McDonnell Monument, Forgotten Drinking Fountain
McDonnel 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
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 McDonnell.
William Fraser McDonnell, 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 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 McDonnell Monument.
The Neo Gothic styled memorial is crowned with an urn and just below it is the inscription containing the initials of William Frase McDonnell.
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 McDonnell have long gone missing.
Standing at the heart of business district the McDonnell Monument reminds on of Calcutta’s long lost and forgotten heritage.
- An Artist’s Impression by Desmond Doig
- Wikipedia entry on William Fraser McDonnell
- DCR Finch flick photo