Historic Sunderland fountain restored

Friends of Roker Park representative Sylvia Thompson looks over the restored water fountain in the park.

Friends of Roker Park representative Sylvia Thompson looks over the restored water fountain in the park.

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A DRINKING fountain has been restored to its former glory.

The structure – allocated grade II listing in 1984 to protect it from work done without permission – in part commemorates 17 acres of land given to the city by the Hedworth Williamson family for recreational purposes.

An inscription on the south side of the central column reads: “Erected by the scholars, teachers and friends of Sunday Schools in Sunderland to commemorate the celebration of the centenary of Sunday Schools and the opening of Roker Park June 23 1880.”

The unveiling was attended by Sylvia Thompson, who represented the Friends of Roker Park.

She said: “We have been trying to get the fountain restored for a very long time and all of a sudden it has happened, which is very impressive.”

The event was also witnessed by the three St Peter’s ward representatives on Sunderland City Council, who had backed the conservation project.

“It is great to see this work completed, and to see the restoration of features that have been missing for years,” said Coun Graham Hall.

“It has been a project that has involved five different council departments and the Secretary of State as it is a listed building.

“Congratulations should be given to the council’s Conservation Officers who co-ordinated the project.”

Coun Lilian Walton said: “It is an excellent job. We have been campaigning for its restoration for 13 years.”

Coun Steve Bonallie added: “It is really good to see many of the fountain’s features restored to the condition that they were when it was opened in 1880.”

The restoration was carried out by Wearside stonemason Kevin Foster and his colleague Phillip Mason, from Darlington.

Kevin said: “I am pleased to have carried out the work, as I live locally and this is literally on my doorstep.”