Specific Features SEARCH
Locality SEARCH
Web Sites INDEX
Malverns Worldwide News
Malvern Bookshop
British National Parks

Foley Fountain

NGR 77475 45869
Site Number: C122
By Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver (C) 2012
Area 1. Malvern Town Centre Springs and Wells
Malvern Hills, England

Location: In the gardens of the Mount Pleasant Hotel by the side door.
Description: A marble basin and fish head spout

In August 1830 the young Princess Victoria and her mother, the Duchess of Kent, came to Malvern for a 10-week holiday to improve their health. During their visit the duchess celebrated her 44th birthday and to honour the occasion this fish-head spout and marble basin were installed at St Ann's Well by Edward Foley, Lord of the Manor of Great Malvern. In 1892 it was moved to Mount Pleasant, then owned by Lady Emily Foley, who installed a new spout and basin at the well.

This basin is one of Malvern's great treasures but inevitably it deteriorates as time passes. At some time in the past the basin was broken and inexpertly repaired and in 2004 those repairs fractured into three pieces. The damage was repaired by stonemason Ben Davis of Worcester and paid for by Malvern Civic Society. This is one of Malvern's earliest water features and deserves a suitable canopy to prevent further weathering and deterioration.

In October 2011 the fountain was again in pieces. Friends, in conjunction with Mount Pleasant's assistant manager Jason Evans, arranged for the restoration of this unique Malvern treasure. The fountain was repaired, in situ, on Wednesday 16th November 2011, by stonemason Tom Adams. Catherine Martin subsequently took over restoration following a complete break up of the basin and decay of the dolphin head spout. This culminated in the installation of a plaque in 2021. During this latter period efforts were made to build a shelter for the fountain but this was thwarted by the planning department. As a result the fountain continues to be under threat from the weather. 

Back in November 2011 geologist Margaret Rodway and her diving rods visited Mount Pleasant, to search for evidence of underground water pipes. Margaret discovered that a pipe, now dry, runs uphill from the rear of the fountain, parallel with the south wall of Mount Pleasant, towards St Ann's Well. What is still uncertain, is whether the pipe runs directly to St Ann's Well or whether it is a spur from the pipe that carried water from St Ann's Well to Burrows' large water tanks at the back of Belle Vue Terrace.

In the picture by Lane left, ladies taking the waters from the then recently installed Foley Fountain.


The Mount Pleasant - Plans for a new visitor centre 'Gateway to the Hills' took a giant leap forward during Civic Week 2012.  On Friday 8th June a reception and presentation was held to launch the Gateway project. The event began with a conducted walk through Great Malvern, led by Cora Weaver of Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells, who outlined the impressive heritage and visitor attractions of the town. Ending at the Mount Pleasant Hotel for afternoon tea and cakes, Bruce Osborne of Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells then presented the case for the new visitor centre Gateway to the Hills, to be created by transforming the Mount Pleasant Hotel and grounds in Great Malvern.  


He said that although not formally named a National Park, the Malvern Hills are arguably Great Britain's original National Park. Established as a protected landscape by Act of Parliament in 1884, the Malvern Hills Conservators own and manage the landscape on behalf of the nation, thus conforming to the international definition of a National Park. There are now 15 formal British National Parks, all established since the Second World War and the Malvern Hills makes an unnamed 16th. One big difference however between the Malvern Hills and the formal National Parks is that the Malvern Hills lacks a formal Visitor Centre, often the first stopping off place for tourists.


A further issue with Malvern is the link between the town and the hills. Many town visitors can see the hills but do not know how to reach them. This is now being addressed by the 'Route to the Hills' scheme initiated by Malvern Hills District Council. The Mount Pleasant is ideally located as the link between the landscape of the Hills and the townscape and this is addressed through the aptly named Gateway project.


Following the presentation, the Gateway to the Hills project was launched with a champagne toast, when young Joshua Thiele skilfully rang a welcoming peal on an historic brass hand bell. Joshua, from North Staffordshire, was visiting Malvern with his family, and was one of a number of tourists and local people at the launch. Then Cora and Bruce together cut the ribbon at the entrance to the Mount Pleasant's new Malvern Tea Rooms, the first stage in the development of the extended facilities for the Mount Pleasant.


Following the launch the guests then explored the gardens. They saw the buildings and grounds that will be developed as the Gateway visitor centre. This will provide services including advice, accommodation and refreshments for visitors, whether they are travelling by car, bike or on foot. It will offer a range of specialist interpretation and information resources, including guided walks, books, maps and special events, complimenting those offered by Malvern Tourist Information Centre. There will also be heritage artefacts on display portraying the heritage of the town and hills. In addition it will be a new way of discovering the celebrated Springs and Wells through a passport scheme. The unique position of the Mount Pleasant means that it will be the re-creation of the vital link between the Hills and the townscape. It is adjacent to the historic 99 steps and reinstates the processional way of the ancient Monks of Malvern Priory, as they once made their way to and from the hillside hermitage of St Werstan the Martyr, the founding monk of Malvern.


"We believe this is a much better proposition than trying to re-establish a tea hut on the summit of the hills or a series of ad hoc services scattered over a wide area," said Dr Bruce Osborne of the Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells, "The Gateway will be the visitor centre for what is really Britain's original National Park".
For further information on the Gateway click the logo above.
Tea in the Gardens in the 1950s - a tradition still prevailing at the Mount Pleasant. The Foley Fountain is located outside by the door in the centre of the building as pictured, where it can be inspected. The planned Gateway facilities will be in the buildings to the left of the main building.
The map alongside is a small section of our more comprehensive map of the area. For the complete map together with a description and history of this site see "Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills" (2012).
Click on Website below or the top banner to go to the DISCOVERY TRAIL INDEX of springs and wells.

Website: Click Here



Celebrated Springs of 


A definitive work that is the culmination of 20 years researching the springs and wells of the Malvern Hills, published by Phillimore. This is the ideal explorers guide enabling the reader to discover the location and often the astounding and long forgotten history of over 130 celebrated springs and wells sites around the Malvern Hills. The book is hard back with dust cover, large quarto size with lavish illustrations and extended text. Celebrated Springs contains about 200 illustrations and well researched text over a similar number of pages, together with seven area maps to guide the explorer to the locations around the Malvern Hills. It also includes details on the long history of bottling water in the Malvern Hills.

Written by Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver, this book is available on-line for £15.00 (delivered UK) - click Malvern Bookshop on the green panel top left. Alternatively send a cheque payable to Cora Weaver with your name and address to 4 Hall Green, Malvern, Worcs. WR14 3QX.

Malvern Hills - arguably Britain's original National Park
Built Up Location
A Spring, Spout, Fountain or Holy Well Site
4 SPLASHES - Well Worth Finding
Access On Foot
On Private Property
Free Public Access

(c)2024 SPAS Research Fellowship Terms & Conditions