London – City of London – First Metropolitan Drinking Fountain

OK, so I admit that this isn’t the most interesting content ever, a photo of a water fountain at the junction of Holborn Viaduct and Giltspur Street. But I like it, so here we are….

It’s the first fountain to be erected by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association. It was placed nearby in 1859 and had to be moved to its current site in 1867 when Holborn Viaduct was constructed.

The association was established in 1859 by Samuel Gurney, a banker from what is now Barclays, as he wanted to ensure that members of the public could access clean water. It was initially known as the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association, but changed its name in 1867 to show that it was also concerned with animals. During the mid-nineteenth century it had become known that beer was safer to drink than water, which wasn’t going down entirely well with the temperance movement.

The association still exists, now known as the Drinking Fountain Association, with its original intentions intact, of providing water fountains to encourage water consumption.