Cathedral Square’s Victorian Drinking Fountain – 1878

In 1878, on the south west corner of Colombo and Hereford Streets (outside the B.N.Z Bank in Cathedral Square) an ornate Victorian cast iron drinking fountain was placed as a gift to the city.

Believed to have been made by Christchurch’s 1st blacksmith and 2nd Mayor, John Anderson, the fountain and accompanying water bowl was beautifully topped off with a lovely patterned roof which also housed a gas lamp.

It was originally placed at the intersection of Colombo, Hereford and High streets (near the Triangle Centre) – also known as ‘Bottleneck Junction’. As the amount of traffic increased with the city’s quick growth, it became a dangerous place to stop and quench your thirst. When a runaway horse and cart crashed through the infamous site, it was decided to move the fountain on.

It next appeared at the south west corner of the Cathedral grounds. In 1883, it was taken to it’s final (and last known) location, on the pavement outside the western doors of Christchurch Cathedral (pictured in 1916). By the early 20th century, the gas lamp had been removed and after the 1930’s, the fountain disappeared into history.

No can say when the fountain was taken away or where it went; only photos now remain of this unique Square character – a small hub of activity that once offered our Cantabs a place of cool refreshment and still reflection.

*Image courtesy of Steffano Webb*

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