Home > Calcutta (Kolkata), General > McDonell Monument, Forgotten Drinking Fountain

McDonell Monument, Forgotten Drinking Fountain

McDonell Monument, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Forgotten Drinking Fountain

“Only dismantling the fountain completely could have done more to hide it from view”

Desmond Doig, An Artist’s Impression

McDonnell Monument, the drinking fountain

McDonell Monument, the drinking fountain

Located opposite the Calcutta (Kolkata) High Court and inside the complex of West Bengal Legislative Assembly is a spectacular drinking fountain. This small but elegant structure is actual a memorial dedicated to William Fraser McDonell.

Inscription of McDonnell Monument, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Inscription of McDonell Monument, Calcutta (Kolkata)

William Fraser McDonell, V.C., of Bengal Civil Service (1850 – 1886) and Puisne Judge of the High Court (1874 – 1886). McDonnell was the repentant of the Victoria Cross and was one of the four civilians to win the prestigious gallantry award, awarded for bravery in combat situation.

McDonnell Monument, Lion mouth water spout

McDonell Monument, Lion mouth water spout

McDonell was awarded the gallantry award for his exceptional courage and leadership under the enemy fire during the Great Revolt of 1857 at Arrah, Shahbad. The memorial was erected by his friends after his death in England in 1894.

The lion mouth shaped water spout have long dried up and the metallic trough that collected water for horses have long vanished. The iron railing with lines of clothes, left to dry, totally blocks the view of McDonell Monument.

The Neo Gothic styled memorial is crowned with an urn and just below it is the inscription containing the initials of William Frase McDonell.

Also visible on the two side are the numbers 1850 and 1886, the two years which respectively marks the beginning and end of McDonnell’s service as a Bengal Civil Servant.

Sadly the marble plaque, which said a few words about William Fraser McDonell have long gone missing.

Standing at the heart of  business district the McDonnell Monument reminds on of Calcutta’s long lost and forgotten heritage.


  1. February 19, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    We were wondering what this was when we passed it on our walk on Sunday. Thank you Dada!

    • February 19, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      Thanks Double Dolphn (Deepanjan) hope to take you for a heritage walk in Calcutta soon.

  2. February 19, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    This post is amazing. Sharing it.

  3. rajmita
    February 19, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    wow… a revealing article. never knew about this monument before. thanx Rangan da.

  4. February 19, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Why don’t you put it in Wikipedia too? Lion mouth seems to be a fovourite design for other street furniture of bygone days, when elegance of this city was taken seriously by the foreign rulers. Here is another lion mouth water spout https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/enz7HZPR_TFEbV10crY8PtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

  5. February 20, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Wow! So much details.
    I must have a guide book from you before I visit Kolkata again.

    • February 21, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      Thanks Indrani, I book is always in my agenda!!!

  6. March 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Past things and old monuments always makes my brain more active. The ruins, sands and the broken things are really more interesting than the present things, because each of those things have a story to tell.

    Nice Post Ragan!

    • March 19, 2014 at 6:06 PM

      Thanks Bhanu, but this piece of beautiful architecture, located at the very heart of Calcutta, could have been preserved.

  7. February 19, 2019 at 3:28 PM

    Great post thanks for sharing it.

  1. April 7, 2017 at 9:14 PM

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