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THE FARADAY FOUNTAIN
RESTORATION OF THE FARADAY FOUNTAIN
Thursday, 29th October, 1987 7.00 p.m.
by Professor EA Ash, CBE, FEng, F.R.S.
Rector - Imperia/ College of Science and Technology
President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers
His Worship the Mayor and Mayoress
of the Borough of Kettering
Councillors Ken and Mrs Joan Gosland
Michael Faraday (1791-1867) an English chemist and physicist was born at
Newington, Surrey, on the 22nd September 1791. His parents had migrated from
Yorkshire where his father was a blacksmith. Michael became apprenticed to a
In 1812 Mr Dance, a customer of the bookbinder took him to hear four lectures by Sir Humphrey Davy. Faraday wrote to Sir Humphrey and enclosed notes and comments on the lectures. The reply was immediate and kind and favourable. He continued to work as a bookbinder until 1st March 1813 when he was appointed assistant in the laboratory of the Royal Institute of Great Britain on the recommendation of Sir Humphrey Davy. He was appointed director of the laboratory and in 1833 he was appointed Fullerian Professor of Chemistry for life. He thus remained in the Institution for 54 years.
He died at Hampton Court on the 25th August 1867. Faraday's early work was mainly of a chemical nature but his chemical work, however important in itself was soon completely overshadowed by his electrical discoveries particularly in the field of electro magnetism and the discovery of the induction of electric currents.
Centenary 21st September, 1931
The centenary of Faraday's discoveries was to be celebrated on 21st September 1931. Electrically speaking Kettering was a go-ahead town, having its own Generating Station which each year was showing a profit which was donated to the rate fund and the rates were thereby left lower than they otherwise would be. Mr WA Walker, electrical engineer to the Kettering Urban District Council proposed that an illuminated display should be presented to the town to commemorate the Michael Faraday centenary. There was considerable opposition to the suggestion. It was reported in the Evening Telegraph of 6th August 1931 that the illuminated display would take the form of a fountain in the Manor House Gardens. Mr Walker said it would be similar to the one at Eastbourne and smaller than the one at Bournemouth. The cost of running the fountain would be about 2½d per hour compared with 6/- per hour for the Bournemouth fountain and the whole cost would be borne by the Electricity Department. The cost of the fountain would be £300 to £350 and again this would be borne by the Electricity Department. Again there was considerable opposition since It was clamed that the money would come out
of the Department's profits which should be diverted to the rate fund At the September meeting of the Council plans to floodlight the Church, school and art gallery and library were also turned down. Mr. Haynes spoke for the scheme and Mr Tutty and M. Martin spoke against. However, the fountain was installed and on 21st September 1931 the buildings were illuminated. At 8.30 pm the Chairman using a microphone (for probably the first time) performed the opening ceremony supported by Mr Haynes. Both speakers came over the early PA system very well but others were not so good
Mr Haynes handed over the fountain to the town as a gift and an all time and permanent memorial to Michael Faraday. The whole scheme of floodlighting and fountain were in charge of Mr WA Walker. The pump was made by GEC. The Church was floodlit by lanterns.
The KUDC Electricity Department
In 1896 the KUDC applied for and obtained a provisional order for the supply of electricity within the boundaries of the UDC. There was a tremendous amount of arguing and much opposition to the scheme, By 1903 a loan of had been obtained, a site in Rockingham Road known as Dickmans Orchard had been purchased and the building of the Power Station was under way. 'I lie first consumers were connected to the supply on 7th May. 190/1, In the first year 154 consumers were connected Additional generators were installed in 1907, 1911 and 1915. The generating capacity was increased still further in 1921. At this time, the number of consumers had increased 1400 and £168,000 had been invested. The scheme was profitable and in 1923 there was a surplus on the books of £3,000 and £500 was presented to the Council as rate relief. Still further extensions were made in 1927 bringing the capacity of the station up to 8,500 K VA. Over the years extension orders were obtained and by 1930 ½ million pounds had been Invested and 7,400 consumers were connected. The need for more generating capacity was pressing but an application to the Electricity commissioners for a further 100 KVC set was refused and a high-tension supply of 33,000 volts was brought in from Northampton. In 1931 the (JDC obtained a further extension order taking in a further 75 sq. miles comprising 28 parishes and included Corby. Alderman Joe Haynes, the Chairman of the Electricity Committee officially switched on the supply to Corby Works on 10th April, 1934
During the whole of this period Mr WA Walker was the Chief Engineer and assisted by Mr CB Tutt was completely responsible for the planning of the Generating Station and the distribution network.
