The remains

Park Avenue Fountain lies in pieces


On Monday, 6 November, at 3.00 pm, the Avenues Fountain Rescue team, led by Harry Atkinson, had a meeting with Paul Ashton at the Hull City Council Stepney Lane depot to view the broken pieces of the Park Avenue fountain.

As can be seen from the photos, the main bowl is largely intact, but most of the other features — the mermaids, the herons, various leaves, are in so many pieces (perhaps 100) that it would be difficult to put them back together again.

It seemed clear that the easiest way to make moulds for a replacement would be to use features on the Westbourne Avenue fountain as a starting point.

One of the mermaids seemed to be entirely missing.

The Avenues Association is very grateful for the generous help provided by Mr Ashton in explaining the current state of play concerning the prospects for replacing the fountain(s).

The Pearson Park Arch

Martyn Chalk remembers an unhappy incident

Pearson Park gates - Civic vandalism

The present delay in replacing the Park Avenue Fountain has reminded me that I witnessed an act of civic vandalism when the Pearson Park archway was `made safe` at some point in the seventies.

The cast iron grand arch, which is the eastern gateway to Pearson Park, consists of a large central archway with two side pillars forming smaller pedestrian entrances. A central `trophy` of flags ropes and anchors flanked by two urns originally surmounted the main archway. The side pillars also carried urns. (The side urns and the decorative iron gates had already been removed by the time we moved to Hull in January 1967). In its current state all that remains are the arch and the pillars but the original positions of the decorative features of the arch are indicated by the black sheet metal hoods, which have been fitted to keep out the rain.

For eight years from summer 1968 we lived in a flat overlooking the arch and although I cannot recall the exact date I witnessed how the City Council removed the two urns and central trophy.

The urn from the northern end of the arch fell into Pearson Avenue in the early hours of one morning and struck a parked grey Austin A30 van. This was presumably reported to the police and to the council as later the same morning a City Engineer's truck with a cherry picker arm arrived at the Pearson Park side of the arch.

The arm was raised and there was inspection of the structure. This was what one might expect to happen but the next stage was shocking: a cable was looped around the remaining urn and the other end attached to the truck, which then drove away pulling the urn to the ground. The urn shattered.

I rang the Guildhall and spoke to someone in the City Engineer's Department (whose name I did not note but who had a Scottish accent. Perhaps someone can identify him?). He told me that `The Council have a duty to make the arch safe`. I pointed out that destruction was a very rough way of approaching this duty but received no response. Later I found a small portion of a decorative leaf from the destroyed urn, which had been left in the gutter when the rest was removed. The fragment is still in my toolbox.

Subsequently the trophy was also removed and the sheet metal covers added (although I did not witness this). It would be interesting to discover where and how the removed elements are stored, as they are important in the restoration of the arch which should be included in the proposed refurbishment of the Park.

It is to my great regret that I did not pursue the matter further at the time.

Martyn Chalk
26 November 2000

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