Royal Avenue Gardens Fountain - 2012
Dartmouth is getting an entirely new Royal Avenue Gardens fountain as a royal jubilee gift. The town’s old Dartmothians Association had been looking at giving the existing fountain a major makeover as part of the royal diamond jubilee celebrations later this year. But they have decided to fund an entirely new fountain instead.
The Dartmouth organisation is planning to spend up to £10,000 on the new fountain, and has already lined up a volunteer team of skilled tradesmen to carry out the work, revealed Old Dartmothians secretary Richard Rendle.
Part of the old fountain will be saved and set up just a few yards away next to the town’s war memorial, he explained. He pointed out that parts of the old fountain are cracked, and the large bowl at the base where visitors throw their money is made up of old rubble and concrete, this large bowl originally cost the old Dartmouth Borough Council just £21 when it was constructed. He said the second tier bowl – which is the only original piece of the fountain when it was built in 1888 to mark Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee celebrations – was being saved and set up elsewhere in the gardens. ’The idea is to remove the whole fountain, concrete the area to make it flat with a new base and then put the new fountain there,’ said Mr Rendle. ’It will include new services, new water supply, new electricity and lighting.’ He said that local councillors Jonathan Hawkins and Hilary Bastone were contributing £500 each to the project, while fellow councillor Melvyn Stone was handing over £400 from their respective council funds. Mr Rendle said: ’We have had a love affair with the old fountain for the last 20 years to try and keep it going, but it is a hotchpotch of repairs and it is malfunctioning and losing water. ’The new fountain will be something the Old Dartmothians want to celebrate the jubilee with.’ He said it would be unveiled in time for the national diamond jubilee celebrations later this year. Visitors throw up to £700 a year in to the old fountain, which is collected by the Old Dartmothians some four times a year. Over the years it has been subject to vandals’ attacks and thefts, which, on one occasion, even saw the statues around the fountain stolen. Last year the old fountain’s water pump failed and it has not been operating since. The Old Dartmothians are looking for donations for the new fountain project from their members and are also inviting any members of the public to help out.
This article has been reproduced by kind permission of South Hams Today, part of the Tindle Newspapers Group - Independent Family Owned Newspapers
This image has been submitted by member and former Treasurer Paul Darby, and was taken in 2003, it shows all the fountain coins donated over a six month period, put out to dry in the sun, making ready for counting and banking.