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Jubilee Fountain

The Jubilee Fountain was built in 1887 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Prior to that the public water supply consisted of a village pump at the bridge, which was likely to fail during dry periods. There were a number of surface wells, containing water whose quality was suspect, and a number of deep wells whose water was more satisfactory. The well at Wootton Common was 404 feet deep, but was said to be little used.

As the village began to grow in numbers, action was needed. An independent water supply was first mooted in 1877. The scheme then proposed would have cost £500, with the owner of the water to receive £10 per annum.

The scheme eventually carried out was the idea of the local builder, William Please. He approached the steward of the Holford Estate. Mr Holford was evidently impressed for he donated the land and water as well as cash. A committee was set up to raise funds for the work through voluntary donations.

Picture of The Jubilee Fountain
The Jubilee Fountain, Wootton High Street

A reservoir with a capacity of 1800 gallons was created in the meadows to the west of New Road, at the upper end of what is now Creek View Estate. The water was led from a bed of sand and gravel, by two sets of pipes into a catch pit, and thence into the reservoir. The water was then piped, via 2 inch diameter Dr. Smith's patent iron pipes to the fountain, which was erected in the High Street, opposite the entrance to New Road. The fountain was designed by Thomas Chatfield Clarke of Oakfield, in Station Road. The right hand side, with a bowl was for drinking from, the other side for filling buckets. The pipes were continued from the Fountain to the village, with a T piece opposite each house, for laying on water. The yearly charge was 5 shillings [25 pence - 1971] for domestic users and 10 shillings for businesses.

Picture of The Jubilee Fountain
The Jubilee Fountain Re-built

The total length of the pipes was 385 yards, around 200 meters. The scheme cost £125, which was paid for by subscribers. The subscribers continued as a Trust, to administer the water supply for many years. Water was gradually laid on to more houses over the years, and paid for by a water rate, decided by the committee. By 1896 members were concerned about the fact that the water was supplied from the Holford Estate, it could in theory, be cut off at any time. A new Trust was set up and steps were taken to obtain a deed giving the company greater security.1

Around the end of the century a Local Government Act vested control of water supplies in the Council, but it was evidently some time before it was implemented 2 The mains and sewers were being extended gradually. Inevitably as the village grew so the demand for more water on the existing supplies placed a severe strain on resources.

The fountain was demolished in 1966 and stored at the rear of No. 80 High Street. The local council were not prepared to spend money on it and so the Jubilee Fountain can now been seen re-erected in the front garden.

1. Isle of Wight County Press 1896
2. MOH Annual report 1897

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:29

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Wootton Walk leaflet

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