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Outrage as yobs topple historic Lisburn fountain donated by MP in 1980s

By Laura Abernethy

Published 09/10/2015

Top: the vandalised fountain
Top: the vandalised fountain
How it originally looked

A 140-year-old fountain has been damaged by vandals.

The historic structure was one of more than 50 drinking fountains donated to cities across the world by Lisburn MP Sir Richard Wallace in the 1870s.

The philanthropist wanted to provide safe and free drinking water for the poor, particularly in Paris, where he lived during the Franco-Prussian War.

Five of the cast-iron structures were also donated to Lisburn in 1872 to mark the Wallace connection to the city.

But last Saturday night, the historic fountain in Wallace Park was vandalised and the top, which weighs around half a tonne, was pushed over.

Due to the weight of the fountain, it is believed that a number of people were involved in the vandalism.

There are only two of these fountains remaining in the city - one in Wallace Park and another in Castle Gardens - as the other three were dismantled during World War II.

The Wallace Park fountain was moved from the city centre in 2013 as part of the redevelopment of the park as councillors believed it would "be safer" after other incidents of vandalism.

The recent vandalism damaged the top and middle sections, which featured four caryatids representing kindness, simplicity, charity and sobriety.

The top of the fountain has now been removed for the council to assess the extent of the damage.

A council spokesperson said that due to the unique design and age of the fountain, they are still assessing how much the repair work will cost. They hope that they will be able to restore the fountain to its former glory as soon as possible.

Local councillors condemned the vandalism yesterday.

Alderman Paul Porter said: "I am deeply saddened by this appalling case of vandalism which took place over the weekend.

"The fact two of these fountains were displayed in Lisburn was a great honour for the people of the city. It was terrible news to learn that the fountain had been damaged in what can be described as a senseless act of anti-social behaviour.

"The council is also reviewing security at the park and working with the PSNI to help bring those responsible to justice."

Councillor Scott Carson said: "It's appalling that such a historical artefact for Lisburn has been damaged. It has pride of place in Wallace Park and it's very sad."

He added: "This act of destruction was motivated by nothing more than a desire to carry out an act of wanton vandalism. This behaviour is unacceptable and I would urge anyone who has any information in relation to the incident to contact the PSNI as soon as possible."

Anyone with information can contact police on the non-emergency number 101.

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