British Listed Buildings

History in Structure

If you log in, you can comment on buildings, submit new photos or update photos that you've already submitted.

We need to upgrade the server that this website runs on. Can you spare a quid to help?.

Drinking Trough, Lewisham

Description: Drinking Trough

Grade: II
Date Listed: 1 October 2012
Building ID: 1410037

OS Grid Reference: TQ4016673521
OS Grid Coordinates: 540166, 173521
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4433, 0.0155

Locality: Lewisham
County: Greater London Authority
Postcode: SE12 0PS

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text


A Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association trough of 1888.

Reason for Listing

The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association trough at Harland Road, Lee is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: troughs such as this are reminders of the now-vanished presence of animals in city life, and reflect important changes in the attitude towards animal welfare in the later C19, through the work of charities such as the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association (MDFCTA);
* Form: a robust granite trough designed for the use of humans, drove animals and dogs with inscriptions affirming that it was erected by the association by public subscription.


This drinking trough was erected by public subscription in 1888 by the MDFCTA. By this time Lee, having been a village outside London, was becoming enveloped into London's suburban growth. Harland Road is to the south of the historic centre of Lee, and was not laid out until 1930, meaning the trough must have been moved from its original location.

In the early C19 water supplies to London and other large towns and cities was inadequate for the needs of the population, badly contaminated, and responsible to a great degree for the high mortality rate. Animals also often experienced acute suffering in C19 cities; horses were frequently worked to death, and cattle could be driven to market on hoof for two or three days without water. However, philanthropic bodies and civic amenity groups played a significant role in advancing sanitary improvements from the 1850s onwards. Foremost amongst such organisations was the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Association, founded in 1859, which was responsible for establishing a great number of drinking fountains which provided free, clean, water to all. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recognised the value of the Association, and as a result a large number of troughs were erected to provide free water for cattle, horses and dogs; prompting the Association to change in its name in 1867 to the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association.

Early troughs were experimental in construction; iron and zinc-lined timber were used, before granite was adopted as the most durable material. The troughs erected by the MDFCTA not only bear the name of the organisation, but are readily identifiable by their design.


The trough is of granite and takes the form of a narrow rectangular trough for horses or cattle, supported at either end on a square block. Between these blocks, resting on the ground, is a shallow trough for dogs. At the southern end of the trough is an ogee gable with a projecting semi-circular drinking bowl for humans, and a decorative bell-shaped spout.

On the east side of the trough is the inscription: METROPOLITAN DRINKING FOUNDATION AND CATTLE TROUGH ASSOCIATION. On the west side is the inscription: ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION 1888. To the south, beneath the drinking bowl, is the inscription: A CUP OF COLD WATER IN HIS NAME.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.