Lincoln’s Inn Fields’ Fountain
Restoration of Lincoln’s Inn Fields’ Fountain
This Gothic water fountain is located in the north-west corner of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Erected in 1861, it is one of the earliest Victorian public drinking fountains to survive in London. In the late 1850s, the nearby St Giles's parish wells became polluted. A letter read out to an 1860 meeting of the District Board of Works describes how "A lady residing in the neighbourhood of London is anxious to be permitted to put up a Drinking Fountain at her own expense in this Parish and prefers to place it in Lincoln's Inn Fields".
The fountain is of Portland stone and has a marble semi-circular basin on a half pedestal flanked by block steps, carved Celtic crosses set in rectangular patterning and a central, cusped gable inscribed "The Fear of the Lord is a Fountain of [Life - missing].”
The fountain is currently on the Heritage at Risk register. It has very poor surface erosion throughout, failed past repairs in cementitious mortar and significant losses to the inscription. Of the three quatrefoil bronze square tiles just below the tap, the central tile is missing. The door at the back has failed and is filled with rubbish and a fire risk.
The fountain will be restored using poultices, repairs will be undertaken to the damaged stone and the missing bronze tile will be replaced. The carved finial on top of the structure (a back to front modern replacement) will be replaced. New plumbing will be installed and the fountain will be restored to full functionality with fresh drinking water. An interpretation panel will be added nearby. This project is on hold until a fresh drinking water function can be confirmed by the local authority