Jacob Memorial Fountain
NGR 77724 45818
Site Number: C105
Area 1. Malvern Town Centre Springs and Wells
Malvern Hills, England
Location: In the Vineyard Restaurant, Malvern Theatres, Grange Road.
Description: a substantial drinking fountain comprising four cherubs on a marble basin.
This fountain was erected in 1931 partly as a twentieth century attempt to resurrect the fame of Malvern as a spa and partly as a memorial to a man who lived and died for Malvern.
Henry William Jacob was born in Dublin in 1866 and graduated at Trinity, Dublin. Following a brief period at Birmingham General Hospital he moved to a practice in Taunton where he married Charlotte Hunton.
Two years later he came to Malvern in 1896 - living at St Helen's (now Chartwell House) in Church Street - and worked tirelessly for the town. He served on the Board of Conservators for twenty years, and as the most forceful member of the Improvement Association he succeeded where all others had failed in securing an Improvement Rate for the town. Money at last became available to spend on digging the town out of its nineteenth century grave, uplifting its jaded appearance and providing suitable entertainment for the handful of visitors who arrived each season.
Jacob also became a member of the Urban District Council in 1912 and accepted his election as Chairman on the retirement of William Dyson Perrins in 1920. His Chairmanship lasted until his death in 1928 and those eight years were referred to as the `Jacobean' era of Malvern, "when Malvern trimmed her sails with courage and foresight, and caught the flowing tide, confident that it would carry her into a harbour of enhanced prosperity". Despite his enormous commitment to promoting Malvern as an inland health resort Jacob never neglected his patients, and was referred to as `the beloved Physician of Malvern'.
Charlotte, Dr Jacob's wife died in 1925 but in spite of this he continued to direct his energies to the welfare of Malvern. In 1927 Jacob had his first nervous breakdown and went away to recuperate. On his return he threw himself once more into promoting his beloved town, and suffered yet another breakdown in June 1928. Two months later he died.
In 1927, under the Chairmanship of the dynamic Dr H W Jacob, the Council had bought the Assembly Room, and Priory Mansion with its extensive gardens, for public use. These subsequently became the Council House, Priory Park and the Winter Gardens. For years there had been opposition to the purchase and it was Jacob's leadership of the progressive `Brighter Malvern' scheme which culminated in the acquisition and subsequent development of these properties. During 1928 - 1929 the out-dated facilities were completely reconstructed, Jacob's desired effect being to lure visitors to the rejuvenated town. He succeeded, but didn't live to see his success or the fulfilment of his wish to leave Malvern more prosperous than he found it. The strain of pushing Malvern single-handedly into the twentieth century killed him - the lethargy and inanition of those about him were death's weapons.
It was quickly decided that a memorial was needed to Dr Jacob. The headmaster of Malvern College, Mr F. Preston, set about collecting contributions for the Dr H.W Jacob Memorial Fund. The most obvious choice was the drinking fountain soon to be erected at the new Winter Gardens, since he had fought hard to have the pure spring water brought to the Pump Room there. On Tuesday 29th July 1929 Malvern was alive with residents and visitors, banners and bunting, streamers and flags, to welcome the Duke of Gloucester, who arrived by train to open the town's new Winter Gardens. In Priory Park a new swimming pool, a new bridge, and a new bandstand looked across to the new Winter Gardens' Italian Renaissance colonnaded terrace, where the Duke cut the opening tape. Inside was a new cinema and theatre, 'And most fitting perhaps of all, the world famous Malvern water, brought direct from the hills, is to be dispensed in the handsome Pump Room - known as the Jacob Memorial Hall - at a fountain of chaste design, erected by public subscription to the memory of the late Chairman of the Urban District Council, whose leadership inspired the Winter Gardens scheme and brought it to fruition.'
The 'chaste design' was too inconspicuous a memorial to Dr Jacob, the great achiever, so the designer Richard Reginald Goulden was asked to conceive and sculpt a suitable memorial in bronze. Goulden (1877-1932) fought in the Great War and afterwards designed several impressive bronze memorials to the men who died in that war. These included Malvern's war memorial, a 'symbolic bronze image of a youth holding up the light of life', which was unveiled in the grounds of the public library in 1923. It was said that Goulden, like Dr Jacob, died of overwork. Goulden's original plan for Dr Jacob's memorial was to have an upright water sprite but he abandoned that in favour of a 'living spring', which Gordon McNeil Rushforth, author of the 1936 volume on the medieval glass in Malvern Priory, described as a 'group of children overflowing with happy vitality'. An idea to have the water flowing over and through the children was also discarded because it would have been too difficult to keep the bronze clean. When it was finished and installed, water welled up from the centre of the bronze group to constantly renew the contents of the Carrara marble basin, and jets of water overflowed into four containers filled with greenery. It was frequently remarked that more water landed on the floor than in the containers so brass urns were added later to help solve the problem. Around the top of the basin is inscribed 'In grateful appreciation of his devoted public services to Malvern AD 1930 erected by many friends of Henry William Jacob MD.' There was a stepped, paved surround at the base and the plinth which was designed to prevent people from leaning on the memorial when the Pump Room was crowded. The Jacob Memorial Fountain was unveiled in June 1931 by the M.P for Bewdley, former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.
