Erection date: 21/10/1948
Site: Trafalgar Square fountains - Jellicoe and Beatty (4 memorials)
SW1, Trafalgar Square
Jellicoe and Beatty had each, at different times, been commander of the Grand Fleet in WW1 and had died within 5 months of each other, which explains why their memorials are conjoined, almost duplicates of each other. Each consisting of: a new central fountain; two water-jet-producing bronze sculptural groups; a sculptural bust. All these elements to be placed in one of the pair of large cusped quatrefoil-shaped basins, designed by Charles Barry and installed in 1845 as part of the original design of the Square. Jellicoe's memorial was to occupy the basin to the west and Beatty's that to the east. There is also a central plaque in the ground.
Each basin already had a central fountain, but by January 1940 these had been sent to Canada and replaced with the current vase-shaped fountains designed by Lutyens. Initially the busts, adorned with lions and anchors, were to be on the central fountains. This was changed so that the busts were actually erected on plinths against the north wall of the Square: Beatty, Jellicoe.
The four sculptural groups were also ready by 1940 but their installation was delayed by WW2 and took place in 1948. Each group involves tailed humanoids, otherwise called mermen, merwomen and merchildren, cavorting with dolphins and sharks. Examining these one learns that the mer-kingdom has an odd approach to hair-styling.
The two bronze groups in the Jellicoe basin are by Sir Charles Wheeler. Those in the Beatty basin are by William McMilllan.
Our source for much of this information is the magnificent work 'Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster: Volume 1' by Philip Ward-Jackson.
London Traveller has 1845 drawings and 1908 photos of the Square showing the basins with their original fountains and explains that new fountains were made necessary in the 1930s for technical reasons. That site reports that the original fountains are now in Regina, Saskatchewan, and in Confederation Park, Ottawa, the latter acting as a memorial to Lieutenant Colonel John By.
The Jellicoe and Beatty memorial was inaugurated on Trafalgar Day, 21 October 1948.
Our photos of the sculptural groups are numbered west to east.