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Description

Improving the "Throttle Valve"
Sir William Thomas Lewis, Bart. has just submitted to the Merthyr Town Council a of the drinking fountain which he has undertaken to present to the town in commemoration of the pioneers of the South Wales steam coal trade. Robert and Lucy Thomas, of Waunwyllt. Sir William was at Merthyr today. and, with Mr. T. F. Harvey, the borough engineer, fixed upon the site for the fountain, which is to be, placed in the open space formed by the removal of the block of buildings known as "The Throttle Valve" below the parish church.

The fountain, which is to be, constructed of iron, will be very elaborate and choice in style, having an octagonal base with ornamented pillars surmounted by arch and canopy with a figure representing Samson on the top. Over the arches are panels with shields containing devices, amongst them being a pithead frame and wheel, a miner at work, a miner with pick over shoulder, and a safety lamp and others bearing Sir William's coat-of-arms and all inscriptions. There are to be two combined troughs for dogs and horses, one at the north and the other at the south end. The structure, which will be about 20ft. in height, will be set on a raised foundation of wide stone steps, and by its graceful outlines will certainly evoke general admiration.

The elegant drinking fountain presented to Merthyr by Sir W. T. Lewis, Bart., in commemoration of the pioneers of the South Wales steam coal trade, and, also to commemorate the granting of a charter of incorporation to his native town, was formally, opened on Wednesday. It is quite unnecessary to refer to the love which Sir William Thomas Lewis bears for the town of his birth and training, all our readers know what Sir William, has done for the good, not only of the town, but of South Wales Coalfield generally. As regards the town, we cannot look at the General Hospital, or listen to the peal of bells at the Church without reflecting, that it was manly owing to Sir William's initiative that we possess them, and once again Sir William has proved his love for the town by presenting to its handsome drinking fountain, which is erected on ground in Lower High Street over which he used to travel when a boy on his way to school.

Description of the Fountain

The fountain is a handsome example of the iron-founders art. It consists of an inner drinking fountain, the basin of which are, supported on a pedestal, having four figure trusses, and the pedestal is relieved with decoration of water lilies in low relief. The upper portion of the inner fountain, in which the water taps are, placed, is a well-modelled piece of work, and is, decorated in the panels with swans and storks and water grasses. A vase of appropriate design surmounts the inner fountain, and from it hang four drinking cups. The inner fountain has an outer canopy carried, on eight ornamental cast iron columns, bound together by highly ornate spandril arches, surmounted by a dome of highly relieved open scroll work.

On the summit of the dome there is, placed a statuette of Samson. emblematical of strength: while in the spandril arches these are, fixed a series of decorative shields, with carvings illustrative of the purpose for which the fountain has been, erected. These carvings show: The miner, with pick over shoulder, on his way to work, the miner hewing coal, the pithead, the Darcy lamp, and the steamship and railway engine: while shields are, also devoted to the arms of Sir W. T. Lewis and of the town of Merthyr. In, addition there is a larger shield directly facing High Street, with the inscription:

Erected by Sir William T. Lewis, and William Thomas Rees, of Aberdare, and presented to their native town. in commemoration of Robert and Lucy Thomas, of Waunwyllt, in this parish, the pioneers in 1828 of the South Wales steam coal trade.

Close to the fountain there have been, provided two substantial drinking troughs for horses and cattle. The fountain and troughs have been, supplied and erected by the well-known architectural, sanitary, and engineering art founders, Walter Macfarlane and Co., Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Glasgow.

It was, agreed to make the opening of the fountain a memorable occasion, and those who were privileged to attend the function will agree that never, before has Merthyr witnessed auth a civic event. For the first time in the history of the town the Mayor (Ald. E. Morrell), and the Town Clerk (Mr. T. Aneuryn Rees) appeared out of doors, in their civic robes, and the occasion was made even more important by the presence of the Lord Mayor of Cardiff (Mr. Robert T. Hughes), wearing his chain of and who was accompanied by the Lady Mayor. est, and Mr. J. L. Wheatley, Town Clerk of Cardiff.

At half-past eleven the Mayor of Merthyr (who was, accompanied by the Mayoress), the Aldermen and Councillors, assembled at the Town Hall, and received Sir W. T. Lewis. Mr. W. Thomas Rees, Maesyffynon, (Sir William's brother-in law), and other prominent gentlemen, whose names will he found below. The town was gay with bunting, tradesmen being with one another in decorating their premises. The bells the Old Church rang merry peals, and everyone seemed :o take the liveliest interest in the proceedings. The procession, headed by the Volunteer Band, under the direction of Mr. Hanney started from the Town Hall just after 12 o'clock. Sir William was, greeted with cheers all along the route to the site of the old throttle valve, where the fountain is, erected. The mace has not yet arrived, to the staff of office used by the High Constables of Caerphilly Higher was, carried by P.C. Johns, one of the tallest of the local constabulary force, who acted, as mace bearer during the whole ceremony.

A number, of local constables, marshalled the procession, and arriving at the fountain, Sir W. T. Lewis, Mr. W. T. Rees, the Mayor and members of the Town Council, and officials, with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Cardiff took, up a position inside the barricade which had been, erected to prevent a crush. Before the ceremony commenced there were several cries of “Three cheers for Sir William Lewis," which were, heartily given. The Town Clerk read the following scroll address to Sir William:

To Sir William Thomas Lewis, Baronet.

We, the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of the Borough of Merthyr Tydfil, rejoice very much at this opportunity of formally expressing our appreciation of the eminent position you have attained, and, also of the many great and valuable services you have rendered to your county and our borough.

We feel proud that Merthyr Tydfil is the place of your birth. and that you are one of the most distinguished, if the not the most distinguished, of those great men who have never been ashamed to call themselves “Merthyr Boys.”

To promote the interests of your native town has ever been your foremost thought, and all around us in this old town but young Borough, are the evidences of your interest in the Borough, and your desire to place it in the forefront of the towns of England and Wales.

This occasion, the presentation of a fountain, to commemorate the new era of Merthyr Tydfil, is the expression of one more thought to honour and beautify your native town. Some of us know that the fountain is placed on a spot which has peculiar interest to you, and that invests it with a peculiar interest also; and we trust that when we tell boys and girls, that Sir William Lewis has placed this fountain on the spot where he in the olden times, stopped to know by the Town Clock whether he was in time for school. will be to them an incentive to stop in their careers to know whether they are in time, for your life is a striking proof of the importance of time in all that pertains to success.

We thank you for the handsome gift you have given your town, and feel assured, Sir William, that so long as the gift stands, a comfort to the thirsty and weary, the memory of you, one of the most distinguished Merthyr boys will never fade.

E. Morrell, Mayor.
T. Aneuryn Rees, Town Clerk.
3rd October 1906.

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