Restoration of historic structure in St. Paul's Recreation Ground nearly complete
Conservators from London Stone Conservation at work. Picture: London Stone Conservation
The historic drinking fountain in St. Paul’s Recreation Ground is close to being back in full working order following a restoration project.
It is hoped that people in the park will have access to fresh drinking water by the end of the month.
Heritage of London Trust and the London Borough of Hounslow have joined with the Friends of St Paul's Recreation Ground to restore the fountain to full working order
St Paul’s Recreation Ground dates from 1888, when Brentford Local Board bought the land using money raised to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 1887 Golden Jubilee. Its rose granite fountain was unveiled at the park’s grand opening in 1889, when two bands, mounted police, the fire brigade and VIPs in carriages joined a formal procession past street bunting and flags to the new Ground. Guests listened to speeches and drank fresh water from the fountain.
Despite being in the centre of the park just outside the children’s playground, the fountain had been decommissioned in the 1970s and was not working. It was in bad repair, had lost all its decorative fittings and the finial on top.
It is being restored using an archive photograph from the last years of it working, with a new hand-carved finial and taps. Thames Water has installed completely new piping to run fresh drinking water from the mains water supply.
Lily Neil, age 6, pupil at St Paul’s CofE Primary, learns about stonemason techniques at the fountain. Picture: Heritage of London Trust
Children form St Paul’s Church of England Primary School went along to inspect the works and meet the conservation team.
They have been excited by this environmental initiative on their doorstep. “Save the planet! Get a bottle and fill it up with the handy fountain! Don’t buy it, come to St Paul’s Recreation Ground.” said Amelia, age 7, a pupil at the nearby school.
As part of Heritage of London Trust’s Proud Places programme, local schoolchildren have submitted 40 individual entries for an illustrated history leaflet competition which will be distributed to local residents in coming weeks.
Drawing by Frederick, Age 7, St Paul’s CE Primary School. Picture: St Paul’s CE Primary School
Dr Nicola Stacey, Director of the Heritage of London Trust, said, “Historic drinking fountains are found throughout London but far too few are working. It is a pleasure to be working once again with Hounslow Council, as well as the Friends of St Paul's Recreation Ground, to bring this Victorian drinking fountain back to life. It’s wonderful to see young people’s excitement about this project.”
Martin Case, Friends of St Paul’s Recreation Ground, said, “We’re thrilled that this historic fountain in the middle of the Recreation Ground will now take pride of place again as the sustainable hub of our community.”
Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said, “I am delighted that Hounslow is able to restore another of its fine historic water fountains. We’re proud to be able to increase the borough’s sustainability initiatives and we hope many generations will be able to enjoy using the fountain well into the future.”
The fountain project is one of several historic fountains in Hounslow which have been brought back to working order. The River Thames has some of the highest recorded levels of micro-plastics in the world, and providing free fresh water for refilling bottles helps reduce plastic pollution.
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May 14, 2021