Fountain restoration still under way

The historical fountain lamp post in Rondebosch is penned for restoration after it was knocked over by a motorist last year.

Plans are still under way to restore Rondebosch’s historic fountain, which was badly damaged two years ago when a motorist crashed into it.

The fountain incorporated the country’s first electric street lamp.

Ward 59 councillor Ian Iversen said the fountain would be restored to its former glory before the end of the year, thanks to a duplicate of it in Campground Road Mowbray, which will be used to model and restore the broken one.

Last year Mr Iversen appealed to the public to send in pictures of the fountain to aid the restoration (“Hope for landmark Rondebosch,” 28 April 2016)

The City’s environmental and heritage management branch meanwhile tracked down the original foundry in Scotland where the fountain was made and which still had some of the original artwork used for it.

However, Mr Iversen said that replicating parts of the Mowbray fountain to restore the Rondebosch one would be a cheaper option.

“The horse fountain in Campground Road, Mowbray, was a duplicate of the Rondebosch fountain. Therefore it has been easier to dismantle the statue and use it to recreate the missing and destroyed parts of the fountain,” said Mr Iversen.

The restored fountain would be repositioned and the traffic island revamped to prevent a repeat of the 2015 incident.

Mr Iverson said he hoped to open the fountain before the end of the year with an appropriate ceremony.

The fountain is steeped in history and was initially put up for the SPCA as a drinking trough for horses in the late 1800s by George Pigot Moodie, the owner of Westbrooke, which is now the president’s official residence in Cape Town.

He erected the first street lamp in South Africa combined as a horse watering trough and it became the well-known landmark at the intersection of Belmont Road with the Main Road.

In 2012 it began to deteriorate and rust very badly, but the Rondebosch Ratepayers and Business Association, together with Anthony Davies, of the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID), got together to restore the fountain which was then sandblasted and treated to a coat of paint and water-wise indigenous garden.

The repairs cost R40 000 then.

Just how much it will cost to repair the fountain this time is still unknown, according to Brett Herron, the mayoral committee member for transport and urban development. He said a heritage specialist was still assessing the cost.

“New mouldings will have to be created for the smashed parts since none exist any longer. These parts will then need to be re-cast by a specialist and the whole reassembled. We have recovered one of the horse legs and several residents have sent in photos of various parts of the fountain which we are grateful for,” said Mr Herron.