The Old Fountain in St John's Gardens

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Sunday 8 March 2009 4.51am
Does anyone know what happened to the old fountain from what we always called the swing gardens?

These gardens are the old burial ground of St Johns Church in Waterloo Road.

The fountain was rather grand. I think it must have been made of polished granite. It had old and battered pewter cups on chains and steps which led up to it.

It would have been a major job to dismantle or demolish it as it really was quite substantial. I've written to the church asking what its fate was without the courtesy of a reply.

'The Friends of St Johns Gardens' are not online.

I'd appreciate any information, I was very fond of that fountain and hope it hasn't been destroyed.
Sunday 8 March 2009 1.07pm
The normally comprehensive reference book Lambeth's Public Spaces - an historical account by Marie P G Draper, published by Lambeth Council in 1979, makes no mention of a drinking fountain at St John's churchyard.

There is also no mention of it in the Survey of London volume published in 1951.

Marie Draper does mention that there used to be "a red granite drinking fountain given in 1901 to the memory of Anne du Bois" in Archbishop's Park which has subsequently disappeared.
Sunday 8 March 2009 9.56pm
It's rather peculiar Rabbie, it was the largest drinking fountain I saw as child. I visited many local and City parks back then as I was a confirmed wanderer, I remember drinking from a red granite fountain, probably from Archbishop's Park, although I couldn't swear to it. None came near St John's fountain neither in size nor substance. It had two or three step up to it, all in beautifully cut, grey with black speckled polished granite.

Richard Wale went expressly to take a photograph of it for me, thats how I found out it had mysteriously disappeared!

Wish I had named the thread differently, Mystery in Waterloo or Disappearing Act in Swing Gardens, I'm afraid that my title might not strike a cord with those who may remember it or know what fate it suffered.
Monday 9 March 2009 1.41pm
I have found a very low resolution map of the locations of all the fountains funded by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association, which shows two sites opposite each other on Waterloo Road.

It is on page 16 of this PDF document on the Association's History
Tuesday 10 March 2009 12.01am
Unable to access site at the moment, probably due to my having very little virtual memory available on my computer. I have someone coming to sort it out in a day or two.

I do appreciate the help Rabbie and will delve in ASAP.
Thursday 12 March 2009 6.06am
Hi Lori,

I don't know what happened to the fountain but I do know the one you mean and I can remember having a drink from it and thinking how grand it looked. Sadly a lot of things like the fountain have disappeared over the years. I hope someone can solve the mystery of its disappearance.
Thursday 12 March 2009 10.52pm
I've written to the Drinking Fountain Association kindly posted by Lang Rabbie, hopefully, they may have some information.

Thanks for your post Vonnie, it really was rather splendid wasn't it!!

Hope we don't find its been demolished, that would have been absolute vandalism. Why on earth would they even resite such a magnificent structure is beyond me since the gardens are still there.

I know that the gardens were and probably remain a meeting ground for tramps and vagrants but taking away the drinking fountain seems a rather drastic and inhumane way of dealing with the problem. If they were that desperate, they could easy have turned off the water supply.

Infuriating that so many icons from SE1 have been relocated or have disappeared entirely, whilst those in more salubrious areas a respected. Really p's me off.
Friday 13 March 2009 7.18am
Lori, pound to a penny it was taken away for ' repairs' and sold as architectral salvage..I often wonder if the lovely brass or was it copper handrails, wood panels still exist in tower bridge road toilets, the ones near the trocette..or rather where the trocette used to be!
Friday 13 March 2009 8.37am
Really annoying Jan, in all probability it was bought by public subscription or by the Church which would mean basically the same thing. If neither of those two, it may have been donated to grace the gardens in remembrance of someone dearly loved. I doubt that it was donated by a city 'worthy' type as its position and location wasn't in full view of the public.

Hoping for the best, although that probably means that it now stands in some nob's garden in his private estate.

Ooo.. I'm that angry, I'm spitting bricks!
Friday 13 March 2009 8.51pm
Are the kids in this 1950 photo standing on the fountain?

Picture on Lambeth Landmark website
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