Jewish Orphanage Fountain

Restoration of the fountain

The Jewish Orphanage began as a fund for Ashkenazi poor in 1795 in Mile End; became a ‘Jews’ Orphan Asylum’ and then moved to Norwood in south London in 1866. ‘The Jews’ Hospital and Orphan Asylum at Norwood’ was built in 8 acres of land to house 220 children, but in 1911 expanded to accommodate 400 children. A home next door housed up to 50 children aged 5-8. The orphanage buildings were demolished in 1961 and replaced with a school. Children were from this time mostly fostered out. The Norwood Old Scholars Association was formed by the children that came out of the Norwood orphanage. Now elderly adults, they represent a charity dedicated to help each other keep in touch, and to help husbands and wives in need. In 1815 the Duke of Sussex became the patron of the Old Scholars and the Queen is today patron. The drinking fountain which was so prominent in the grounds is the only remnant of the children’s home and this project is therefore enthusiastically supported by the Old Scholars Association.

The drinking fountain was erected in 1906 in memory of Dr Henry Berhend by his widow who had worked for the orphanage for 20 years. The fountain was removed for safe keeping when the orphanage was demolished, and when in 2015 a new health centre was built and the fountain was returned, the figure of the ‘Lion of Judah’ on top was missing, probably stolen.

A new concrete foundation will be cast. The fountain will be cleaned, poulticed and hairline cracks repaired. Leading edges will be repaired by pinning moulded marble sections, and plumbing and taps will be fitted and connected to water and waste. Two bronze lion head roundels will cast to replace those missing. Two memorial plaques will be cast in bronze to go on the sides of the fountain. A new statue will be commissioned, sculpted and cast in bronze.

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