Vesting Day was 31st March, 1948 On this day the electricity supply industry was virtually nationalised and overall command passed from Kettering to Northampton and Nottingham The Station finally closed and the 150 ft. chimney and 80 ft cooling towers were demolished. The Generating Station was demolished in 1987 to make way for a new Sainsbury Store.
THE FOUNTAIN RESTORATION PROCESS
In early 1985 the Borough Council considered the restoration of the fountain but the costs involved appeared prohibitive.
Much of the original equipment had disappeared over the years and replacement parts were no longer available. In March 1986, the Civic Society approached the Borough Council suggesting that an entry be made in the 1986 Pride of Place Competition organised by a charitable trust, the prize being sufficient to make restoration possible. The Council's Amenity and Recreation Committee endorsed the approach and commissioned the preparation of detailed plans and specification for the competition entry. Unfortunately the entry was not successful but the considerable amount Of work undertaken for the competition was to prove invaluable Late in 1986 the Civic Society suggested that a joint venture With the Borough Council, together with the involvement of outside concerns on a voluntary or sponsorship basis, could be the way forward. This suggestion was welcomed by the Amenity and Recreation Committee and a joint funding arrangement was approved by the Borough Council. The Council's Technical Services Department were to act as the Council's representatives and both parties explored voluntary/sponsorship contributions which were to prove fruitful.
A joint co-ordinating group was established with Messrs J Wright and N Warren representing the Council's Technical Department, and Messrs F Thompson and L Davies of the Civic Society. The Civic Society obtained the services of the Apprentice Training Department of Timsons Ltd., Engineers, to refurbish the motor, gearbox and jet assembly. A new pump had to be purchased as the original could not be located. The Borough Council produced detailed schedules for builders, plumbing and electrical work content and organised these through its own Direct Works Division with Messrs Wright and Warren coordinating operations.
The centre piece or shroud was complex and after exhaustive enquiries of firms equipped to fabricate this item, Messrs George James and Sons of Broughton were engaged for the task. Photographs of a similar fountain in Eastbourne, together with one taken in the early 60's at Kettering, were used to good effect to recreate the centre piece.
The following descriptions are a summary of the works found necessary to restore the fountain
(a) A complete new water feed system was installed
(b) The base and concrete surrounds of the fountain were refurbished
(c) All electrical circuits were completely renewed and new colour lights installed
(d) A new centre piece (shroud) was manufactured
(e) All the mechanical equipment was overhauled or replaced
SPONSORS FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN
Kettering Borough Council, Kettering Civic Society, Barclays Bank PLC, Dr & Mrs R Bland, Mrs D Butlin, M F Coles Ltd, Mrs G Elmore, Roger Freeman MP, The Hon Mrs Celia Goodhart, P Hegarty Esq, Mrs D Henson, S. Jones Esq, Lockleys Restaurant, Miss MS Malpas, A Nunn - Marquee Hire, RD Silver Ltd, S Thornton Esq, Timsons Ltd, EB Wright Esq, The Yorkshire Bank
Special Reference should be made to the following who contributed to the restoration project:
Deeiak Builders (Rushden) Limited who donated a substantial sum in lieu of undertaking the builders work, Georqe James & Sons (Blacksmiths) Limited who manufactured replica centre-piece (shroud).
MC Wilson, J Wright, N Warren - Kettering Borouqh Council, L Daviest F Thompson - Kettering Civic Society, J Idell and Apprentice Training Department - Timsons Ltd
Based on Research by F Thompson Esq - Kettering Civic Society
Reproduced from a leaflets printed and produced by Kettering Borough Council and obtainable from the Council Offices and the Tourist Information Centre, Sheep Street, Kettering