Bells chimed, songs were sung by schoolchildren, and a ribbon cutting and plaque unveiling ceremony marked the restoration of a Victorian drinking fountain in St Paul’s Recreation Ground in Brentford, West London.
Published: Thursday, 7th October 2021
The project to restore the 130-year-old fountain, funded in a partnership with Hounslow Council, Heritage of London Trust and working with Friends of St Paul’s Recreation Ground, brings back fresh drinking water for park users and visitors.
Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, and a team from the Heritage of London Trust were joined by pupils from St Paul’s Church of England Primary School to celebrate the occasion.
Dating from the park’s opening in 1889, and built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, the rose granite fountain is back to its full splendour and providing fresh drinking water again for the first time since the 1970s after £60k investment.
The fountain had been in a poor decorative state of repair, missing many original features and the water supply had been decommissioned half a century ago.
Conservation experts restored the fountain using photographs from local archives and Thames Water installed a new piping system to provide fresh drinking water. It’s hoped that park visitors and the local community will use the fountain to fill their own re-useable bottles, rather than buy water in single-use plastic ones.
As part of Heritage of London’s Proud Places programme, pupils at nearby St Paul’s School took part in an environmental campaign to help reduce use of plastic bottles.
A competition for pupils to produce drawings of the fountain was held and used to illustrate leaflets distributed to local residents. Pupils were given Proud Places reusable water bottles to enable them to fill up from the fountain.
Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said;
“Bringing this fountain back to life means a lot to me, and to park users and I’m very proud of the achievement. It’s really important that children have access to fresh clean drinking water especially when they’re enjoying the park.
“The fountain looks wonderful and will not just bring joy to park visitors helping them enjoy our green spaces; it will help our borough’s sustainable future by reducing single plastic bottle use. Thank you to everyone who was involved in this great project.”
Dr Nicola Stacey, Director of the Heritage of London Trust, said;
“This is the third fountain restoration project we have completed with Hounslow Council and we’re thrilled with the impact each of these projects makes to the local community.”
John Phillips, a trustee of HOLT and of the Jones Day Foundation which supports Proud Places said;
“We’re so happy to have supported this project as part of the Proud Places programme. The project has brought real pride to these schoolchildren and it’s been a privilege to watch them knocking on doors to tell local residents all about it.”
Martin Case, Chair of Friends of St Paul’s Recreation Ground, said;
“In 2015 a group of residents came together to initiate new plans for the park and in 2016 the group was formalised as the Friends of St. Paul’s Recreation Ground (FoSP’s). The Friends have been a driving force behind the protection, development and maintenance of the park, and we identified and initiated plans for improvements, including the renovation and restoration of the Victorian drinking fountain.
“A very big thank you and well done to all the FoSP's for supporting this project! It’s taken a few years, but is part of an ongoing programme and our aim to ensure that this much loved park remains an oasis within the surrounding urban landscape, serving the needs of all residents, young and old, and as a focal point for the local community.
“And now with a working fountain it truly is an oasis!”