Horse Drinking Trough
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A fine example of Edwardian cast iron civic furniture - a memorial horse trough - is preserved in the grounds of the Aliwal North Museum.
It consists of a large circular cast iron trough with broad rounded perimeter rim. The trough stands on four heavy supports, each cast in the shape of a horse’s back leg, complete with massive hoof. Each leg transforms into a decorative classical motif at the interface with the trough.
The trough was selected from Walter Macfarlane & Co's catalogue of items from their Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland.
The memorial dedication is recorded in a relief, sans-serif font on a large decorative cast metal plaque mounted horizontally on the central, circular ‘island’ within the trough. The dedication is transcribed below:
The Guild of Loyal Women of South Africa was a voluntary organisation which identified, marked and maintained graves and military graveyards from the Second Anglo-Boer War. Presumably the Guild’s Aliwal North Branch felt that the horses and cattle passing through the town needed a better supply of drinking water.
The drinking trough was originally sited in the Market Square, on the comer directly across from the Magistrate's office. The Market Square was where people sold their produce and livestock.
The horse trough was subsequently moved to the Aliwal North Hot Springs and then to the Aliwal North Museum when it was opened in 1987. The trough is prominently displayed in from of the Museum building and is currently (September 2019) being used a planter box.
Text compiled by William Martinson with invaluable information from Hannes Berg of the Aliwal North Museum; September 2019