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Palingswick House fountain

Restoration of the fountain

Palingswick House was originally built in 1849 as a family home. By the 1880s it was in institutional use, first as a Kensington & Chelsea Board of Guardians school and then as a home for diabetic children. The house was renamed after the old manor of Palingswick in 1954. Until 2011 it housed 21 different charities, but was sold by the Council to West London Free School.

The fountain was erected outside the house in 1887, as a memorial to S. L. Swaab, Esq. The fountain is inscribed: "His knowledge like a spring of refreshing water flowing ever during life for the relief of suffering". Samuel Swaab was born in 1821 in Amsterdam, arrived in London in 1849 and became a British naturalised subject, living first in Bloomsbury, followed by Number 266 King Street in Hammersmith. His occupation was an ‘Oculist (Own System)’. A catalogue for the 1862 International Exhibition has an entry in ‘Class IV - Animal and Vegetable Substances used in Manufactures’ as follows: “Swaab, S. L., Oculist, 9 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square. - Prepared India fibres, flax, hemp, and fibres converted in silk and cotton.” It’s uncertain what the use of these fabrics were. He died in 1886.

The fountain is constructed from grey (possibly Cornish) Granite. It is structurally sound and in overall reasonable condition. It is a four-sided obelisk on a two-step octagonal base, with two stepping blocks for children and an integrated dog bowl at the base. The original taps are missing on two sides and the stone is cracked in several areas.

The stonework will be poulticed and then dismantled, new piping installed, the stonework repointed and repaired where necessary.

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