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Centenary celebration for historic Folkestone fountain at the centre of pensioner's 'ASBO row' with council


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A run-down fountain at the centre of a pensioner's 'ASBO' row with the local council has now been renovated.

History enthusiast Robert Mouland was slapped with a written warning by council officers after he attempted to preserve the Grade II listed Sidney Cooper Weston drinking fountain in Folkestone.

Robert Mouland worked on the Sidney Cooper Weston Fountain to help protect it from further decline. Picture: Cllr Mary Lawes
Robert Mouland worked on the Sidney Cooper Weston Fountain to help protect it from further decline. Picture: Cllr Mary Lawes

The cast-iron structure had fallen into disrepair, so Mr Mouland took it upon himself to restore and paint it, without permission of Folkestone and Hythe District Council.

Following a public outcry after the warning in September 2020, the council announced it would work with Mr Mouland to finish his project.

Now the fountain has been given an officially-sanctioned paint job, and the area around it at the junction of Wear Bay Crescent and Wear Bay Road has been spruced up.

To mark the centenary of the fountain's relocation to its current site in 1922 a celebration will be held there from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Saturday, May 21.

Cllr Mary Lawes, who has arranged the event with Mr Mouland, said: "Following on from Bob Mouland’s antisocial behaviour 'written warning' things have moved on in a good way.

Robert Mouland painting the Sidney Cooper Weston Fountain in Folkestone. Picture: Cllr Mary Lawes
Robert Mouland painting the Sidney Cooper Weston Fountain in Folkestone. Picture: Cllr Mary Lawes

"Folkestone and Hythe District Council had the top of the fountain painted.

"I spoke to them about what we wanted the council to do. I asked them to remove some of the hedges to open up the garden more, to clean up the tarmac on the pavements, to rewire the lights, they got new lamp shades made. The park is looking amazing."

A former East Kent bus company Guy Arab double decker will ferry guests to the celebration free of charge, departing from the bus stop in Middelburg Square at 2.15pm and returning after the event.

The fountain was erected in 1897 in commemoration of Sidney Cooper Weston, a local professional photographer, temperance advocate and philanthropist.

It first stood at the junction of the Leas and West Terrace to provide drinking water to the public and the horses of hansom cab drivers, then in 1922 the fountain was moved to its current location to allow for the erection of the town's war memorial.

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