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Midsomer Norton Society

Researching and appreciating our history

Influencing the present and future development of our town

Midsomer Norton Society

Researching and appreciating our history

Influencing the present and future development of our town

Contact us

History Tour

Diary & Events

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Midsomer Norton Society

Researching and appreciating our history

Influencing the present and future development of our town

Jubilee Lamp and Fountain

Probably lost for ever?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of all the Society's hopes, the return of the Jubilee Lamp and Fountain will perhaps be the most difficult to realise.

 

Members of the Midsomer Norton Society voted for this project's inclusion - and certainly finding the Jubilee Lamp is something akin to the Holy Grail for some older Nortonians who remember it.

 

Jubilee Lamp

 

The three-armed Jubilee Lamp in the Market Plan in Midsomer Norton was donated to the town by the Beauchamp family. The initial offer was actually made to the Council in 1895, at an estimated cost of £25. However, negotiations to reach agreement for its maintenance and erection was quite lengthy, and was not finalised until late in the Diamond Jubilee year of 1897. Originally operating on gas it is not known whether the Jubilee Lamp was converted to electricity.

 

Sadly the Lamp was removed in the 1950s to improve the flow of traffic through the town, shortly after the death of Sir Frank Beauchamp in 1950. At the time, Nortonians generally understood that the lamp was to be stored and reinstated by the Council when a suitable home could be found for it. Sadly the lamp allegedly languished in the Council’s yard for some years before 'disappearing'.

 

In recent years the question of what happened to the lamp standard has become the subject of much speculation and there have been several uncorroborated sightings. It is the ambition of the Society to either find the original or one day raise the funds for a copy to be made.

 

Jubilee Fountain

 

More is known about the Midsomer Norton Jubilee Fountain. One of the advantages of the installation of public water supply systems in the late 19th century was the opportunity to provide public drinking fountains.

 

In 1897, John Thatcher, proprietor of the Welton Brewery who lived in the Hollies, asked the Council to accept his gift of a fountain to the town “in commemoration of our Queen's Jubilee”. This was accepted with the assurance that the fountain “…shall be kept in good repair and condition, and also adequately supplied with water". To make room for the very ornate fountain, a short section of the end of the river, outside what is now Barons Estate Agents, was covered over and the footpath realigned.

 

The Council indeed took their responsibility very seriously and ‘four lads’ who were caught damaging the fountain in the following year were brought before the Council and cautioned by the Chairman in April 1898. Over the years the fountain was painted and renovated, and kept in working order. In 1935 it was moved into a different position and its brass taps were replaced by chrome. However, a few years later the Thatcher family was approached with a view to removing the fountain entirely on the basis that ‘it appears to have outlived the original purpose for which it was erected'.

 

A new “Puro” Pedestal Sanitary Drinking Fountain was purchased, including ‘chrome plated head with sand screen on galvanised pedestal base’ for £5.10.0 in November 1938, but this replacement does not seem to have remained very long.

 

In these days of vandalism, it is unlikely that any reinstated fountain today could survive – but it is a cherished desire of Society members to find out more about the Jubilee Fountain and maybe one day see it restored to the streetscape of the town.

 

 

Our Projects

River Somer Project

Streetscape Plan

Midsomer Norton Knight

Video Memories

St Chad's Well

Jubilee Lamp & Fountain

Vicarage Tunnel

Midsomer Norton Fair Day