“THE SPRING RESTORATION PROJECT” 1998 – 2008
Rose Garrard’s proposal for new pillars and pathway to help identify the hidden site of Lord Sandy’s Spout, 2004.
Lord Sandy’s Spout with new pillars and pathway after restoration, 2008.
A small group of interested people had now gathered together in order to take forward the second main objective identified in 1996 by the Spa Water Strategy Working Group; the restoration of many of the historic springs and wells around the Malvern Hills. The group included Councillors John Ford and John Tretheway, Jim Black from Severn Trent Water, Carly Tinkler a Landscape Architect and Council Planning Officer, and the sculptor Rose Garrard. On 18th September 1998 they founded the Malvern Spa Association (MSA) and established a new initiative, the ‘Spring Restoration Project’. Soon after this, and now with an enthusiastic community-based membership, the MSA determined that in order to ensure the future of this project it would devote its energies to research and restoration fund-raising, plus water-related events promoting the unique spring water heritage of the Malverns. John Ford was elected as the first MSA Chairman in 1998, followed by Carly Tinkler in 2002 and Rose Garrard in 2006.
As unpaid volunteers the MSA committee worked hard to prepare detailed research on the history, current condition and restoration needed at 20 spring water sites. In 2002 all this information was given to the local Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty office (AONB) to prepare as a Lottery bid on the MSA’s behalf. In 2004, with a grant of £270,000 awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for work on up to 20 sites, the AONB took over the management of this budget and of the ‘Spring Restoration Project’ itself. In collaboration with the Malvern Hills Conservators, the AONB incorporated the restoration of the springs into their larger ‘Malvern Heritage Project’ for cattle grazing on the hills.
Royal Well spout during restoration in 2008 with antique replacement coat of arms now in place, found and restored by Rose Garrard.
Throughout the following years the MSA committee worked closely with local residents, all the site owners of the springs and with the AONB to ensure that these structures, and wherever possible their water supplies, were accurately restored to the highest standards. For nine years Rose worked tirelessly as an MSA volunteer to help achieve the best possible restoration of twenty historic spring water sites. But as MSA Chair, from November 2006 Rose found she was not being included in the AONB on-site meetings, preventing her from contributing further to the crucial final stages of each site restoration process. Consequently, feeling blocked from the project, immediately after completing previously agreed work on the new MSA website and the ’Cascade Gates’ at the Clock Tower, Rose resigned in September 2007.
Happily, Malvhina has provided a new source of spring water to the public since 1998 and spring drinking water is now also available at five further sources, Lower Wyche Spout, Jubilee Fountain, the Clock Tower, West Malvern Tap and the Royal Well, doubling the number of Malvern’s functioning public spouts to twelve, as a result of this MSA restoration initiative.
The repair work on the structures at 17 spring water sites is scheduled to be completed by the AONB in 2008 as part of the Malvern Heritage Project: