Athenian Fountain

Restoration of the fountain

The Athenian Fountain was originally erected in 1860 in the Strand, near the church of St Mary-le-Strand. It commemorates Robert Hanbury MP (1845-1903), MP for Tamworth and later for Preston, who served as President of the Board of Agriculture from 1900 to 1903. In the 1890s, Robert Hanbury lived in Wimbledon, and the fountain was moved to the south-east corner of Wimbledon Common in 1904 when the Strand was redeveloped to create Aldwych. Its inscriptions across four sides read: ‘The Gift of Robt Hanbury Esq MP, The Fear of the Lord is a Fountain of Life; ‘With thee is the fountain of life. In thy light shall we see light.’; ‘I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely’; ‘Jesus said whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.’ There is a horse trough alongside, erected by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association.

The fountain is based on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates near the Acropolis of Athens, which dates to 335/334 BC. Lysicrates was a wealthy patron of musical performances in the Theatre of Dionysus, and erected the monument as a commemoration of his winning performance.

The fountain and trough will be cleaned to remove all organic staining, then poulticed with ammonium carbonate. The cast iron be removed for repair. The iron will be aluminum oxide blasted to bare metal, and repaired with a combination of casting, welding techniques and filling, then primed and painted. It may be necessary to dismantle the granite plinth to access the plumbing. New clean water feed pipes will be installed to the Thames Water manhole. If the fountain operates on an existing soakaway, the soakaway will be cleaned, flushed with clear water and tested. The fountain will then rebuilt and all joints repointed in a suitable, colour matching lime mortar.

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