|In its original setting in an ornamental lake the water level would have lapped the lip of the bowl and most of the unsightly boiler-plate cylinder would have been concealed.|
"The fountain’s presence in the city is something of an historical accident. It was built by Thompson-Houston Ltd, a subsidiary of an American electricity company, for the British Empire Exhibition, 1924, staged around Wembley Stadium.
It was moved to Brighton in 1930 when a new location was required. It costs £8,000-£9,000 a year to run – roughly twice the cost of a modern replacement. When working, it typically sprays water across a wide area because it was originally designed to sit in an ornamental lake.
The fountain was also originally to be illuminated by the General Electrics-branded Mazda light bulbs which give the fountain its name. Restoring lighting to the fountain is estimated to cost up to £30,000, and would add to maintenance and running costs."
In the forthcoming plans to enhance Valley Gardens water features would still play a key role. A new public square with integrated fountains to the south of St Peter’s church would aim to enhance its setting. New drinking fountains and restoration of the obelisk drinking fountain are also planned. A brook or ‘rill’ is is envisaged which would run south through the centre of the green spaces, hinting at the Wellesbourne, a seasonal river that once ran through the area.
A sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) would have features designed to collect and slowly release rainwater, reducing flash flooding associated with modern weather patterns. The rill and SUDs system would help support increased biodiversity in the centre of the city.
Councillors last week gave the go-ahead for the scheme to progress to technical design stage. Subject to further approvals, construction work could start in September.