Other

Time Flies clock tower and drinking fountain

Erection date: 1909

Inscription

{Inscribed around the central stone interior:}
This fountain was erected in 1909 to the memory of a beloved son and of one who loved little children.

{On each of the four faces of the clock tower:}
Time flies

This inscription fails to name the person(s) who erected this substantial memorial, nor does it name the dedicatees.

The British Newspapers Archive holds The Graphic, 25 December 1909 which has an image of the shelter and tells that the children's playground was laid out this year; that this shelter was erected this year; that the bird on the weather vane is a seagull; and that the architect was Alfred Young Nutt (1847 - 1924). But provides no information about who erected it nor who is commemorated.

This initiated months of research and discussion between us and our consultant, Andrew Behan. No definitive answers were forthcoming but we found names that we think are probably right.

To begin our detective work we examined the text closely. This fountain was erected in 1909 'to the memory of' two people: a 'beloved son' and 'one who loved little children'.  ‘To the memory of’ must surely mean that these two people had died by 1909. The son was surely the son of the person erecting the memorial. If he were a nephew, or anything else, other wording would have been used. And we would guess that he had died quite recently and was no more than a child or young man when he died. The ‘one who loved little children’ is a secondary dedicatee who probably died as an adult.

It was researching the nearby Elfin Oak that gave us the clues to conclude that:
Mrs Galpin was probably not the donor of the clock tower (whatever a document says).
Lady Emily Fortescue was the donor, together with her husband, Hugh, the 4th Earl.
Their son, Geoffrey who died in 1900, aged 9 was the 'beloved son'.
The Earl's father, who had 14 children and died 1905, was the 'one who loved little children'.

See our page for Lady Emily Fortescue for the evidence.

Site: Time Flies clock tower + Elfin Oak (2 memorials)

W8, Broad Walk, Kensington Gardens

The aviary-type structure to the left of our photo is the cage which protects the Elfin Oak. Coins lie on the ground inside the cage. The clock tower is topped with a weather vane including a bird with outstretched wings.

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Time Flies clock tower and drinking fountain

Subjects commemorated i

Geoffrey Faithful Fortescue

Died aged 9. We believe this was the 'beloved son' of Lady Emily Fortescue, c...

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Hugh Fortescue, 3rd Earl Fortescue

Peer and occasional Liberal Party politician. Known as Viscount Ebrington, 18...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Time Flies clock tower and drinking fountain

Created by i

Lady Emily Fortescue

With one clue from a Council document related to the impressive Time Flies cl...

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Mrs Galpin

The Kensington Gardens Management Plan informs that the fountain was the gift...

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This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
Time Flies clock tower and drinking fountain

Also at this site i

Elfin Oak

Elfin Oak

For hundreds of years, no one knows for how many, this tree lived its life qu...

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