In the heart of Charlton village is a drinking fountain that arrived a year after the event it commemorates.
It all started on 6th June 1902, when Sir Spencer Maryon-Wilson held a meeting that decided to raise funding for a public drinking fountain, to commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VII which was due to take place in a few weeks time.
The drinking fountain for humans and a water trough for horses was proposed to be placed “under the old tree”, or where the former village stocks had stood. In the end, it went by the old tree, outside the church.
However, the Coronation was delayed by the onset of appendicitis in the King and didn’t take place until August 1902.
In spite of the regal delay, it took until February 1903 for a contract to be issued for the drinking fountain, which went to Messrs Whitehead and Sons in Kennington. A total of £225 had been raised locally, with Sir Maryon-Wilson stumping up £100 of that, which seemed appropriate as it was his idea in the first place. At the time of issuing the building contract, they were still £25 short of the total, and a campaign was set up to persuade the malingerers to pay up.
Fortunately, things progressed well, and in July 1903, the drinking fountain and horse trough were formally unveiled.
The red-tiled roof was seen as fitting in with the church, with the fountain being of polished granite and the roof supported by oak timber, resting on a stone foundation.
The horse tough was sited on the local of the old punishment stocks, while the “old tree”, presumably no longer there or placing the fountain under the tree was very loosely applied, was said to be likely to have dated from when Prince Henry resided at local Charlton House.
The inscription reads: “Erected by Sir Spencer Maryon-Wilson, 11th Bart., and the inhabitants of Charlton, to commemorate the coronation of His Majesty King Edwards VII., August 9th, 1902”
Woolwich Gazette – Friday 06 June 1902
Kentish Independent – Friday 20 February 1903
Kentish Independent – Friday 10 July 1903