Friends are the recognised guardians of Malvern's water heritage (Malvern Gazette 1 March 2013 p.14). We are an independent voluntary group who relentlessly promote research, conservation and celebration of the Springs, Spouts, Fountains and Holy Wells of the Malvern Hills and of Great Malvern as a Spa Town.
Two Malverns and a Mulberry Tree - WE HAVE DONE IT!
A crowd of well-wishers watched the official planting of the special mulberry tree in Priory Park on Saturday 25 June. The tree was the grandchild of the mulberry tree that George Bernard Shaw planted in the park in 1936 to celebrate his 80th birthday and which blew down in a storm in 2000. A cutting from his tree, sent to Malvern, our sister town near Melbourne, Victoria, had flourished to an immense 13 metres and it was a cutting from that tree that had been reared and was planted on Saturday by Di Foster, a representative from Malvern (Vic). She was delighted to find other Australians among the crowd, one of whom lived just down the road from her.
Bruce Osborne of The Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells welcomed the audience and thanked the many people who had participated in the project, especially Di Foster, Oliver Weaver, who had negotiated the import of the six live mulberry cuttings, sculptor Catherine James and Jim Fox of Coca-Cola, who have funded the project from start to finish. The history of the various trees and their place in the two Malverns' heritage was then outlined by former mayor Julian I'Anson. On the theme of heritage, the audience was then delighted and surprised when 93 year-old Joan Fowler took the microphone and related how, as a 13-year-old girl, she went to Priory Park with her mother in 1936 and watched Shaw plant his mulberry tree.
Then Di put five spadesful of soil around the tree base, the same number that Shaw had put around the base of his tree 80 years earlier. She then unveiled the handsome new plaque that commemorates the story of the planting by Shaw, the demise of his tree, and the exchange of cuttings between the two Malverns. The plaque was sculpted by local stonemason Catherine James. Her design is based on a large slice of Shaw's tree that was rescued after it was blown down in the storm in 2000 and donated to Malvern by the Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells.
The Friends then distributed tickets to everyone for free refreshments at the Mount Pleasant Hotel that included a slice of mulberry pie made by two Friends of Malvern Museum, Faith Renger and Ann Backhouse. The tickets also allowed free entry to the new two-part exhibition at Malvern Museum, entitled Two Malverns and a Mulberry Tree. One part relates the history of Shaw and the mulberry trees; the other is about many of the other Malverns around the world, of which there are over twenty. Many people also bought copies of the handsome new limited edition booklet (only 100 have been printed) Two Malverns and a Mulberry Tree written by Cora and Bruce. It tells in many pictures and few words the story of Shaw in Malvern and the planting of his tree, how the cycle of exchanges brought it back to Malvern, a history of Malvern (Vic) and the friendship that has existed since 1910 between the two towns with the same name. The few remaining copies, price six pounds each including postage, are on sale at Malvern Museum.
In the evening there was a special Friendship Between the Malverns supper at the Mount Pleasant Hotel. Cora Weaver introduced the Vice Chairman of Malvern Hills District Council, Cllr. Chris O'Donnell, who welcomed the guests before presenting to Di Foster, on behalf of MHDC, the gift of a crystal glass engraved with a Morgan car. Di reciprocated, giving Cllr. O'Donnell a handsome book from her Malvern. During the evening, local poet Myfanwy Fox read her new sonnet Mulberry Scion, which urged that creativity be given a chance to flourish. Shakespeare wrote sonnets and planted a mulberry tree. Shaw planted a mulberry tree and envied the world's enduring love of the Stratford Bard, so the mulberry and creativity was particularly appropriate.
The Deputy Mayor of Malvern, Cllr. Hannah Campbell, then welcomed Di Foster on behalf of the mayor, who had sent a letter of friendship via Di to the mayor and citizens of Malvern (Vic). The letter was presented to Di, who responded with a letter of friendship and gifts from her own mayor, Cr. Claude Ullin, who has been enthusiastic about the mulberry tree project since its inception in 2009. Then Di gave an illustrated account of the history of her Malvern in Australia, which dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. It was all new information for the audience, who were delighted with her unique presentation.
Pictures - i. Joan Fowler, who attended the original Mulberry Tree planting with the tree unveiled in Priory Park on the 25th June. ii. The commemorative plaque unveiled by Di representing the slice of fallen Mulberry Tree. iii. Jim Fox of Coca-Cola, Cora Weaver, Di Foster who came from Malvern, Australia, Cllr Chris O'Donnell of Malvern Hills District Council and Dr. Bruce Osborne who with Cora Weaver initiated and progressed the entire scheme from 2000 to 2016.
Following the events of the 25 June, Cora and Bruce said afterwards that they were thrilled that this long term project had reached fruition and they are both looking forward to the newly-planted tree also reaching maturity. Meanwhile, they have already begun a new project to link all the Malverns around the world in a union of friendship.
Watch this space or click above to find out more!
Misleading Slip-ups Awards
THE BIG OOOOOOOOooooopps! - WHERE WE SPOT THE BANANA SKIN SLIP-UPS
We often see misunderstanding or misleading information lead to problematic outcomes, some is deliberate and some is unintentional.