During the first Malvern Festival, in 1929, the new fountain saved visitors the effort of trekking up to St Ann's Well to sample Malvern's famous pure water, but there were so many visitors congregating round the Pump Room that The Pleasure Grounds Committee had to hire an attendant to serve the water. The fountain was supplied with natural spring water piped from the Rushey Valley but during dry seasons the natural water flow fluctuated. To overcome this problem, in Rose Bank Gardens the council connected the pipe to the fountain to the pipe that carried the water from St Ann's Well to Burrows' bottling cisterns at the back of Belle Vue Terrace. The cost of the pipe-laying was a massive 600 pounds. However Burrows guaranteed that for the next 30 years they would supply water to the Pump Room except in times of severe drought. In return they received an annual rent of ten shillings and an advertisement in the Pump Room promoting St Ann's Well water.
The 1934 official handbook of the British Health Resorts Association carried an advertisement promoting the New Pump Room and Winter Gardens and the editorial noted that the waters of St Ann's Well were available at the pump room.
In 1968 the natural water pipeline was damaged and the mains supply was connected. For many years there was no flow at all to the Jacob Memorial. Goulden's design, which ensured that a glass should be easily filled, was useless.
At the turn of the 20th century, when the Winter Gardens were refurbished and remodelled as Malvern Theatres, the fountain was under threat. Prompt action only just in time prevented Jacob's Fountain disappearing into an antique dealers van. It was not reinstated in its former position however, instead relocated to a corner of the cafeteria area, minus much of the original plinth. The refurbishment of the Winter Gardens did however give Malvern another water feature. High up in the main forum is a water clock. This tantalizingly complicated device fascinates those who spot it and is worthy of a few moments observation to see it strike the hour.
Early in 2012 a local group announced a relocation and restoration plan for the fountain, following an article about its condition in the Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells newsletter. In July the following year there was an unveiling of a plaque and the newly cleaned fountain as part of the opening celebrations for Civic Week Harriett Baldwin MP performed the ceremony, (no relation to the Stanley Baldwin MP and Prime Minister who unveiled the fountain in 1931)
The Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells are pursuing a series of more ambitious projects to enhance the water feature pending the agreement of the Malvern Theatres
1. A shadow of its former self, the fountain in the 21st century.
2. Dr Jacob's grave in Malvern cemetery.
3. Unravelling the mysteries of the water clock.
4. The original Jacob Fountain.
5. Harriett Baldwin MP unveiling the fountain in 1013
 Malvern Gazette, 31 Aug 1928.
 Malvern Gazette 26 July 1929
 Malvern Gazette, 12 August 1932
 Malvern Gazette, 12 August 1932
 BWJ, 20 June 1931.
 Malvern Gazette 17 May 1929.
 BHRA 1934 p142/226.
The map alongside is a small section of our more comprehensive map of the area. For the complete map together with a description and history of this site see "Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills" (2012).
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Celebrated Springs of
THE MALVERN HILLS
A definitive work that is the culmination of 20 years researching the springs and wells of the Malvern Hills, published by Phillimore. This is the ideal explorers guide enabling the reader to discover the location and often the astounding and long forgotten history of over 130 celebrated springs and wells sites around the Malvern Hills. The book is hard back with dust cover, large quarto size with lavish illustrations and extended text. Celebrated Springs contains about 200 illustrations and well researched text over a similar number of pages, together with seven area maps to guide the explorer to the locations around the Malvern Hills. It also includes details on the long history of bottling water in the Malvern Hills.
Written by Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver, this book is available on-line for £15.00 (delivered UK) - click Malvern Bookshop on the green panel top left. Alternatively send a cheque payable to Cora Weaver with your name and address to 4 Hall Green, Malvern, Worcs. WR14 3QX.
1) TOPOGRAPHICAL LOCATION:
Malvern Hills - arguably Britain's original National Park
Built Up Location
3) INFORMATION CATEGORY:
A Spring, Spout, Fountain or Holy Well Site
4) MALVERN SPRING OR WELL SITE DETAILS:
4 SPLASHES - Well Worth Finding
5) GENERAL VISITOR INFORMATION:
Access On Foot
Open Set Times Only