20th March 2020

In_pictures Fountain in India restored thanks to Northampton ‘twin’

In_pictures Fountain in India restored thanks to Northampton ‘twin’


in_pictures Mumbai Fountain and Northampton fountainImage copyright
BBC/Northamptonshire Archives

Image caption

The Fitzgerald Fountain in Mumbai (left) was restored based on pictures of the fountain in Northampton (right)

A neglected fountain in India has been restored to its former glory after a “twin” was discovered more than 4,000 miles away in the UK.

The fountain in Mumbai was built in 1867 but had become discoloured, corroded and close to collapse.

The discovery of the connection with a fountain erected in 1863 in Northampton allowed restoration work to begin.

Architect Pankaj Joshi said: “For more than 40 years no-one had seen the monument in all its glory.”

The team in India used pictures, drawings and designs from the original Northampton fountain, which was dismantled in 1962, to make casts for the “missing pieces” from the Mumbai feature.

Mr Joshi, executive director of the Urban Design Research Institute in Mumbai, said more than 400 pieces had been smelted, recast, and put in place.

Image caption

The fountain has been restored at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum

The Mumbai fountain, called the Fitzgerald Fountain, was built in honour of a British governor of Mumbai (when it was known as Bombay).

It was later moved from its original location, at the Metro cinema junction, to the grounds of the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, where it continued to deteriorate.

Following the restoration, it will now be returned to the junction “like a jigsaw puzzle, piece by piece”. Mr Joshi said this would take 10 weeks.

“We’re really excited to take it back,” he said.

Image caption

Pankaj Joshi said more than 400 parts of the fountain had been restored

The Indian restoration team had been working with industrial archaeologist Peter Perkins, who is in the UK and uncovered the connection.

“I am very pleased to see that the Fitzgerald Fountain is restored, having originally been cast at Barwell & Co.’s Eagle Foundry in Northampton in the 1860s,” Mr Perkins said.

“Despite being a reminder of its British colonial past, it would seem that today the fountain is regarded as part of Mumbai’s own heritage.

“It is unfortunate that Northampton Borough Council did not take a similar view in 1962 when it allowed its twin on Northampton’s Market Square to be demolished.”

Image copyright
Northamptonshire Archives

Image caption

The fountain in Northampton’s Market Square was erected to mark the wedding of Prince Albert, who became King Edward VII

The cast iron plaque from the 1863 fountain is all that remains of the Northampton feature and now lives in Abington Park Museum.

Market Square was without a water feature until 2010, when a ground-spurting £98,000 seven-jet installation was built, but that was turned off in 2012.

Last month Northampton Borough Council leader Jonathan Nunn said the current fountain, installed in 2014 at a cost of £50,000, “doesn’t add to the ambience in any shape or form“.

There are now plans for a “linear water feature” following a recent consultation on Market Square.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Northampton Borough Council leader Jonathan Nunn said he did not like the current fountain in Market Square

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