Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Victoria Fountain

Drinking fountain erected by H.A. Darbyshire, Victoria Park, London
Drinking fountain by H.A. Darbyshire, 1862
Erected by Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts
Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets
London, September 2015

“This pink marble, granite and stone drinking-fountain, with its distinctive cupola, ornamental slate roof, four clock-faces, Gothic arches, sculpted cherubs and inscriptions, was the gift of the wealthy philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts to the people who visited Victoria Park in the East End of London. The architect who designed it for her, H. A. Darbishire, was also the architect for the buildings of the charitable Peabody Trust. It is said to have cost £6000, a fortune in those days. No doubt this Victorian extravaganza (‘For the love of God and Country’) gave pleasure as well as clean drinking water to the poor East Enders enjoying the park, and perhaps also edification: it reminded them, for example, that ‘The earth is the Lord's and all that thereon is.’ It is astonishing to come upon now; but could the money have been better spent? Sadly, it has had to be fenced off, presumably to deter vandals.”

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