Dane Park fountain could be revived with financial help from Southern Water.
The detailed structure is made of cast iron with two bowls, a female statue and decorations of pelicans, daffodils, cherubs in ships and riding dolphins and lion head masks. But water no longer flows in it and it has most recently been used as a flowerbed.
Dane Park was previously farmland until resident John Woodward bought it at an auction in 1895. Mr Woodward gifted the land to the people of Margate. Dane Park was opened by the Lord Mayor of London on June 1st 1898 and at that time had a lake, bridges, swans and peacocks, refreshment rooms and a bandstand.
The fountain was erected by the Corporation of Margate as a memorial to Mr Woodward after his death.
In 2016 Margate resident Frank Leppard launched a petition calling for the fountain to be brought back to its working order. But it has remained dry despite the backing of residents.
Now Southern Water is considering the possibility of stepping in to help and discussed the idea with Thanet councillors last week.
A Southern Water spokesperson said: “At the recent meeting held with councillors, Dane Park and the fountain were discussed as being one of our possible interventions – however, we are still in early discussions and are only at concept design.
“Over the coming weeks we will develop this idea further as well as liaising with other local groups and charities.”
Grandad-of-two and photographer Frank Leppard welcomed the news, saying: “After many years of dead ends trying to restore the Dane Park fountain , it’s totally amazing to hear that Southern Water may step up and help restore it to its former wonderous working order.
“At last our children and grandchildren will get to see it in its former glory just like us older generations have done. This could be the park’s jewel in the crown and no doubt inspire further efforts to make the park a joy to be in once more .
“The family of John Woodward will also be pleased as the fountain was a memorial to him for gifting the park to the people of Margate so a nice new plaque will be a must, thanks to Southern Water from everyone in Margate.”
Mr Woodward’s great-great-nephew, also called John Woodward, visited Dane Park last year to help plant cherry trees at the site
Margate councillor Rob Yates says he was first informed of the proposal to fund renovation of the fountain during a meeting with Southern Water last month where proposals including drainage interventions in schools, homes and businesses on the isle were discussed.
He said: “”Reinstating Dane Park fountain would mean a huge amount to the residents of Margate. Now Southern Water have committed to spending money elsewhere in Thanet, we need to ensure that they commit the funds now to get this project underway next year.”
Former Millmead councillor Gary Taylor said he was “really chuffed” with the proposal. He had previously supported Frank’s campaign..
He said: “Credit has to go to Frank Leppard for the campaign he started to save the Dane Park fountain. I emailed Southern Water when the company was first fined about 5 years ago as all the money went to central government and none went to Thanet council.
“It’s pleasing to see Cllr Yates has not given up on the matter with all the problems Southern Water has caused in Thanet and that something positive may now happen with the Dane Park fountain.”
just a smokescreen to distract from the sh*te they dump on our beaches
A very welcome idea indeed.
Does not make an iota of difference about our concerns for the continuing effluent dumping onto Thanet’s beaches and coastlines, or our anger.
Do not think for one second that this gesture would get you off the hook.
I bet the park looked fantastic when it had the lake , bridges and swans !
We need those back too (and a public toilet would be nice).
Looking for a new sewage storage place ?
what was the original water source for the fountain and lake?
There used to be a lake there until the late 1970’s. It still floods now with very heavy rain.
I remember the lake – just wondered its source – Tivoli Woods used to have a stream thats now underground and the woods still flood like Dane Park does
The old PR offensive is in overdrive the last couple of weeks.
It isn’t their PR. I was told about it a little while ago and have been chasing Southern Water for the details.
Their issues are hardly new-they have been on the charm offensive since they went to court last summer & admitted illegally dumping just to save money.
This is nothing but damage limitation. They have been doing these ‘we are on your side/kind & cuddly’ stories similar to the nauseatingly sickly sweets ads the banks run & running such adverts a lot in recent times. Also not a coincidence they are pushing it extra hard since the Surfers Against Sewage stuff came out a week or so back. Suddenly after chasing them they miraculously provide the details when more bad publicity hits.
Well, the people who want the fountain fixed are happy but I don’t think it is going to deflect the anger over sewage releases
Thank you Frank Leppard for sticking with this. I believe I am old enough to remember the lake and certainly the fountain.
Lets hope the locals don’t crap in it .
What’s the difference .
I might be tempted myself if they don’t reinstall toilets too… They should be of even greater priority than the fountain.
People put down the “colonial” Victorian era, but could you imagine a wealthy benefactor buying farmland and converting it into a public park these days?!
PARTY DANE PARK. most evenings
Free admission , Free water , Free hot curry .
Must leave a donation for Southern water.
It will be great if Southern Water do commit the money to repair/reinstate the fountain, but why hasn’t TDC done it already?
We moved to the area almost 7 years ago and I am (almost) sure that maybe five years back, that TDC cleared the “flower bed” that forms the circular base of the fountain, of soil with the intention of getting the fountain flowing – I think a sum of £16,000 was mentioned as being the amount to fix cracks in the circular base. but nothing seemed to have taken place.
The fountain is a piece of art that needs to be working properly and that is worthy of some of the money that TDC happily give to other “art” projects in the district.
Not sure if peter checksfield’s references to toilets include the ones in Dane Park, that used to have a sign on them that the key was available from The Kiosk – I’ve never seen anyone use the toilets, and of course whilst it’s good that the Kiosk owners hold (held?) the key, if the Kiosk isn’t open, then neither are the toilets…
I’ve never seen the sign in the (admittedly few) times I’ve been there, only the closed toilets!