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A Moving Story

A Moving Story

Drinking fountain located on Derby Street

The drinking fountain that remains in place on the Derby Street railway bridge

In 1858, local benefactor, R. Hardy Wrigley, donated 2 drinking fountains to the town of Ormskirk. They were elaborate red sandstone bowls, positioned beneath an apex roofed portico. One fountain was sited on the corner of the then newly re-built Derby Street Railway Bridge, and the other was positioned on the bridge over the brook at the corner of Dyers Lane and Aughton Street.

The one we will all know, on the Derby Street Bridge, has a metal lions head spout. An oblong plaque was placed with the fountain naming the benefactor and the date 1858 was placed below the Apex. The one on the Derby Street Bridge is still there along with all the original detail. It is also a Grade II listed monument. As is the fountain in the St Helens Road Park. But the mystery here is, where did the Aughton Street bridge one go? There are people who can recall the Dyers Lane Fountain, but does anyone know why it was removed or where it was sent to?

Advertiser Article With Details About The Clock Tower

An article from the advertiser containing details relating to the clock tower. Click for a larger view.

The original design of Ormskirk clock tower in 1876 by Mr Balmer included drinking fountains fronting Church Street and Moor Street and a commemorative slab fronting Aughton Street. The full description of the Clock Tower construction is quite detailed.

So the clock had it’s own fountains from 1878, the Derby Street Bridge and Aughton Street Bridge had their own fountains from 1858.

The Lions head spouts on the clock tower fountains were added to all the fountains in 1998 by the WLDC. When and why were the plaques removed from the clock tower? Or are they re-sited somewhere? Did WLDC add the lions head spout to the railway bridge fountain in 1998 too?

The drinking fountain located on the corner of Dyers Lane

An old photograph showing the location of the drinking fountain on the corner of Dyers Lane

Our photographic evidence for the twin fountains donated by Mr Wrigley shows the exact positions, could the history of flooding on Dyers Lane have led to the fountain being removed/relocated? Was the water supply to these fountains from an artesian well and the water table re-routed to the fountains?

The description of the clock tower from 1877 does not match the current photos, the fountains appear to have been moved at some point.

We have many photos of the Clock Tower over time and many images of the Derby Street Bridge but we think we have the only image of the Dyers Lane Bridge Fountain in our collection of original glass slides.

A comparison showing the drinking fountains on the clock tower as they were and as they are now

A comparison showing the drinking fountains on the clock tower as they were and as they are now

If you have any clues to the missing fountain’s whereabouts, please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Let’s see if we can solve this mystery.


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