GATEACRE VILLAGE GREEN - WILSON MEMORIAL (drinking) FOUNTAIN 1883. John Hays Wilson (1825-1881) a brass founder, was the Chairman of the Liverpool Water Committee from 1875 until his death in 1881, during which time the scheme for bringing water from Vyrnwy to Liverpool was planned, sanctioned by Act of Parliament but not yet begun. He lived at Lee Hall and was also the Chairman of the L.W.L.B. After he died a local committee was formed to erect a memorial to him on the Green, under the Chairmanship of Mr Scotson of Holt Farm and member of the L.W.L.B. Other members included Sir Andrew Barclay Walker (who gave the land) and W.B. Forwood with John Drysdale (whom J.F. Marsh identifies as Farm Bailiff for Sir Andrew) as treasurer, and £21 was subscribed by the villagers.
The hexagonal sandstone building with pyramidal roof covered with stone flags in form is in line of descent from the traditional English market cross as exemplified by Chichester (octagonal) and by the conduit at Sherborne, Dorset (hexagonal) and these descend from the polygonal Chapter Houses of the Middle Ages. As for the details of the decoration, the gargoyle is Gothic, the aquatic female figures are Northern Renaissance while the birds and dragons have the flowing lines of the Art Nouveau and yet are of 1883 - a decade before this idea was taken up as a basis for Art Nouveau. The sensitive design for the arches is typical of the late Victorian years.
The fact that Sir A.B. Walker was on the committee and Cornelius Sherlock F.R.I.B.A. c.1823-88, articled to Peter Ellis and architect of the Walker Art Gallery in 1874, was asked if he would undertake the design of the Fountain - a notable discovery of Mrs Sangster's - leads us to suggest that Sherlock was indeed its architect.
Passing along Grange Lane, we glance at the Conservative Club, sponsored by Councillor F.H. Wilson and designed by L.A.G. Prichard, architects of Liverpool in 1958 but not built quite in accordance with the approved drawing - of which a tracing is in our exhibition, in the Chapel Hall.
But we have really come to see the conversion at:-
Gateacre Riding School. Built 1895 for Col. W. Hall Walker 1856-1933 (Lord Wavertree) - see initials on horizontal timber, the architect was Richard T. Beckett of Hartford in Cheshire who also designed Soarer Cottages next year.
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