TO wean the good people of Darlington off the demon drink, in the 1860s Joseph Pease installed nine wall fountains so that thirsty travellers could have clean refreshing water on tap rather than be forced into a pub.

As the Echo’s Object of the Week told a fortnight ago, just three of those mural fountains survive.

But there is a tenth in the town. It is of a much later date but it has striking similarities to the older fountains.

The Northern Echo: The restored mural fountain on the wall of the Tees Cottage Pumping Station. Picture courtesy of Martyn Brown

The tenth is on the wall of the Tees Cottage Pumping Station (above) in Coniscliffe Road, and it has recently been restored by the volunteers who run the magnificent beam engine (their first open days of 2022 are Easter Sunday and Easter Monday).

A plaque next to this fountain says that it was installed in 1950 as “a gift to wayfarers” to commemorate the centenary of the Darlington Women’s Temperance Association.

The Northern Echo: The plaque above the Tees Cottage Pumping Station mural fountain

In Victorian times, Darlington was awash with temperance groups. The town’s Total Abstinence Society was formed in August 1835, one of the first in the country, and Dr John Fothergill was its first president for 23 years until his death. In his memory, the society erected a drinking fountain in the middle of Bondgate, although now it is in the town’s South Park.

The Northern Echo: South, Park, Darlington, transformed for one morning only into a winter wonderland. This is the Fothergill Fountain as captured by Peter Giroux

The Fothergill fountain, Darlington's first temperance fountain, in South Park, photographed by Peter Giroux

The Darlington Women’s Temperance Association. These ladies wore white ribbons – they were called “white ribboners” – to show their allegiance to the movement. In Newcastle in 1876, the British Women’s Temperance Association (BWTA) was formed as an umbrella organisation for the local groups who were campaigning against drink and other evils, like gambling. Since 2004, the BWTA has been known as the White Ribbon Association and its mission now is “promoting healthy lifestyles” by raising awareness of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and gambling.

Also in Darlington in late Victorian times, there was the Temperance Choral Union, the Temperance Debating Society and the Juvenile Temperance Society. In 1903, these organisations came together to build a temperance institute which still stands in Gladstone Street.

The Pease family were Quakers and promoted temperance – as well as believing in the social benefits of sobriety, they knew that working heavy mills or driving fast steam locomotives while under the influence of drink was not a good idea.

Many Quakers across the country in the 1860s were installing water fountains to promote temperance and also because of growing concern that town centre wells and pumps were the source of cholera outbreaks.

Darlington Quakers had the added incentive that they had invested heavily in the pumping station beside the River Tees that was bringing fresh water into the town and that it would help them financially if people were drinking it.

The Northern Echo: The mural fountain in Grange Road

Joseph Pease installed his first mural fountain in 1865 in Grange Road on the garden wall of his Southend mansion (above). Over the course of the next year, he installed eight more: Coniscliffe Road (below), Woodland Road, Northgate, North Road, Haughton Road, Carmel Road and two at either end of the Parkgate cutting under the East Coast Main Line.

The Northern Echo: The mural fountain in Coniscliffe Road

All of the fountains are said to have been placed in walls that were either owned personally by the Peases or belonged, like the Parkgate cutting, to a company in which they had a substantial interest.

The three fountains that survive are in Grange Road, Coniscliffe Road and Woodland Road, on the corner of Milbank Road. All are of very different designs, although they all contain the Peases’ emblem of a dove of peace carrying a peapod of peace in its beak – they were pacifists.

The Northern Echo: Mural fountain in Grange Road

The Peases' emblem on the Grange Road fountain, above, and below on the one around the corner in Coniscliffe Road

The Northern Echo: The mural fountain in Coniscliffe Road

The tenth fountain has no Pease symbols on it and it is quite plain, but Martyn Brown of the pumping station points out that its metal bowl is exactly the same as the bowl of the Woodland Road fountain (below).

The Northern Echo: The disused water fountain at the junction of Milbank Road and Woodland Road in Darlington. All pictures: SARAH CALDECOTT

In the 1860s, this fountain would have been in the boundary wall of the Woodlands mansion, which was then owned by Joseph’s oldest son, Sir Joseph Whitwell Pease. Woodlands is now St Teresa’s Hospice.

This fountain that has been restored in the last decade when its legend “water for the thirsty” was picked out in paint.

So did the ladies of the Temperance Association copy the bowl in 1950? Or did they make use of a bowl from another Pease fountain that had been removed from another location?

Perhaps readers can assist…

For example, Gill Wootten emails to say: “The central part of the fountain on Woodland Road is not the original fitting, which was Victorian and rather more attractive. The replacement was effected in, I think, the late 1960s or early 1970s. The occupant of the house in whose wall it stands was possibly a Mrs Waterfall. Her husband was a consultant at the Memorial Hospital and she objected strongly to the change of design.”

The Northern Echo: The mural fountain on the corner of Woodland Road and Milbank Road in June 1974, when it has a metal bowl on it and it looks in need of restoration

The Echo archive has a photograph (above) of the Woodland Road fountain in June 1974. It has the metal bowl on it but it looks very dowdy, as if it were in need of another restoration.

The Northern Echo: Hummersknott and Uplands were Pease mansions built in the early 1860s, and they had a mural fountain in the boundary wall

SO where were the other mural fountains?

“The Carmel Road fountain was at the bottom of Cemetery Lane on the wall of the lodge house,” says Susan Bennett. This was in the boundary wall of two Pease mansions, Uplands and Hummersknott (above), which were built in the early 1860s. Uplands was the home of Rachel Pease, Joseph’s daughter, and Hummersknott was the home of his third son, Arthur.

“I passed this fountain every day when walking to Abbey Road School in the early to mid 1960s so it must have disappeared after that.”

The two fountains in Parkgate disappeared when the cutting was widened in 1931.

There was, we think, a fountain in the wall at the entrance to North Cemetery in North Road. We wonder if the Haughton Road fountain was in the wall of the East Mount, which was the home of Joseph’s older brother, John. We have absolutely no idea where the Northgate fountain might have been placed.

Any thoughts?

The Northern Echo: Joseph Pease

Joseph Pease, who installed Darlington's mural fountains

The Tees Cottage Pumping Station mural fountain can be seen at any time on Coniscliffe Road. The first pumping station open days of the year are on April 17-18.

The Northern Echo: Baums sports shop in Bondgate, Darlington, in 1960

LAST week, we mentioned Baums’ department store which was in Bondgate where the entrance to the Queens Street shopping centre is today.

“It was originally at 108-109 Bondgate, as you say, but that shop became a trendy boutique and Baums moved to the other side of Bondgate, to numbers 18-19, at the corner of Skinnergate,” says Anthony Magyrs. “I remember going in with my mother to get a duffel coat. It definitely sold children's wear. I don't think it sold menswear. I remember the staff were very helpful, and I think it closed in the mid 1970s.”