Improving Ilkley launched a competition last year for local artists to design a key water feature that will be the centrepiece of the restoration project to restore the former Brook Street Fountain and to bring back to life the surrounding public space.
First opened in 1865, the ornate fountain reflected the optimism of its age. The Town Health Board chose the winning design from entries to a public competition.
Over the years, the fountain mechanism failed; following vandalism, workers replaced the central waterspout feature in the 1960s. Somehow, the original stonework was lost. Since then, the fountain has never worked. The ingenious gravity feed mechanism was deemed too difficult to replace and the structure too costly to maintain. Only the concrete bowl remains and currently contains a flowerbed.
Improving Ilkley, a charity set up to take on local projects, undertook a feasibility study early last year with support from Ilkley BID . Thanks to modern engineering, the results show that the charity can create a gravity-fed water supply at a reasonable cost. Furthermore, the fountain bowl structure and its dressed stone surround are safe and largely intact.
In a nod to the past, they sought inspiration for the fountain’s new design via an open competition which closed a few weeks ago.
The charity had a number of expressions of interest and these have been narrowed down to three possible designs, a spokesperson said: “All these designs are from local artists – so please be kind, they are possible to engineer, will be robust enough to survive an Ilkley winter standing in freezing cold water and can be fabricated within our tight budget.
We are now seeking the view of the public. We would love to know your thoughts on all three of the designs.”
DESIGN 1 - by Laura Dawes
DESIGN 2 - by Sean Dowker
DESIGN 3 - by Juliet Gutch
After looking at the designs, members of the public are asked to email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The designs will be on display at Ilkley Manor House, The Clarke Foley Centre and Ilkley Town Hall between 11th and 19th March.
Improving Ilkley will announce the winner on Friday, 31st March. The winner with receive a cash prize of £500 and will go on to further develop their design with Improving Ilkley and fabricators.
Improving Ilkley hopes to reinstate the fountain and its elegant surrounding later this year.