A picnic in the park as the big opening finally arrives

Then and Now'Mesnes Park fountain restored
Then and Now'Mesnes Park fountain restored

VISITORS to Mesnes Park can now see the Coalbrookdale Fountain flowing for the first time in nearly 100 years.

The historic fountain and the Pulham feature have both been lovingly restored as part of a £6.1m makeover made possible by a bumper Lottery grant.

This Sunday the Mayor of Wigan, Coun Billy Rotherham, is set to officially open the structures at 1pm.

Before that, a community picnic is set to be held around the fountain from midday with music from Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats.

Stuart Murray, chief executive of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT), said: “We are delighted to see the Coalbrookdale Fountain and Pulham feature restored and back where they belong.

“A lot of dedicated people have worked hard to see these historic structures reinstated and this event will mark the culmination of their sterling efforts.

“I would encourage the local community to come along on the day to relax in the park and enjoy the celebrations.”

Coun Billy Rotherham agreed: “It’s wonderful to see the fountain back to its former glory and returned to its rightful home.

“I hope our residents enjoy the monument and other improvements made at Mesnes Park.”

The Coalbrookdale Fountain, which was originally introduced in 1878 but removed in 1921, has been restored by local specialists Lost Art.

Lost Art managing director Dominic Liptrot said: “For us this restoration began more than 18 months ago when we visited the Coalbrookdale Library and a replica in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. It’s been full-on ever since.

“The skills needed to recreate the fountain were unbelievable.

“It’s been as difficult as any project we’ve worked on.

“We’ve used cutting edge technology in the form of laser scanning to create a 3D copy of the fountain, traditional wood carving and specialist casting.

“We even found as many old photographs as we could so that we could calculate the original angle all the cherubs and serpents faced.”

A new pump and filtration system have also been installed into the Pulham Rockwork, alongside a full restoration of the Pulhamite feature, meaning the park’s waterfall can now flow once again.

Coun Chris Ready, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “The Coalbrookdale Fountain and the Pulham Feature are two of Mesnes Park’s historic treasures and it is wonderful to see them restored.

“This is a key moment in the £6.1m project to restore the park to its former glory.”