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It was most pleasant to see the old drinking water fountain restored as part of what will eventually be a good network of water fountains, thereby prompting many to ditch the act of buying these awful plastic bottles! The drinking fountain was restored as part of the station’s 150th anniversary year, the main part of which is due in October.
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The drinking fountain is so much more pleasant now, a huge change from its former role as a waste-bin and ash receptacle. I’m certain if people saw these fountains actually in use they would not treat them with the contempt usually dealt. There’s another St. Pancras drinking fountain I have written about and which gets quite a bit of rubbish.
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The restored inscription on the St. Pancras drinking fountain
Sadly London still has countless drinking fountains that are totally useless. That I regularly see from the bus, right opposite Regent’s Park station as the bus passes Park Square, is in a most prominent position yet just totally useless. Quite a few of London’s squares and crescents have drinking fountains, practically all non-operable. There are two in Trafalgar Square and just one works. That at Pelham Crescent on the Fulham Road produces zilch H2O.
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How the fountain looks now
The restored water fountain is nice. Its a convenient facility in the midst of one of London’s busiest areas, right next to the tube stations and both railway termini, King’s Cross & St Pancras. Its not the only facility in the area however, there are a couple of new ones in nearby Kings Boulevard.
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How our drinking fountain looked then
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Close up of  the rubbish dumped in the fountain. Exquisite!
There are not really that many operable historic drinking fountains. One of the longer lasting working fountains is perhaps the one opposite St. Paul’s. It once stood at the Guildhall but was moved here in 2012. An investigation by the Guardian found a dearth of drinking fountains across London. There are many water pumps too, all non operable. The Mayor has promised to establish a network of new drinking fountains, with 20 introduced by the end of 2018.
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This drinking fountain is almost right on Oxford Street! Look at the mess! Just disgusting…
I suppose in part the demise of many of these fountains is because millions still buy huge numbers of plastic bottles and the companies in question continue to make these. It is said a million plastic bottles are sold worldwide every single minute! That is roughly 20,000 sold every second. The advantages of these are of course easier packaging, less weight, more can be stored (eg stacked in pallets etc) and can be churned out like there is no tomorrow.
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Useless drinking fountain in Park Square, an area busy with tourists and joggers
Of course that is where the illusion stops. Like a lot of other things in our throw away society, these plastic products essentially are nearly as bad as nuclear waste. No the bottles haven’t got radiation but are infinitely more numerous and more infernal. They cant be got rid of but only processed with difficult means and most end up inland fill or splattered right across our countrysides, gleefully populating the summits of our mountains and eternally sailing the oceans.
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The St Lawrence and Mary Magdalene Drinking Fountain opposite St. Pauls
These bottles therefore have to go somewhere! Its wrong to produce items and hope they disappear into the chain somewhere. They don’t and they never will. So far no-one really wants to own up to the problem of plastic, whether it be the companies producing it or the consumer demanding it. Various solutions are extolled yet none are totally satisfactory and leave a huge environmental issue that is going to haunt us for perhaps centuries.
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Defunct drinking fountain on Fulham Road (Pelham Crescent)
Originally I had intended to do a post on water fountains the week it had been launched in it’s new role. Alas I could not find my pictures of the fountain as it was before, so abandoned the idea. I did eventually find the pictures and the only reason this subject is being done now is because I had been somewhat indisposed thus its a fairly quick write-up in lieu of the tomes I usually do!