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St Lawrence Jewry Fountain reinstated after 40 years

Situated outside St Paul’s Cathedral, the St Lawrence Jewry Fountain has finally been returned to perfect working order, having been dismantled 40 years ago.

Sculpted by artist Joseph Durham and erected in 1866, but removed as part of the redevelopment of the Guildhall, the fountain was dismantled into approximately 150 pieces and placed in storage during the 1970s. This iconic structure has now been restored, transported and reassembled under the supervision of restoration and conservation experts, Freeland Rees Roberts Architects, of Cambridge.

The project is part of a wider sustainability initiative by the City of London Corporation, which involves returning the provision of free drinking water to the City.  Martin Farr, Chairman of the Planning & Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, says: “It is such a sense of achievement to be able to restore this landmark fountain to its former glory and at the same time to reinstate amenities for workers, residents and visitors to the City.”

Freeland Rees Roberts Architects became involved in the project after working with the City of London on the conservation and relocation of Temple Bar to Paternoster Square, in 2004. This is when they first saw and assessed the condition of the Fountain stones stored in pallets in a barn in Epping. Henry Freeland, of Freeland Rees Roberts Architects, says “Although the stones were numbered it was still a challenge to dry-build the Fountain at stonemason CWO’s workshop.  It was a puzzle to put it together and we had to look at drawings and old photographs to finalise some of the junctions and details.”

Works on the Fountain started in 2009 at CWO’s workshop to agree repairs, conservation, cleaning methods and carving details and it then took four months to erect the Fountain on-site. After nearly 40 years, the water has started to flow once again over the copper relief and a new drinking fountain is now available for the public in the heart of the City.

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