Monday 3 February 2014

The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain & Cattle Trough Association strike again ... on South Ealing Road ...

Do you remember the other day how I got very excited about a water fountain on Ealing Common?

Ealing Common Drinking Fountain

Well, as I was sitting in a traffic jam on the South Ealing Road yesterday, I saw another one. This time it  had been donated by the good folk of the Parish, and maintained thereafter by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain & Cattle Trough Association. I'm not an expert, but I'd say it had been intended for the quadrupeds to use. What do you reckon?

I'd say it was pitched at the bovine/ equine end of the market, but, as we don't get many of them passing through these days, the Council have decided to use it as an impromptu flower pot. Indeed their wallflowers seem to be growing very nicely in it, thank you.

 I got out of my car for a better look, and was touched to read the inscription:

 "This cattle trough and the fountain opposite were erected by the Parishioners of Ealing in memory of Jane Margaret Walpole, eldest daughter of the Rt. Hon. Spencer Horatio Walpole MP. A simple life of piety and good works endeared her to the hearts of all."

 The drinking fountain, which is rather splendid, is just a few steps further down the road, built into the wall of St. Mary's churchyard.

I was intrigued by Jane Margaret, and went home to look for her on the internet.

It would appear that she died young, at the age of just 38 in 1874. She never married, and lived with her father here in Ealing. He was a bit of a mover shaker, having served three terms as Home Secretary, but she must have quietly lived her life in his shadow, helping out where she could and impressing her neighbours with her kindness.

 I go up and down this road almost every day I'm in London, and I've never taken any notice of either the fountain or the trough before, but I imagine if I'd been living here in the late nineteenth century with no clean water piped into my home, and a thirsty horse to get me into town I'd have been paying a lot more attention. I might even have felt grateful that Jane Margaret's memorial was something useful rather than another stone angel in the local cemetery.

 Anyway, enough whimsy.

Happy Monday!

Bonny x

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