During a recent thirst-inducing walk along the coastal path from Rhoose to Barry, I was delighted to notice an old drinking fountain when we finally reached Barry’s Cold Knap Park. Unfortunately, the fountain no longer works so we were ‘forced’ to visit a cafe across the road from the park, where they also sold nice cakes – a real hardship! But I have a bit of a thing about old drinking fountains (see my post on Penarth’s drinking fountains here and some in Cardiff here, so I’ve been trying to find out more about this one.
It seems the lack of drinking water has long troubled visitors to this area: in the Barry Dock News of 14 September 1906 an article reported the minutes of the latest Council meeting, at which the issue of a water supply for Romilly Park had been raised – that park is just across the road from Cold Knap Park, which did not exist at the time (that same newspaper contained an article reporting that the trustees of the Romilly Estate had decided to sell the land along the foreshore between Barry and Porthkerry where Cold Knap Park is now located).
And, in a letter to the Barry Dock News published on 26 August 1910, ‘Holiday-seeker’ raised the scandal of ‘pleasure-seekers’ picnicking at Cold Knap having to pay twopence to a local farmer for a kettleful of water to prepare tea – outrageous!
According to a Coflein report I managed to locate (Coflein is the online database for the National Monuments Record of Wales), the main construction phases of Cold Knap Park can be dated to the 1920s, and the Knap
This date ties in well with an unofficial comment about the fountain that I found on the Friends of the Knap Gardens Facebook page.
The post, dated 31 August 2016, contained comments about the recent sprucing up and painting of the old drinking fountain, and local resident Joanne Creek commented that she believed the drinking fountain had been installed in 1926 and had been cast by Goulds foundries of Barry – the firm of W. H. Gould, Iron and Brass Founder, was based nearby in Barry Dock.
Joanne had also been lobbying the local council to have the water supply reinstated but, sadly, had not been successful.
The Coflein report confirms that the drinking fountain is, indeed, made of fluted cast iron, with two bowls on one side, and I have since discovered that the bottom bowl was intended for use by dogs needing a drink – brilliant idea!
The structures within Cold Knap Park are Grade-II listed so I hope this means the drinking fountain will be protected for future generations to admire, if not to use. I’m sure the local Friends group will be keeping a watchful eye on it.