Sir Hugh Myddelton Statue & Fountain
Restoration of the statue and fountain
Sir Hugh Myddelton (1560 – 1631) was a Welsh clothmaker, entrepreneur, mine-owner, goldsmith, banker and self-taught engineer. He was the driving force behind the construction of the New River, an ambitious engineering project to bring clean water into London. After the initial project, started by Edmund Colthurst in 1609, encountered financial difficulties, Myddelton helped fund the project through to completion, with the help of King James I. It was an extraordinary engineering feat for its time, involving the construction of channels, locks, and aqueducts, covering a distance of approximately 38 miles (61 km) and using gravity to transport the water. Completed in 1613, it became a crucial source of clean water for the city.
To commemorate Myddleton’s contribution to London’s water supply system, John Thomas was commissioned to create a sculpture made from Sicilian marble supported by a granite plinth on Islington Green and unveiled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Gladstone in 1862. The plinth is flanked by two putti with urns, which form part of a fountain. The statue depicts Myddelton in standing position, holding a map of the New River in one hand and a spade in the other, symbolizing his vision to bring clean water to London. On 29th September 2013 representatives of the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust and New River Action Group laid a wreath at the statue to mark the 400th anniversary of the opening of the New River.
The statue will be cleaned and poulticed to remove staining. All missing and damaged features to the face and head will be repaired to match the original appearance as closely as possible. All discoloured or failed cement repairs will be reinstated in the most appropriate materials. New push button taps will be installed within the base blocks providing fresh water once more to Islington’s community. HOLT has offered a grant of £15,000 towards this project.