Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Fountain – 60 Years – Manchester, UK
Posted by: dtrebilc
N 53° 28.788 W 002° 14.700
30U E 550104 N 5925911
Quick Description: This hexagonal fountain in Albert Square was erected to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, later moved to Heaton Park, and 100 years after it was erected was moved back to Albert Square.
Location: Northwest England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/2/2012 8:33:19 AM
Waymark Code: WME4F0
In the 1890s Manchester had erected a number of fountains, both decorative and drinking. It was felt by some that Albert Square, outside the Manchester Town Hall would also be a suitable place for a fountain.
Nothing happened however until anonymous benefactor donated money for a fountain. It celebrated both Queen Victoria’s 60th year on the throne, but also the arrival of a new source of drinking water from Thirlmere in the Lake District.
Many towns celebrated Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. This public square outside the town hall already had a number of statues of historic figures, including a large monument to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s beloved consort. It was therefore felt a fountain would add to the grandeur of the square.
The aqueduct from Thirlmere (mostly buried under the ground) is 96miles log and the country’s longest gravity-fed water supply.
The stone fountain has a number of gargoyles around its circumference but sitting proudly on top is a bronze ‘dolphin’. I suspect the sculptor John Cassidy had never seen a dolphin, or somebody else equally ignorant of dolphin biology called it a dolphin.
It is rather fish like and has scales, and is .75 metres high. John Cassidy was an Irish sculptor who had studied at Manchester School of Art and won prizes both locally and nationally. He remained in Manchester for the rest of his life and was well regarded locally.
At the time of the Jubilee Fountain he had already made many fine public sculptures, although mainly human. I can’t see how he could have got a dolphin so badly wrong, but it is well sculpted and I’m sure this design was deliberate, if rather badly named. http://www.johncassidy.org.uk/works.html
The fountain was not well received by the public who thought that it made Albert Square too crowded, and it was moved to Heaton Park in the 1920’s. This site was appropriate because this is where the water from Thirlmere arrives into Manchester.
However in later years Albert Square was redeveloped and opened up into a much bigger public space. The fountain was then returned to its original sit in 1997, 100 years after it was originally erected.
There is an inscription on the six sides of the fountain that reads as follows.
ERECTED IN THE SIXTIETH
YEAR OF THE REIGN OF HER
MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY
QUEEN VICTORIA ANNO
DOMINI EIGHTEEN HUNDRED
AND NINETY SEVEN