Even we drop the odd clanger. Whatever the reason, good or bad, there is no real alternative to the truth, properly presented, leading to good decision making. With this award we seek to set the record straight.
We received a request for a possible Mulberry Tree elsewhere in Malvern recently and on investigating the purpose discovered the following alleged scenario about the memorial to the memorial.
The site location is the thin triangular piece of land where Priory Road diverges from Abbey Road. This land was apparently given in the early 1870s to Malvern town by Miss Palmer, who lived on the other side of Abbey Road at Lower Abbotsfield (later re-named Croftdown), with restrictive covenants about retaining the trees on the site proposed for the memorial fountain in honour of Dr James Wilson, a pioneer of the Malvern Water Cure. The memorial
was finally completed in 1877. Sadly, after years of neglect, it was demolished in 1948. But the sole survivor of Miss Palmer's trees, a horse chestnut tree which is shown in drawings of the Wilson fountain, remained, to the enjoyment of all until its unheralded felling on 3rd February 2015.
Somehow, after 1948, the stewardship of Miss Palmer's gifted land seems to have passed to Worcestershire County Council (WCC). Certainly, it was WCC who, following a site meeting in November 2014, felled the tree without ado. WCC subsequently allegedly apologised to MHDC for having failed to carry out the correct public notification, which would have given locals a chance to comment/object, but the apology didn't bring back the much-loved old tree. Removing the massive horse chestnut tree has provided a much better site for the simple stone Wilson Memorial which was unveiled earlier this year thanks to Brian Iles' long campaign and efforts. Unfortunately the opportunity to make that a replacement fountain was foiled by the development of Croftdown Court over the lead water supply pipe running from Melton Lodge up on the Worcester Road. However, there is still plenty of room left on Miss Palmer's land for a decent commemorative tree to replace the much-loved horse chestnut tree.
In the picture slabs replace tree, do you have a view on what if any tree should be planted?
During the Spring of 2016 the Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells drew attention to the rather sad state of the Elgar Fountain on Belle Vue Terrace in Malvern, Worcestershire. Suggestions from Friends included coloured lights perhaps forecasting the weather or music and coloured lights providing a visual multi senses display in the evening. Local media fuelled the debate with front page news items.
In order to explore further such possibilities members of the Friends launched an investigatory field trip to Marienbad in the Czech Republic. This was in conjunction with Malvern Civic Society and took place Mid-May. The reason for selecting Marienbad was that not only is it twinned with Malvern, it has a famous "singing fountain" that provides entertainment for visitors at set times of the day using classical music, water displays and coloured lighting.
Marienbad is a 19th century fairy land type spa resort in Bohemia and was patronised by royalty in former times. As well as offering spa health programmes, Marienbad attracts large numbers of visitors who come for the high quality environment and entertainments. Key to this is the Colonnade and Singing Fountain which provides a centrepiece for those doing everything from taking the waters to enjoying a concert or visiting the surrounding visitor attractions.
Suggested recommendations for the Elgar Fountain - A structure as grand as the Singing Fountain at Marienbad is not suited to Belle Vue Terrace, Great Malvern. However the lessons are that if you have something that will entertain, people will gather to watch and enjoy it. It also becomes a focal point for other activities and a general meeting place.
The Malvern Elgar fountain that looms from the gloom is a massive structure and when the fountain runs, water can gather on the road below causing a possible hazard. The massiveness can be used to advantage but the provision of water need to be rethought. For example water bubbling in giant bubbles may be a better consideration than an open fountain. Lighting and music are much simpler to envisage. With modern technology LED lighting, a spectacular display that excels that of Marienbad for Belle Vue Terrace should be possible. Using buildings in the locality, laser lighting may also be relatively easy to install. Similarly music, particularly Elgar's, is a practical proposition, even including live local musicians on set occasions.
It is recommended therefore that a detailed proposal in prepared for the Elgar Fountain using expertise that will have experience in resolving the issues raised above. There is a possibility that funding could be available for a suitable scheme through the 'Community Improvements Fund'.
Do see our website by clicking on the Singing Fountain header logo above.
Newsletter No 60 elicits a response from New York following a discovery.
In Newsletter 60 (available to read on our web site) we highlighted a recent find of what appeared to be a Gibraltar stone water bottle. We have now heard from two Friends in New York who found a broken piece of a similar bottle. "Helley (my spouse) and I went walking in a local seaside park, Welwyn Preserve, on Long Island (New York) yesterday and found a chard of 'the mysterious Gibraltar stone bottle' (see the attached picture), Steve."
This prompted a further investigation with some interesting results. Hector Bado, the name on the bottle. appears to have been born 1884/4 and aged 26 lived at 7 Church Street Gibraltar. He is described as a General Merchant and was single and a Roman Catholic. By 1931 he had married Nona and they travelled from London to Gibraltar on the Maloja, with P & O S.N. He was still a merchant at this time. They stayed at the Park Lane Hotel, London, one of London's top hotels. The bottle of which Steve has a piece contains the word Schiedam, which was a place in the Netherlands noted for its gin. It would likely have been gin bottled and labelled for the American market and Bado was presumably the entrepreneur who set this up.
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