Clifton Memorial Fountain
The Memorial Fountain in Sparrow Park plantation was given to the town in 1883 by Lady Eleanor Cecily Clifton in memory of her husband, John Talbot Clifton of Lytham Hall, who had died the previous year in Algiers.
The fountain stood originally in the Market Square in front of the Market Hall. In those days there were no gardens or railings in front of the Market Hall, only an open space edged with trees. The site had been chosen so that people could walk straight up to the fountain to drink, and there is a lower trough for horses and dogs.
The Blackpool Herald newspaper of Friday 20 April 1883 carried a detailed report of the presentation ceremony “THE CLIFTON MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN AT LYTHAM”. During the ceremony, “Lady Clifton and one of her little granddaughters then turned on the water, of which a number of those present drank.”
Public appreciation for Lady Clifton’s generous gift soon waned. The fountain’s appearance and prominent position and its poor maintenance soon gave rise to frequent complaints from local residents and traders. Eventually the Squire gave permission for the fountain to be moved, and in 1909 it was carefully dismantled and moved to the plantation.
The Clifton Memorial Fountain was designed by Richard Knill Freeman FRIBA of Bolton and is Grade 2 listed. It is built mainly of sandstone (from Slaithwaite quarries) and English oak, and has an upper shelter with a red tiled roof supported by four oak pillars. Surmounting the carved piers is a carved wooden frieze with an inscription reading:
ELEANOR CECILY CLIFTON ERECTED THIS FOUNTAIN IN MEMORY OF HER HUSBAND JOHN TALBOT CLIFTON WHO DIED AT HAMMAN RHEA ALGIERS APRIL 16TH 1882. ‘TIS WELL ‘TIS SOMETHING WE MAY STAND WHERE HE IN ENGLISH EARTH IS LAID
(From Tennyson’s In Memoriam.)
Since it was moved to the plantation, the fountain has never been reconnected to a water supply.