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Fountain could stand again in town square

An old postcard showing the fountain in the centre of Wooler.

An old postcard showing the fountain in the centre of Wooler.

Original parts of the nineteenth century Wooler fountain could form part of a reconstruction if tests show the stones are salvageable.

Much of the fountain, which stood in the market square until it was demolished in 1970, is missing.

But some remains, including four pillars and the fountain top, have been found in St Mary’s churchyard, where the curate of the time carried them to keep them safe.

At the first meeting of the Wooler Fountain Project - set up in a bid resurrect the monument - local builder Bob Fairnington volunteered to arrange tests to see if it was feasible to reuse the stones.

Over 50 people attended last month’s meeting to discuss the project, which has gathered pace since interest was first expressed on the Wooler and District memories for all facebook page.

It was decided to push forward with a plan to resurrect the fountain in the garden at the Market Place, and a committee has been formed with a view to securing funding and carrying out the necessary research.

President Ursula Murray said: “The fountain was the heart of the town that everyone remembers, and we would like to see it resurrected for the people of Wooler.

“It’s going to be a long haul, but if we could get it back that would be wonderful.”

Project chair Wendy Hogg told the meeting that a village report commissioned a few years ago by the now defunct One North East had found that the Market Place “lacked a focal point”.

“The report also found the market place was not meeting its full potential,” she said.

Plans for a new fountain had been drawn up at the time by David Abercrombie, who also identified planning and traffic implication.

It was agreed that the next step was to find out who the land belongs to. Potential sources of funding were also discussed.

The original fountain - an elaborately decorated Gothic-style structure - was erected in 1870 in memory of William Wightman, an official of the Parish Guardians who was responsible for laying on a proper water supply in nineteenth century Wooler.

The monument stood proudly in the centre of the village until cracks appeared in the pillars following the severe winter of 1966, and on discovering that no one owned the structure, Glendale Council decided in 1970 to have it demolished.

The next meeting of the Wooler Restoration Project will take place in the Angel Inn at 7pm on Sunday, March 23.

 

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