Who among us doesn’t just love jetting water? Think about it – from those rather absurd, no-flow control drinking water fountains of yesteryear, to magical musical fountains which lit up in all the rainbow colours and the quintessential exploding water bombs and pranking someone with an unexpected squirt of water …

In the early 19th century, London and Paris built aqueducts and new fountains to supply clean drinking water to their exploding populations.

Fountains became a decorative feature of the English country house as early as the end of the 17th century. These baroque fountains were influenced by the fountains of the Italian Renaissance garden and the Garden à la française, particularly the fountains of Versailles. Chatsworth House in Derbyshire featured a cascade and fountains (1696-1703) in the style of French baroque gardens. It had a seahorse fountain and a willow tree fountain, which sprayed water on unsuspecting visitors.

In 1843 the Duke of Devonshire, the owner of Chatworth House, learned that the Tsar Nicholas of Russia was planning to visit his home. To mark the occasion, the Duke commissioned the architect Richard Paxton to construct the world’s highest fountain on his estate. Paxton built an eight-acre lake as a reservoir for the fountain, 350 feet above the level of the fountain, to provide water pressure. The Emperor Fountain was finished in just six months, and could jet water 296 feet high. Unfortunately the Tsar never came to see fountain, but it still functions today.

In the nineteenth century, the development of steam engines allowed the construction of more dramatic fountains. In the middle of the century the Earl of Stamford built the Great Fountain, Enville, which jetted water 150 feet above the surface of a lake on his estate. He used two steam engines to pump water to a reservoir at the top of the hill above his estate. The fountain could spout water for several minutes, until the reservoir was empty.

In the early 21st Century, Lord Neidpath (now Earl of Wemyss and March) commissioned a giant, gravity-fed fountain at his family’s ancestral home of Stanway House, in the Cotswolds. The fountain is driven by two reservoirs over a mile from the Canal in the gardens of the house, and the custom-made bronze nozzle in the lake can produce a plume of water 300ft tall. The fountain is the tallest gravity-fed fountain in the world, and the second tallest fountain of any kind in Europe.

Now that we have your attention, in a water fountain manner of speaking, in the next instalment, I’ll be telling you all about AquAid’s super functional (and pretty darn decorative) drinking water fountains, most especially effective when placed in schools to optimise healthy hydration habits for children.

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