National Recording Project


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

Andrew Gibb Memorial Drinking Fountain and Shelter


Type Fountain , Building

     Drinking fountain standing within a large octagonal shelter with eight pillars, a roof and no walls. The fountain stands towards the north side of the structure and comprises a large circular basin on an octagonal pedestal, set on top of a square block. The basin is solid and quartered, with two sloping basins cut into the east and west sides of the flat top surface, and a small shallow round basin cut into the south side. The fountain is made of concrete with white chippings in it, and has a stone block across the top forming a bridge across the channel between the two basins. The inscription is on the top surface on the north side. Some brass pipes under the bridges, and a tap, but other fittings all missing. The whole stands on a shallow base, an oblong shape with rounded ends, with a step at one end and a trough at the other. The shelter is a substantial structure, an octagonal pavilion with eight Doric concrete columns at the angles, supporting a wood-lined tiled roof surmounted by a wooden cupola. This is cube-shaped and has a weathervane on top comprising just the pointers. The faces of the cupola are painted but very faded: NW - a tree; NE - a mountain(?); SE - clipper ship; SW - unable to decipher. Believe they are local scenes painted in 1979.(2) Outside on the west side are two small blocks with grooves carved down the sides, which may have been bench supports.
     Shelter originally had a clock in the turret with four faces, presumably where the paintings are now. The drinking fountain was provided for in a bequest by Andrew Gibb. Various references in Greenwich Borough minutes of 1930-31 to the structure of the fountain and shelter, including the electricity and water supplies. The shelter had a light inside and a turret clock with four faces. The Finance Committee passed the expenditure of £75 quoted by the South Metropolitan Electric Light and Power Company to put in the supply, and of £21-11-6d per annum for approximately 3900(?) hours for maintenance including switching the lights on and off. An octagonal path of artificial stone was designed by Theakston, the architect, to match the memorial. It was to be eight foot wide on five sides of the structure and 14 foot wide on the remaining three sides, facing the war memorial to the north. There were two seats, teak on stone supports on the east and west sides of the memorial. Fire? Believed memorial to be restored in 2001, but as of July 2002 has not happened.
     Commemorates Andrew Gibb, born 12 August 1850 in Glasgow, died 10 April 1908 in Blackheath. Gibb was a ship-repairer and local philanthropist who lived at Garthlands in Westcombe Park. The son of a builder in Glasgow, he served an eight year apprenticeship at Curle and Co., a firm of engineers and shipbuilders on the Clyde, after which he went to sea as an engineer. He came to London as Chief Draughtsman at Ryde and Co., Millwall, and then became general manager at Rait and Gardiner, engineers and ship repairers who had premises on the Thames. He became managing partner of the firm, energetically expanding the business but, as stated in his obituary in the local paper, at the expense of his health. He was a member of several professional bodies and guilds in the ship-repairing and marine engineering world, including the Institute of Naval Architects, vice-president of the Society of Marine Engineers and a freeman of both London and Glasgow. His obituary describes him as a 'a most liberal employer', and he was well known as a generous benefactor both to individuals and to local causes, although it also states that he took as much satisfaction from refusing money to 'humbugs' as of giving large sums to worthy causes! He was deacon of St Mark's Presbyterian Church in Greenwich and benefactor to that church. As an Alderman of the first Borough Council of Greenwich he donated a mayor's badge and chain valued at around £500. Although an active and energetic man he was dogged by poor health in his later years. He is buried with his wife in Charlton Cemetery.(1)


On north west side of circular basin, incised lettering on flat solid piece: THE / ANDREW GIBB / DRINKING FOVNTAIN

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Theakston, E.G. Architect

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Circular basin White concrete with white chippings in it 137cm diameter
Whole fountain structure White concrete with white chippings in it 90cm high
Base Concrete 15cm high x 91cm wide x 173cm deep
Bridge Stone 9cm high x 31cm wide x 53.5cm deep
Pillars of shelter Concrete 300cm high approx, set at 300cm apart

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Poor
Surface condition
  • Abrasions, cracks, splits
  • Biological growth
  • Accretions
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
Structural condition
  • Other
  • Broken, missing parts
  • Graffiti
Road Charlton Way
Precise location North east corner Black Heath at junction Charlton Way with Maze Hill and Prince of Wales Road
A-Z ref 78 9D
OS ref TQ397770
Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1931
Unveiling details Official opening ?Thursday 16 April 1931
Commissioned by None
Duty of care None
Listing status Don't know
At risk? No known risk

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