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Drinking Fountain

The Essex County Council Newland Street Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan described the park with an 'ornamental wall-mounted drinking fountain by S. Gambier Parry dated 1913. It recommended that the conservation area boundary be extended to include these important open spaces’.

 

Originally called ‘The Recreation Ground’ and latterly ‘Maldon Road Park’ it became ‘Witham Town Park’ when Braintree District Council, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, refurbished the park in 2008/9.

 

Maurice Smith recorded in the 1960s ‘Entries in school log books can point to events that took place in the town. This example is taken from the log book of the National Girls School: '1913. October 22nd. Today at 3 o'clock all the children were marched to the recreation ground to witness the unveiling of the new fountain. They sang 'Rule Britannia' and then the fountain was unveiled by Miss Laurence. We then returned to school and resumed ordinary lessons.' The drinking fountain inscription can still be read:

 

THIS FOUNTAIN IS TO COMMEMORATE THE GIFT OF THE RECREATION GROUND TO THE PARISHIONERS OF WITHAM IN THE YEAR 1901 BY ONE WHO WISHED TO BE KNOWN AS THE VICAR'S FRIEND.

It was not until the 1930s that the donor was revealed as Tom Motion of Faulkbourne Hall.

 

The drinking fountain was restored together with the refurbishment of the adjoining wall and many other improvements in the 2008/9 by Braintree District Council enhancement programme, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.

 

Sources: Witham & Countryside Society Bulletins; Janet Gyford; Maurice Smith.

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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