Sleaford’s historic drinking fountain to enter the fightback against plastic waste

People standing by water fountain
Thirty five million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK, contributing to what is widely acknowledged as a crisis for our environment.

Soon, residents of the historic Lincolnshire market town of Sleaford will have a new way of fighting back. Thanks to a £34,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, the town’s ornate Bristol Water Fountain will be brought back into use for the first time since 1904.

The Grade II listed fountain was built in 1874 to provide a source of clean water for Sleaford. Previously, cContaminated water was often taken from the River Slea, which could lead to poor health.

The fountain was used for only 30 years before being shut off in 1904, just three years before plastic was invented.

Its purpose has largely been forgotten and in recent years it has been at risk of irreversible decline. But soon, Sleaford’s residents will again be able to use the fountain for fresh water, refilling their own bottles for free.

The water fountain in Sleaford
Sleaford Water fountain


As well as being repaired and reconnected, the fountain’s stonework and covering plates will be restored and new lighting will keep it gently illuminated into the evenings.

Learning about the importance of clean drinking water and plastic waste reduction

Schools will have the opportunity to learn about its history, alongside the importance of clean drinking water and plastic waste reduction. Sleaford Museum, which received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2013, will create an accompanying exhibition.

David Marriage, vice-chairman of the Sleaford & District Civic Trust and project leader, said: “In the past, clean water played a vital role in improving health and increasing life expectancy in Sleaford. It is fantastic that the fountain can now help us improve the health of the environment by reducing plastic usage.”

The news about the Bristol Water Fountain and its potential environmental benefits comes as The National Lottery Heritage Fund, as part of its new five year Strategic Funding Framework, announces a new requirement of all funded projects – that they consider their impact on nature and the environment.