The United Kingdom Temperance and General Provident Institution Drinking Fountain

Cock Pond, Clapham Common, Lambeth


From FriendsLife:

“The UK Total Abstinence Life was formed in London in 1840 and, as the name suggests, its products were aimed initially at teetotallers. The group grew and expanded gradually, changing its name to the United Kingdom Temperance & General Provident Institution in 1849. Later this was shortened to the United Kingdom Provident Institution, with the head office moving out of London to Salisbury in 1975. The operational merger with Friends’ Provident Life Office came in 1986, with the funds of the two organisations formally merged in 1993.”


“Ferdinand von Miller (1813–1887) and Charles Barry Junior (1823–1900) and August von Kreling (1819–1876)

The fountain is mounted on an architectural pedestal surmounted by two figures in bronze. Both are heavily draped, with a young woman standing over an elderly man. The woman holds out a pitcher in her left hand, and the old man holds a drinking bowl to his mouth with his right hand and a crutch in his left. This is a representation of ‘Thirst’. The pedestal which the fountain is on has a tapering cylindrical shaft with moulding that sweeps out beneath the drinking bowls. Each side of the plinth is equipped with a lion-head spout that became purely decorative in 1935 after jets were installed. The fountain is currently not working, and the bowls have been covered up. The fountain was originally installed at Adelaide Place in 1884, however, it was re-erected in its current location in 1895 as a replacement for an earlier fountain on the site.”

From the website of the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain & Cattle Trough Association:

“The United Kingdom Temperance & General Provident Institution Drinking Fountain was originally unveiled at Adelaide Place, City of London by the northern approach to London Bridge. The sculptor was August von Kreling. The architect was Charles Barry (junior). Within a few years, the great weight of this fountain caused structural problems in the vaulting of the warehouses beneath the road and the United Kingdom Temperance & General Provident Institution had no alternative but to have the fountain removed. They presented it to the LCC, who re-erected it on its present site at Clapham Common in August 1895.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: