Once again, controversy surrounds the future of the so-called Shelley Fountain in Horsham.
The fact that this water feature has nothing whatsoever to do with the romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley who was born at Field Place near Broadbridge Heath in 1792, must surely be a consideration. Donated to the town by a local supermarket - and originally commissioned and rejected by the City of Cambridge - I was present at its official opening in 1992 to mark the bicentenary of Shelley’s birth.
Angela Connor’s water sculpture was officially ‘blessed’ by the left-wing journalist and writer, the late Paul Foot - author of ‘Red Shelley’ in which his focus is more upon the poet’s radical politics, his atheism and his feminist views - rather than his poetry.
Whether Mr Foot was briefed upon the background of the fountain, I am unable to say.
However, as regards any Shelley connection, suffice to say the fountain is completely phoney.
The cost of maintaining Angela Connor’s water feature over the years has been considerable and in these cash-strapped days, one has to question its future.
For ‘Rising Universe’ is rather like Marmite - you either love it or hate it. So what would replace the fountain - and who would meet the cost? I would suggest a statue financed by public subscription.
The Midlands town of Dudley has an impressive statue of its most famous son - surely our greatest footballer ever - Duncan Edwards - who so tragically lost his life at the age of 21 in the Munich air disaster of 1958.
Can Horsham boast of a comparable sportsman? I would suggest a statue of Slinfold born, Alf Shrubb - athlete extraordinaire and one-time member of Horsham’s Blue Star Harriers - and who once raced a horse from the Bedford Hotel in Station Road! Those interested in Shrubb’s impressive athletic career should visit the Horsham Museum.
Shrubb may not have the aesthetic appeal of Shelley but he would, I suggest, act as an inspiration to the young to participate in some form of sport, rather than to spend their youth indoors watching computer games.
That surely can’t be bad!
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