Fountain restoration bid launched by residents

An impression of what the reinstated fountain in Wooler would look like.
An impression of what the reinstated fountain in Wooler would look like.

Wooler residents have launched a bid to bring back and restore an elaborate fountain that once stood in the heart of the village.

Questions were raised about the whereabouts of the old fountain – which stood in the market square before it was demolished in 1970 – after old photographs of it were posted on the Wooler and district memories for all Facebook page.

Group administrator Ursula Murray said: “It started with photographs on the site - people were saying where has it gone, what happened to it?

“I’m in Rothbury now, but even every time I go back to Wooler, it doesn’t feel right without it.”

Erected in memory of William Wightman, an official of the Parish Guardians who was responsible for laying on a proper water supply in Wooler in the 19th century, the fountain was once an elaborate, decorated Gothic-style structure in pink polished granite and sandstone, which stood proudly in the centre of the village.

A postcard from around 1890 shows the fountain in situ with railings around. When these were replaced by seats, the fountain became a recognised meeting-point for the people of Wooler.

“Both my grandfathers used to sit and smoke their pipes by the fountain, people would congregate there and chat, everybody did,” Ursula said.

But in the severe winter of 1966, cracks appeared in the pillars and Glendale Council made inquiries as to who owned the fountain. On discovering that no one did, they decided, in 1970, to have it demolished so that the road could be widened.

All that remains today is a plaque, set in the wall by a little roadside garden.