Valley Gardens revamp would see Mazda fountain removed

Posted On 26 Feb 2015 at 2:14 pm

The Mazda fountain in Victoria Gardens would not survive a £20m reworking of Valley Gardens.

The Mazda fountain by Dominic Alves on Flickr

The Mazda fountain by Dominic Alves on Flickr

The ambitious plans, which were this week given £8m of funding by the Local Transport Board, would see the road layouts changed from St Peter’s to the Aquarium roundabout.

But while the Victoria fountain on the Old Steine would remain, the Mazda fountain at the northern end of Victoria Gardens would be removed.

In a list of answers to frequently asked questions, Brighton and Hove City Council explained: “The Mazda Fountain has no inherent historic connection to Valley Gardens – it was designed for the British Empire Exhibition in London.

“Because the Fountain was designed for a very different environment, it is not particularly suited to the Valley Gardens context.

“The inefficient operation of the fountain is inconsistent with principles of sustainable water management.

“Better use could be made of money currently spent operating and maintaining the fountain – potentially this money could contribute to a more efficient water feature designed for the Valley Gardens context.”

Instead, it suggests a fountain  or other water feature in front of St Peter’s Church and a shallow rill, or narrow gully, running through the area.

However, the plans may never come to fruition as Labour says if it wins May’s local elections, it will put them on hold.

The electric fountain was given to the city by Thomson-Houston (BTH) in 1930, possibly to promote the company’s cinematic sound systems which were first installed at the Duke of York’s cinema.

Mazda fountain lit up in colourIt later fell into disuse, but in October 1987 it was switched on again, and different coloured lights lit up its 35ft high jets.

The removal was highlighted this week in a discussion on Twitter about how the fountains would work within the new Valley Gardens scheme.

  1. caeos Reply

    It has a historic setting for the Last 80 years… Also I haven’t seen the lights on it. Move it not scrap it. How about having the river uncovered and flowing its natural course ?

    • feline1 Reply

      I agree – reinstate the river. URBAN FOREST!

  2. Len Holloway Reply

    It’s called the Mazda fountain because Mazda lightbulbs provided the lights as sponsoship.

  3. Rostrum Reply

    The message is that it has no ‘Historic Value’ because its in the way… The same as the elm trees !

    I’d rather see it moved, say to Hove Lawns, where it would be appreciated and valued ..

  4. Gerald Wiley Reply

    Of course if it were an 80 year old tree, then Kitcat ‘replacement’ Tom Druitt would probably have sat in it as a protest to save it.

    In fact I’m surprised Tom hasn’t been more against the project – perhaps he’s finally realised that from an environmental perspective (i.e. reducing levels of CO2), planting new trees is better than keeping old ones.

  5. Sarah Lewis Reply

    This has got to stop. They consult on one thing. Introduce radical changes. Add unnecessary rambling cycle lanes in what should be pedestrian areas and now the fountain! It’s been there longer than most of us. It’s a beautiful thing.

    This makes me really angry.

  6. Maf Moors Reply

    great news! A really positive news story! Made my day..

  7. Bob Reply

    It’s more historic than a random tree at the Seven Dials.
    Hopefully the greens will also soon be historic and this madness will stop.

    • Jacob Stevens Reply

      I’d rather have more trees planted and saved, Brighton is the host to 17,000 or so Elm trees and is probably one of the only places in Europe where such large numbers exist after Elms were wiped out in the 70s via dutch elm disease. The tree you mention on seven dials will easily outdate any fountain built in the 30s.

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