‘Bucket fountain’ listed, but relocation still an option says developer

The 'bucket fountain'

Liverpool-based developer Elliot Group has today welcomed news that Historic England has listed the famous ‘bucket fountain’ which it owns alongside its Beetham Plaza asset.

But group founder Elliot Lawless said the sculpture could still be relocated as part of its development plans.

He said: “We’re proud to own such a wonderful piece of Liverpool heritage. It’s got a fascinating back-story and is a unique piece of engineering.

“We entirely respect Historic England’s ruling, but listing does not, of itself, preclude the fountain from being moved to a more prominent location where more people can enjoy it.”

He added: “We’re still considering that option and are discussing two possible sites with the council. There’s quite a bit of work to do in that regard and I have a team of heritage consultants advising me.

“In the meantime, I’m hoping that this news will encourage more people to come and see and enjoy it in its current setting.

“Residents in Beetham Plaza and others in the area have long complained that it can attract anti-social behaviour and so more visitors will help eliminate that sort of nuisance.

“We’ll also begin a programme of maintenance and improvement to the fountain, as we take our role as custodian very seriously.”

In April this year Elliot Group announced it had paused its £15m hotel proposals for the site after a backlash over relocating the fountain.

It asked Liverpool City Council not to register its planning submission for the redevelopment of Beetham Plaza until a Heritage England assessment of the unique feature was complete.

It had proposed to move Richard Huws’s ‘bucket fountain’ – claimed to be the last of its type in the world – to a new location.

But opposition to the proposals soon gathered pace on social media.

The fountain was commissioned from sculptor Richard Huws in 1962 by Merseyside Civic Society to commemorate the start of the controversial Tryweryn Water Scheme, which was to provide drinking water to Liverpool but which led to the displacement of a voiceless Welsh-speaking community.

Seventy residents lost their homes, livelihoods and places of worship prior to the flooding of their village, Capel Celyn.

The scheme opened in May 1965. Huws opposed this and sought to distance himself from the link.

The original home for the fountain was intended to be at the junction of Bold Street and Hanover Street, in the city centre, but this was rejected by planners.

Two further sites were rejected before developers Thames Estates and Investments offered the newly-created plaza to the rear of a new office development on Goree as home.

The fountain was officially opened on May 2, 1967 by the city’s Lord Mayor, Alderman Herbert Allen.