Drinking fountain and cattle trough, Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association, originally founded as the "Metropolitan Free Drinking Association” by Quaker MP Samuel Gurney (nephew of Elizabeth Fry) in 1859. According to the association's own website, this granite trough dates from 1903, and is 6' 6" long. Moved to this spot from a previous location nearby, it now stands at the junction of Station Road with Ashley Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. It was presented” by Mrs Parker Berwyn. [Click on this and the following photograph to enlarge them.]

The drinking fountain at one end.

This busy junction might not seem a sensible place to put such an amenity, but at the time it was first erected many horses and carriages would have been coming to Walton-on-Thames Station to convey railway passengers to and from the surrounding district. As so often, the railway was built at a little distance from the town centre.

Although it only serves a decorative function now, the trough/drinking fountain was originally part of an important initiative to supply pure, cool water freely to all who needed it, and so to relieve "alike the thirst of Londoners and the suffering of dumb beasts" (Davenport-Hines). The movement had spread outside London to Greater London and beyond. In fact it is still active now as the Drinking Fountain Association, helping to provide drinking fountains in schools, and clean drinking water where needed abroad.

Photographs, formatting, and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


"Cattle Trough." Cattle Troughs & Drinking Fountains in Surrey. Web. 16 April 2018.

Davenport-Hines, R. "Gurney, Samuel (1816–1882), philanthropist and banker." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Web. 16 April 2018.

Thr Drinking Fountain Association. Web. 16 April 2018.

Created 16 April 2018