Woolhampton’s drinking fountain was presented to the village (which is on the A4 halfway between Reading and Newbury) by Miss Charlotte Blyth, a member of the family who owned the Woolhampton estate at the time, to mark the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. The inscription on the wall inside says “Righteousness Exalteth a Nation. Victoria R.I. Diamond Jubilee 1897”.
The cost of the fountain was £300 and the site was donated by George Frankum. Mr Newman of Sandown in the Isle of Wight designed the fountain. The water source was a 160 feet deep artesian well sunk by Edward Margrett of Reading, and T James of Midgham carried out the building work and laid the water mains.
Apart from the fountain, the village also benefited from other water supply improvements. There was a new trough for horses and another for dogs and sheep as well as two new standpipes outside the Falmouth Arms public house and Crescent cottages [ref 1].
Behind the fountain are the remains of a pump and the place where a trough had stood until at least the 1980s. This trough had been presented in 1887 by Rev Dugald Campbell Gill Campbell and Elizabeth Mary Gill Campbell (his sister) and was moved from its original (unknown) position in 1897 [ref 2].
Miss Blyth appears to have originally intended the drinking fountain and the trough to be placed in front of the Gill Campbell Memorial Hall rather than its current location at the junction of Station and Bath Road. Berkshire County Council had granted permission for this earlier in the year [ref 3].
The drinking fountain is Grade II listed (1117264). Unfortunately it is not in working order although otherwise well maintained.
- Mercury 20 November 1897 p6. The Falmouth Arms closed in 2014 and has been converted to flats. The location of Crescent cottages is unknown.
- Trigg, John and Dollin, Phil (1989). Before the Fountain: A view of Victorian Woolhampton and Midgham
- Mercury 1 May 1897 p2. The Gill Campbell Memorial Hall is now a private house.