The Richard Passmore Edwards Memorial Fountain 1895

John Passmore Edwards’ brother, Richard, was a member of the Hammersmith Vestry from May 1885 until his death on 19 February 1894. He served on various Committees and was a prime mover in the movement to establish a public library in Hammersmith. Shortly after his death Passmore Edwards wrote to the Vestry offering to erect in the Broadway a drinking fountain “to cost at least £500, in memory of his brother. 
The Works Committee recommended that the offer be accepted with thanks and The West London Observer, 6 July 1895 reported that, after laying the foundation stone of the new library at Shepherds Bush, Mr J Passmore Edwards and the company proceeded to the Broadway where Mr Passmore Edwards unveiled the drinking fountain. It was erected by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association and cost about £600. It was of polished Cornish granite and surmounted by a lamp of 350 candle power.

The drinking fountain, sited in the centre of a busy thoroughfare, was soon considered a danger. In June 1910 after an inquest on a child run over in the Broadway, the coroner wrote to the council about the fountain’s “dangerous attraction to children for water”. The widening of the Broadway for the construction of the London County Council’s tramway meant that the fountain had to be removed.
To accommodate the new tramway route it was proposed to move the fountain to Wormholt Park in the north of the Borough but, at the request of the family of Richard Passmore Edwards, it was moved to Ravenscourt Park in January 1912. The fountain was erected directly in front of Ravenscourt Library but complaints of noise and nuisance caused by children using the fountain resulted in the water supply being disconnected and the drinking cups removed, despite the protests of the Edwards family. 
Ravenscourt Library was severely damaged by inendary bombs in January 1941 and was subsequently demolished. It is most likely that the drinking fountain suffered the same fate.

Posted in Gardens Fountains.

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