Well-wishers celebrate the restoration of Love Fountain

The fountain’s supporters

THE restoration of a century-old fountain is the first stage of a hoped-for regeneration of St John’s, according to a group of well-wishers who helped make the project a reality.

The Friends of St John’s Park and Meadows, the Refresh Tunbridge Wells charity, local councillors including the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, the Parks Department, Tunbridge Wells in Bloom and others gathered to unveil a newly-restored stonework masterpiece donated to the town by businessman and benefactor Joseph Horatio Love in 1920.

Originally a tiered fountain, with water flowing from a central spout, the historic piece has undergone various transformations and refurbishments – as well as suffering vandalism.

Refresh Tunbridge Wells chairman Professor Michael Holman told the Times: “What was once a feature that park users could be proud of had become an eyesore, attracting further vandalism and was threatened with possible removal.”

However, thanks to the combined effort, a new ‘tazza’ bowl – which replaces the historic Royal Doulton frieze and fountain parts – was manufactured by local stone masons Chilstone, and now overflows with flowers instead.

The project’s £10,000 budget came from ‘Section 106’ contributions by the developer, McCarthy & Stone, plus contributions of time, labour and organisation from the other partners, said Professor Holman.

“This is just the first part of a more general regeneration of the park and the area. This was one of the most neglected parts of the park,” he said.

Michael Lees of the Friends Group said: “Restored as a three-tier planter, the Love Fountain is a beautiful addition to our neighbourhood.”

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