Drive through Stanmore too fast and you will miss it. Next time you are walking through Great Stanmore take a look at the bowl of the drinking fountain situated on a small green in front of St. Johns church.
This is the stone bowl of a drinking fountain donated to the people of Stanmore by Agnes Keyser. She was close friend of King Edward VII and along with her sister Fanny founded the King Edward VII hospital in Beaumont Street St. Marylebone London, for soldiers wounded in the Boer war.
It originally had a large ornate central lamp on a column,the lower part contained a water trough as well as the fountain and was positioned most prominently on Stanmore Hill at the junction with Green Lane. The second photo was taken during the First World War and shows the fountain complete with lamp in situ on Stanmore Hill. The soldier and sailor in the photo have since been identified as C. Holland and A. Brinkman two local lads coming home for a spot of leave from the services.
The need for drinking clean fresh water is always very important, and no one knew that better than Agnes's brother who was none other than Charles Edward Keyser, a local man who lived in Warren House on Stanmore Hill. After the Typhoid epidemic that swept London in the 1860’s Charles was actively involved with the purification of water to make it fit for drinking, and in 1873 founded the ‘Colne Valley Water Company’. Its aim was to provide fresh clean drinking water to London an the surrounding areas and he became a director and its first chairman.
No longer plumbed in as a working drinking fountain, the bowl is often replanted with different flowers during the year, providing a pleasant eye catching display.
Or join our Facebook group "Stanmore Middx. Past & Present"