St Sepulchre's Drinking Fountain

Restoration of the drinking fountain

St Sepulchre’s Fountain was the first public drinking fountain in London. It was built into the railings of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate Church on Holborn Hill and opened in 1859. Its funding came from Samuel Gurney, MP, co-founder of the ‘Metropolitan Drinking Fountain Association’ - later the ‘Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association’ and today the Drinking Fountain Association. The St Sepulchre’s fountain was opened to great fanfare and became very popular.

The fountain originally had an elaborate Neo-Norman surround but this was dismantled when it was moved nearby in 1867. The smaller, inner part of the fountain was relocated back to its original place in 1913, where it remains. The granite base of the fountain is set into the coping stones of the brick dwarf wall. Two granite columns support the upper semi-circular granite arch. The fountain is lined with two marble panels, the upper a scallop shell, the lower reading “The first Metropolitan drinking fountain erected on Holborn Hill 1859 and removed when the viaduct was constructed in 1867”. The fountain’s original copper cups survive, chained to the railings.

The fountain’s missing spout will be replaced, the fountain will be cleaned and repaired and water restored.

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