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
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
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
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.
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
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.