Calls for historic fountain to be returned to 'rightful place' in town square

Investigation work will take place next week to look at restoring a historic drinking fountain to its rightful place.

Ironbridge residents campaigning to get The Bartlett Drinking Water Fountain back to it's original site. From left are Viv Moore, Vicky Jones, Margaret Roberts, Gill Beach and Elaine Rye. Picture by Dave Bagnall
Ironbridge residents campaigning to get The Bartlett Drinking Water Fountain back to it's original site. From left are Viv Moore, Vicky Jones, Margaret Roberts, Gill Beach and Elaine Rye. Picture by Dave Bagnall

A group of Ironbridge residents have been leading efforts for The Bartlett Fountain to be restored to the town's square.

The drinking fountain was put in the square as a tribute to The Reverend John Bartlett, who brought fresh drinking water to Ironbridge in the 1800s.

It was built with his wife, Susannah's authorisation after his death in 1862.

The fountain remained at the site until some time in the 1960s when it was removed as changes were made to the square to make space for bus bays.

Since then it has been at Waterloo Street.

Residents and members of Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale Civic Society have been campaigning to get the fountain returned to its original location, and ground investigation work to check the feasibility of the project is to take place next week on Monday and Tuesday.

Margaret Roberts, who was born and brought up in Ironbridge, is one of those campaigning for the monument's return.

The ultimate ambition is for the fountain to be fully restored and provide fresh drinking water where residents and visitors can fill up their bottles.

Mrs Roberts, 82, said they has been trying for a number of years to get the fountain returned to its original location.

The Bartlett Memorial, i.e. the Bartlett fountain, can be seen on the left in this scene from the 1920s

She said: "It had always been in Ironbridge until the 1960s when they moved it down to Waterloo Street.

"It has been there since the 60s and no one can see it, it is part of Ironbridge's history."

Mrs Roberts said there was widespread support for the efforts from residents of the town and that if the investigations find out that it is possible, the campaigners will set about trying to raise funds to support the project.

Viv Moore, chairman of Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale Civic Society said the monument commemorated a man who had made a huge difference to the town – providing water that prevented more residents dying from cholera due to dirty drinking water.

She added that a number of sources of funding would be available – if the plan is possible.

She said: "It will be a very big job. Next week they are doing investigations to see if it can and if it can we will help raise money.

"What we really want is for it to be a working fountain so people can use it to fill up their water bottles."

Mrs Moore said there was strong support to make sure the heritage of the town is represented in the best way possible.

She said: "There are two or three sites on Facebook and it is mentioned all the time, people from as far away as Australia who lived here are writing in to say they would like it done. There is a huge sentiment behind it."

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