Type Medallion , Fountain
The drinking fountain is a simple square three stage monument surmounted by a modern light fitting. It has three drinking fountain basins with lions head spouts. On one side of the second stage is a portrait roundel depicting Captain Webb in profile.
The lion heads on the side were made by William Icke, a brass moulder from Dawley who worked at Coalbrookedale. The monument was unveiled by Thomas Webb, Captain Webb's older brother in 1909 before 1000 people. It originally stood at the top of the High Street, but in 1958 was moved to a site at Paddock Mount a short distance away to allow for road improvements at the High Street-King Street junction. It returned very close to its original site in 1979 as part of the Dawley pedestrianisation scheme. At some stage in its history the memorial lost its original three lanterns, which were replaced by a single lantern.
Captain Matthew Webb (1848-1883), born in Dawley, was a pioneering marathon swimmer. In 1875 he became the first man to swim the Channel from Dover to Calais. He died attempting to swim across the base of the Niagara Falls.
On roundel: CAPTAIN MATTHEW WEBB/ SWAM FROM DOVER TO/ CALAIS AUGUST 24TH 1875
On the second stage of the memorial, below the roundel, inscribed: NOTHING GREAT/ IS EASY
On first stage, inscribed: THIS MEMORIAL WAS UNVEILED/ ON 23RD OCTOBER 1909
On second stage, inscribed: CAPTAIN WEBB/ WAS BORN IN A HOUSE/ WHICH FORMERLY OCCUPIED/ A SITE TEN YARDS/ FROM THIS MEMORIAL// ERECTED BU PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION/ TO THE MEMORY OF/ CAPTAIN MATTHEW WEBB/ WHO IN ADDITION TO/ FEATS OF LIFE-SAVING,/ SWAM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL// CAPTAIN WEBB WAS BORN IN DAWLEY/ JANUARY 19TH 1848/ AND LOST HIS LIFE/ IN AN ATTEMPT TO SWIM/ NIAGARA RAPIDS/ ON JULY 24TH 1883
Related works : A national memorial to Captain Webb is sited at Clarence Lawn, Dover (1910)
PMSA recording information