Project to reproduce landmark Rondebosch fountain almost complete

In a radio interview on CapeTalk Max Teichmann, owner of Heritage Castings, has said the project to reproduce Rondebosch’s historic fountain is nearing completion. The iconic fountain was located at the intersection of Belmont and Main roads in Rondebosch, Cape Town for over a century. The fountain was also the first electric lamp post in South Africa.

It was destroyed after a speeding car drove into it during the early hours of the morning three years ago. The fountain was very badly damaged and several pieces of it went missing. As a result, it could not be restored.

Rondebosch Fountain, which is of great historical value, before a speeding motorist drove into it

Cape Town-based foundry Heritage Castings has been responsible for the project, creating a replica of the original fountain patterns and structure.

“We should have completed the fountain within the next five or six weeks, ready to install. We’ve been working on this since about May 2017,” said Teichmann.

“The fountain is an art form. It’s a piece of art. It will look identical.”

Teichmann explained that the time and skills it has taken to put the masterpiece together was lengthy. He says 79-year-old pattern maker, Steve Wood, dedicated 2 000 hours of his life to manufacture the patterns to replicate the fountain.

The fountain, which was manufactured in England, was also the first electric lamp post in South Africa and has great historical value to the people of that area and those that frequented the road. Before automobiles took over, the fountain was used for watering draught horses.

Anthony Davies, CEO of Groote Schuur Community Improvement District, says the fountain has great sentimental value for residents.

“The historical value of the fountain is estimable. It saddens us that a driver travelling at great speed crashed in to the monument, seriously damaging it. It’s so dear to a lot of people,” says Davies.

In 2011 the GRCID together with other stakeholders spent about R400 000 in renovating the fountain which had begun to deteriorate and rust.

The fountain was, in reality, only an ornamental trough used for the watering of horses, and consists of a round cast-iron drinking bowl supported on legs in the form of horses hooves. A post topped by a lantern rises from the centre of the trough. It is a typical piece of Victorian ironmongery of its time, and was cast by Walter McFarlane & Co, of the Saracen Foundry, in Glasgow. It was presented to the community of Rondebosch in 1791 by George Moodie, one of its most colourful and probably wealthiest residents. It was declared a National Monument under the old NMC legislation on 10 April 1964.