HORSHAM’S iconic landmark has been named ‘the ugliest fountain in the world’ by planet’s premier search engine Google.
‘The Risng Universe’, at the bottom of West Street, has attracted controversy over its appearance since its grand opening in 1996.
But now, rumours of its ‘hideous’ presence have been confirmed on the world wide web.
The water feature’s reputation has grown so much that if you type ‘the ugliest fountain in the world’ into Google, the mechanical water sculpture is the first result.
The online result is a blog set up by an American expat who was sent over to work in Horsham for three months in 2001. A photo of the fountain is used as his ‘profile picture’.
The Utah resident explains on his website: “We’d walk down to the town center for lunch... and eat by the horrible Shelley fountain. Horsham was beautiful. The fountain, not so much.”
Angela Conner, the sculptor who spent around nine months toiling on the artwork, told the County Times: “In terms of it’s ‘ugly appearance’; art always has been and will continue to be, a subject that naturally has everybody’s individual opinion.
“Everybody has different views on any poem, piece of music, or sculpture, sometimes through knowledge or lack of it, sometimes through passion.
“In terms of the professional art critics they liked it.”
However, this is not the first time Shelley Fountain has come under fire by the public. It has been subject to a number of repairs in a bid to fix the many operational faults it has suffered, including one that was identified during the re-launch in May 2010, after a protracted period of dysfunction.
The creator says she is ‘puzzled’ by the way in which the council has gone about the repairs over the past few years. “It could have been approached in a simpler way,” she said.
A spokesperson for the authority said: “It can be confirmed that the Shelley Fountain is working and when it has been repaired in the past this has been at no cost to the council tax payer - we secured funds to do this from the west of Horsham developer.
“We have had very positive discussions with fountain creator Angela Conner, including a constructive meeting in July 2010 when the matter was last an issue.”