Portsmouth Fountain Revamped

Portsmouth's landmark city centre fountain has been re-opened after a major three-month restoration project.

The fountain, in Commercial Road, was built for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 and has been refurbished in time for the Diamond Jubilee next year.

It was officially switched back on by Cllr Mike Hancock.

The fountain was unveiled by Lord Mountbatten on 30 November 1977, but has been in need of a major overhaul for a number of years. The water was switched off several years ago after people kept putting washing up liquid in it which made the fountain foam up.

Last year the council decided to undertake a restoration project to make it operational again and restore its status as a major focal point for the city centre.

Equipment including pumps, jets, pipework and motors has been replaced and the eight heraldic animals around the structure, known as the Queen's beasts, have been repaired.

Cllr Hancock said:

"It's great to see the fountain working again and resuming its place as a landmark where people can meet and relax in a busy city centre. Everyone in Portsmouth knows the fountain and the Queen's beasts, and I'm glad it's once more a landmark to be proud of."

A specialist London plastics company worked on the beasts, which include a lion and a unicorn. They had suffered vandalism and wear and tear over the years, including at least one missing limb.

The stonework was cleaned using specialist techniques, to bring the structure back to near its original condition. Lighting has also been replaced and upgraded.

The project manager for the refurbishment work was Dave Eastwood, who was quantity surveyor on the original project to build the fountain 34 years ago.

"It was a special moment for me to see the fountain working again," he said. "It was one of the first projects I was involved with when I joined the council in the 70s.

"We've worked very hard on getting the beasts looking their best. It's great to see them restored and the fountain operating again."

The work was done by Colas, the council's highways contractor. Louis Ledoux, Colas's business manager, said:

"We're delighted to have completed the refurbishment work to the fountain and to have brought it back to its former glory.

"It was a privilege for us to have been awarded the project by the council, so it can be enjoyed by all."

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