Park fountain restored to its former glory

Alderman Paul Porter, Chairman of the Leisure and Community Development Committee with the new water fountain in Wallace Park.
Alderman Paul Porter, Chairman of the Leisure and Community Development Committee with the new water fountain in Wallace Park.

A 144-year-old French cast iron drinking fountain at Wallace Park, destroyed by vandals four months ago, has been restored to its former glory.

The historic piece that was significantly damaged in October was designed by Sir Richard Wallace in 1872.

Alderman Paul Porter, Chairman of the Council’s Leisure and Community Development Committee, with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council said: “It is great news that the council has successfully restored this fountain after it was senselessly vandalised.

“I would like to thank all the council staff and contractors for their part in this restoration project.

“The council would not like to see this fountain be subjected to any further anti-social vandalism and will be utilising the integrated CCTV system to monitor all of Wallace Park.

“I would like to encourage residents and visitors to the park to report any instances of anti-social behaviour to the PSNI.”

Councillor Alexander Redpath said that he was happy to see the restoration of the unique piece.

“I’m delighted to see the repair of the fountain in Wallace Park,” he said.

“The Wallace fountains occupy a very significant place in the history of both Lisburn and Paris.

“They are a testiment to the philanthropy of the Wallace family and I hope that the people of Lisburn will continue to enjoy them.

“The vandalism of these fountains was an absolute disgrace carried out by individuals presumably ignorant of their importance.”

The fountain was named after Sir Richard Wallace a wealthy English art collector, philanthropist and Member of Parliament for Lisburn, Northern Ireland from 1873 to 1885 before retiring in Paris.

When the Franco Prussian war damaged many of the aqueducts in Paris there remained little access to clean water for many of the most needy Parisians.

His solution to this problem was the erection of public drinking fountains.

The famous Caratyd drinking fountains were manufactured by the Val d’Osne Foundry from a work of art by the French sculptor, Charles-Auguste Lebourg, in 1872.

Sir Richard donated five fountains to his former parliamentary constituency at Lisburn in 1876.

They were placed at the junction of Market Place and Bow Street; in Market Square; Castle Gardens; at the junction of Seymour Street, Low Road and Millbrook; in Wallace Park.

During the war years three of the fountains were dismantled to accommodate the demand for metal to make armaments.

The attack of the fountain in October, was described by Alderman Paul Porter, as ‘senseless.’

He said, “The fountain represents a significant piece of history when Sir Richard presented fountains to Paris to commemorate the end of the Franco-Prussian War.

“The fact two of these fountains were displayed in Lisburn was a great honour for the people of the City.”