoration. It was relocated in 1966 within the Caedraw redevelopment area outside St. Tydfil's Church although the whereabouts of the original drinking fountain and five of the eight shields is unknown. In 1993 as a result of a refurbishment programme, the fountain was moved to its present position immediately south of St. Tydfil's churchyard. In 1995 the local council awarded the project to restore the fountain to Acorn Restorations Ltd and the resited and refurbished fountain was officially opened in July 1996.
     The fountain was commissioned to celebrate Robert Thomas (1770-1829) and Lucy Thomas (1781-1847) of Waunwyllt. They successfully mined the deep-seam coal around Merthyr and marketed it in the expanding steam-powered industries in Wales and England. One of the donor's of the fountain, Sir W.T. Lewis, married Thomas's granddaughter.

Inscriptions

Inscription on plate in one of the spandrel arches: ERECTED BY / SIR WILLIAM T. LEWIS / AND / WILLIAM THOMAS REES / OF ABERDARE / AND PRESENTED TO THEIR NATIVE / TOWN, IN COMMEMORATION OF / ROBERT AND LUCY THOMAS / OF WAUNWYLLT THE PIONEERS IN 1828 / OF THE / SOUTH WALES STEAM COAL TRADE IN THIS PARISH

Related works : A comparable statuette of Samson stands in Tredegar Grounds, Risca; see CAER001.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
MacFarlane & Co. Glasgow, W. Foundry

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Whole work Cast-iron 457cm high approx

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
MT009 AH
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • No damage
Structural condition
  • Other
Vandalism
  • None
Road High Street
Precise location Immediately south of St. Tydfil's churchyard
A-Z ref None
OS ref SO049057
Date of design 1900-1906
Year of unveiling 1906
Unveiling details 1906
Commissioned by Sir W.T. Lewis and William Thomas Rees
Duty of care Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
Listing status II
At risk? No known risk

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