Buxton Memorial Fountain: A Historical Landmark in the Heart of the City

Westminster is home to many historic structures, including The Burghers of Calais sculpture by Auguste Rodin and the Houses of Parliament. However, nestled at the end of Victoria Gardens is the Buxton Memorial Fountain, a structure with a rich history that commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire.

The Buxton Memorial Fountain serves as both a site of remembrance and a water fountain, and its stunning design makes it a must-visit destination for those interested in British history. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of the Buxton Memorial Fountain and provide practical information for those looking to visit.

Key Takeaways

  • The Buxton Memorial Fountain commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire.
  • The fountain is located at the end of Victoria Gardens in Westminster.
  • Visitors can enjoy the fountain’s stunning design and rich history.

Why Visit The Buxton Memorial Fountain?

The Buxton Memorial Fountain is a must-see for anyone interested in British history and abolitionism. This extravagant memorial commemorates the abolition of slavery and pays tribute to Fowell Buxton, MP and abolitionist. Visitors can admire the fountain’s intricate design and take a moment to reflect on the significant role that Buxton played in the fight against slavery.

In addition to its historical significance, the fountain also serves a practical purpose as a drinking fountain. Visitors can quench their thirst while taking in the stunning architecture and learning about the important events that the memorial represents.

Overall, the Buxton Memorial Fountain is a unique and meaningful destination that offers both historical and practical value to visitors.

The History of The Buxton Memorial Fountain

The Rule

During the 1830s, the British Empire was at the height of its power, commanding an empire that spanned the world. The imperialists believed it was their right to exploit the world for its resources, including tea, spices, and even slaves. For most people living in the 1800s, imperialism was a fact of life, and the actions of the Empire were seen as good and noble.

The Exception

Despite the British Empire’s exploitative nature, abolition was an exception to the rule. By 1807, slavery had been outlawed in the British Empire, but the law was struggling to enforce the rules on private companies operating thousands of miles away from London. It took William Wilberforce nearly 30 years to persuade Parliament to abolish slavery, and his followers another 30 years to enforce it.

Thomas Fowell Buxton was among the people who joined Wilberforce’s cause. Along with Thomas Clarkson, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Henry Brougham, and Stephen Lushington, they staked their careers to ensure that the Empire would be rid of slavery. Their success in the rather undramatic fashion of parliamentary politics went against most of the institutions that were getting enormously rich from the slave trade. They inspired a global movement for the abolition of slavery.

The Memorial

In honor of the work of Thomas Fowell Buxton, Wilberforce, and the other abolitionists, the Buxton Memorial Fountain was erected by Charles Buxton, Thomas Fowell Buxton’s son. Buxton, an amateur architect, designed the memorial himself with the help of architect Samuel Teulon, whose neo-Gothic hand is visible in the style of the memorial.

The Buxton Memorial Fountain is octagonal, and each face has an arch. Each of these arches houses an image of a British ruler, the most important in history. The Briton King Caractacus, Roman Constantine, Danish Canute, Saxon King Alfred, Norman William the Conqueror, and Queen Victoria, the monarch at the time of the memorial’s construction, are all depicted on the fountain.

The drinking fountain bears an inscription in memory of the abolitionists, honoring the people who proved the exception to the rule and ended slavery.

The Buxton Memorial Fountain: Practical Information

The Buxton Memorial Fountain is a historic landmark located in London’s Victoria Tower Gardens. The fountain was built in 1865 in honor of Charles Buxton, a British politician and philanthropist.

Here are some practical details about the Buxton Memorial Fountain:

  • Location: Victoria Tower Gardens, London SW1P 3JA, United Kingdom
  • Opening Hours: The park is open daily from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
  • Admission: Free
  • Accessibility: The park and fountain are accessible to wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.
  • Facilities: The park has public restrooms, benches, and picnic areas.
  • Nearby attractions: The Buxton Memorial Fountain is located near the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye.

Visitors to the Buxton Memorial Fountain can enjoy a peaceful stroll through the park and take in the beautiful fountain’s intricate design. The fountain features four bronze figures representing the arts, agriculture, science, and industry, and is topped by a statue of the Greek god Anteros.

Overall, the Buxton Memorial Fountain is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting London who appreciates history and beautiful architecture.