Thursday, February 14, 2008

Victoria Square ... Jaffe Fountain returns home

Update - Thu 6 Mar - Victoria Square's now open.

(c) BBC - image of construction traffic parked on pedestrianised Ann Street

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.

Jaffe Fountain returned to Victoria Square from Botanic Gardens

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 ...

Mikey Wikey's Flickr photo of the Jaffe Fountain in Botanic gardens before being moved back to Victoria Square

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.

(Thanks to Mikey Wikey for use of his Flickr image of the Jaffe Fountain in Botanic Gardens.)

And here's what it will look like when all the fencing and constructional dross is moved away.

Mock-up of  Jaffe fountain back in place in Victoria Square

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).


Phil O'Kane said...

Glad I finally know the name of this. I noticed it was gone when I got back from holiday in sept and was pleased to see there earlier in the week.

I love it.

Timothy Belmont said...

An historic feature of Belfast is finally returned to its roots. Smart car colours too for the 21st century :-)


L said...

Thanks for the great information! I'm so pleased to know this. Can't wait to walk by it tomorrow during my weekly jaunt to St. George's.


Miffy said...

Thanks for the info on this. I saw it on Friday while walking past and wondered what it was

gus mathews said...

We will be in Belfast on our annuaql visit from California where we have lived for 48 years, we can hardly wait to see tge cenrte finished, thank you for the information on the fountain.

Gus Mathews

Anonymous said...

Followed the link - I'm sure they've got the date of the move to Botanic Gardens wrong. I lived near where it used to be when I was a kid so it was definitely there before 1993... 1973 might be closer to the mark.

dr. adder said...

Hi Alan,
thanks for your input to my blog post and it's great to see the fountain returned to its rightful position - I hope it will also be returned to full working order. I really do miss the public drinking fountains that abounded in the city centre when I was a child. viz: Titanic Memorial,Thomas Thompson Fountain (by the BBC), and the one in Custom House Square, whose name I've forgotten but which has recently been renovated along with flowing water (though I don't know whether or not it is drinkable). I am also old enough to remember horses drinking from the trough - these horses where used to assist in pulling coal carts up the steep hill in front of Telfords ship chandler.

Anonymous said...

my name is damien smith and it was my father who saved the victoria fountain from being scraped. it was documented in the belfast telegragh back in the 60s or early 70s, i am not sure of the actual dates maybe someone could help find the article of the time printed in the belfast telegraph.his name was hugh g. smith. my contact address is hope someone can help me. damien smith.

rufus said...

i will have to visit belfast and see it. i always feel like any restoration of historical buildings and monuments is not about living in the past but is way of keeping the past alive. if people do not remember the past and learn from it they are doomed to repeat it. im glad about it being put back it is the right thing to do.