Waldegrave Drinking Fountain
Built to a design by S. S. Teulon, the fountain is constructed from polished red granite and Portland stone.
The Sussex Advertiser of the 19th July 1859 reported the following;
"Our readers will, no doubt, be glad to learn that the Drinking Fountain Movement, which has now become so popular in many of our large towns, has been taken up at Hastings with a degree of spirit that speaks well for its success. A project in reference to this subject has been set on foot here by Mr. George Curling Hope, and will shortly be placed before the inhabitants in an official form. It is proposed that the first public drinking fountain should take the form of a testimonial to the Countess Waldegrave, in grateful acknowledgment of her ladyship's generous support of the religions, educational, and benevolent institutions of the borough and neighbourhood; and that it shall be erected on the triangular plot of ground contiguous to the eastern end of the Holy Trinity Church, Robertson Street. A design has been prepared by S. S. Teulon, in unison with the architecture of the church, which owes its erection in a great degree to her ladyship's liberality. It consists of a square basement, upon which will be the inscriptions, and on each side will be bracketed out a basin, receiving a jet of water."
"This basement is surmounted by a sculptured group of our Lord and the Woman of Samaria, under an open canopy, with figures of angels at the corners. The height of the whole erection will be eighteen feet, and the estimated cost is about £150. It is understood that the Countess of Waldegrave has been communicated with upon the subject, and has been pleased to express her willingness to accept such a tribute. The Mayor (Will Ginner, Esq.), the Deputy Mayor (Mr. Alderman Rock), Rev. Dr. Crosse, Rev. J. A. Hatchard, W. D. Lucas-Shadwell, Esq., and Mr. Alderman Ross have consented to form the nucleus of the committee, the latter gentleman officiating as treasurer."
"Very little need be said in favour of the movement, as there can be no question that a drinking fountain in such a public thoroughfare as that proposed would at once be a great boon to the Wayfarer and an encouragement to temperance. The promoters express a confident hope that "every inhabitant will feel a pleasurable duty to contribute to this object, that not alone the gentry and the trade, but the fishery, the mechanic, and the labourer will vie with each other in adding their names to the roll of those who delight to acknowledge Lady Waldegrave as a generous benefactor to the locality."
The fountain was constructed by Mr John Howell, to a design by Mr. S. S. Teulon of London.
The opening of the fountain took place on the 24th of May, 1862 without much in the way of fanfare, but a large crowd reportedly gathered to watch events with interest. The Countess having been provided by a seat with the Misses North, and Rev. J. Parkin also in attendance, the Rev. Dr. Grosse addressed the assemblage. This was followed by a speech by the Rev. Parkin and finally, the Countess Waldegrave read her speech of thanks which she had composed due to infirmity. Following a tasting of the water, the Countess then declared the fountain open.
Deterioration in 1890
|South face, red granite plaque with incised black painted letters:|
|East face, red granite plaque with incised black painted letters:|
|North face, red granite plaque with incised black painted letters:|
The structure is on the Heritage at Risk register and is badly damaged. The original drinking cups, chains, and taps are missing, the four statues of the evangelists are missing from the canopy, and the decorative top to the Spire is missing. The entire fountain is also severely corroded and weathered.
References & Notes
- Sussex Advertiser - Tuesday 19 July 1859 (Via Ian Shiner/British Newspaper Archive)
- Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 10 Chap. 68 Pg. 54-55
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 23 August 1890 Pg. 0006