Update - Thu 6 Mar - Victoria Square's now open.
Yesterday, news reports told the story of lots of parking tickets being issued to vehicles belonging to contractors working on the new Victoria Square centre but parked on the surrounding pedestrianised streets of Belfast. Today, Ann Street and Cormarket were noticeably clear of vans, pickup trucks and cars – with lots of them squeezed into alley ways and even behind boarded up shop fronts within the cordoned off building area. Wonder how long the inconvenience of parking like that will continue – particularly with fairly tight deadlines to get Victoria Square fitted out and open in March 2008.
But today there was another big change on site. A fountain arrived. Not a new one.
The Jaffe Fountain began life in the 1870s in Victoria Square, Belfast. It was moved out of the city centre and up to Botanic Gardens in 1993. Update - actually might have moved up in the early 1980s. Or maybe 1933? But today it was returned back to its home in Victoria Square. And there's another one the same in Limerick.
As the Belfast Telegraph explained on Tuesday ...
The fountain was made in 1874 by George Smith & Company at the Sun Foundry in Glasgow. It was first sited in Victoria Square before being moved to Botanic Gardens.
There was some sadness to see it leave south Belfast but on the other hand it will be better in its original location at Victoria Square with the many thousands of visitors and shoppers every week being able to see it.
It is a great link to Belfast’s history and the role of the Jaffe family. Daniel Joseph Jaffe was born in Mecklenburg, Schwerin, northern Germany on August 19, 1809. He laid the foundation stone of the synagogue in Great Victoria Street. He died in Nice on January 21, 1874, and was buried in the Jewish plot at Belfast Cemetery.
Daniel Joseph’s son, Otto Jaffe, was elected as a city councillor in 1894, and was elected as Belfast’s first Lord Mayor in 1899 (the first incumbent of the title ‘Lord’). He was knighted after his first term and re-elected as Lord Mayor in 1904. Sir Otto died in 1929, and was cremated in London.
And here's what it will look like when all the fencing and constructional dross is moved away.
And check out Gerry Ward's photo of how the fountain originally looked in Victoria Square and the discussion over on Belfast Forum.
Update - Friday 29 Feb - Belfast Telegraph ran an article about the restored fountain (complete with a photo).