MDHB Sell a Melly Fountain for 5 and have it shipped to the USA
Recollection of a young Police Constable (Alex Sinclair)

 

The story goes like this...... (are you sitting comfortably?)....

In 1963 I was a young Police Constable, with the Liverpool City Police, and, during the middle of that year was posted to the Docks. I was on a Foot Beat, which meant that I could patrol the area inside the Dock Estate from the Pier Head up to the North East Princes Gate. I would also relieve the Constables, posted to the actual Gates, for 'Scoff', i.e. their refreshment break. I can remember being on the South East Princes Gate (to the 'Dublin Ferry' berth) one day, when I saw two MDHB workmen digging around the red stone fountain, mounted in the wall. When casually asked what was going on, I was told that the fountain had been bought by an American, for 5, and was to be shipped off to the U.S.A., presumably to his home. He had been passing through, to or from Dublin, and had taken a fancy to it, made enquiries etc, and 'done the deal'.

The point where the fountain was then sited was probably about 10 yards from the stone entrance gate-post, on what is now the inside of the boundary wall of the Crowne Plaza car-park. When the wall had been 'patched-up', the spot was still identifiable for some years afterwards. I haven't been back to the 'Gate' for about six years now, (my Daughter was then a Graduate Trainee Manager with the Hotel) and the only thing left from 1963 was the boundary wall! I never thought to look out for the fountain's former location, but then, I had all but forgotten about the incident until reading about the Melly Fountains over the last year or so.

I don't know how much, if any, of the former MDHB records still exist, or whether such a minor financial transaction would have been recorded anyway. It has occurred to me that, as the Fountains were a charitable donation etc., did the MDHB have the right to sell one off like that? Could we ever trace the location of the Fountain now? Could there still be any MDHB employee who can remember the buyers name or his address? Is there someone now sitting in a garden in America, gazing at a Melly Fountain, and wondering just from where his father/grandfather got it? Could that curious American ever be traced? Well, with the methods of communication available today through the internet - anything is possible!

I hope the foregoing is of interest, and adds just a little more to a truly fascinating story.

Alex Sinclair, January 2008

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