Fantasy Fountain

23 July 2022

Hubert Fountain, Victoria Park, Jemmett Road, Ashford, Kent,

To create Fantasy Fountain, my team and I held workshops with young people in Ashford. We created musical instruments that use water to create sound (e.g. bird water whistles, and water pitch pipes), and recorded them to feature in the work. These sounds were edited, processed and sampled into keyboard instruments used to compose Fantasy Fountain.

At the premiere on 23rd July 2022, Year 4 and 5 students from Ashford Oaks Primary School, accompanied by Mr Ant Mason, demonstrated the instruments they made that feature in the work, and we present 100 limited edition free musical scores to members of public, containing the composition and a summary of our research. Scores were submitted to local and national archives for future generations to access.

We also have made a game: Create your Own Fantasy Fountain. It features a selection of fountain parts from the foundry's original 1862 catalogue (spouts, basins, water features, statues, etc) and additional fantastical elements.

Stereo sound piece/composition by Emily Peasgood featuring samples of water instruments created by children, young people and adults in Ashford.

Limited edition print run of 150 illustrated musical scores, free at the premiere and available as a free online e-score.

Create Your Own Fantasy Fountain paper cut out game.

Equipment & software: Zoom H6, RX Audio Editor, Logic Pro & Protools.

Lead artist, researcher, composer, recordist and musical score layout: Emily Peasgood. Technical support by Sam Slattery. Sound piece mixed by Al Harle at Big Jelly Studios.

Workshop design and research by Emily Peasgood, Dani Osoba and Djuna Mount. Make your Own Fantasy Fountain game by Dani Osoba. Musical score illustration by Djuna Mount.

Participants: Ashford Oaks Primary School: Mr Mason, Abigail, Ayela, Bailey, Ezina, Freddey, Hannah, Harry, Jethang, Jessica, Layomi, Michelle, Noah, Rosie, Wayne and Zach. Young people from Millbank Reception Centre in Ashford. Community Hub drop in participants: Benchick B Burre, Evie Laker, Louise Laker, and anonymous contributors.


Create Your Own Fantasy Fountain


Mr Harper, a local antiques dealer and philanthropist bought the fountain in 1910. He wanted to gift it to the town he loved on the condition they dismantle and re-erect it in the park at their own expense (Filmer, 1983, pp. 12-13). However, the Council were initially against the idea due to the cost and Mr Harper felt snubbed (Ogley, 1996, p. 97). Eventually, he agreed to pay the expense on the condition there would be a water display every year on his birthday: the 23rd of July. However, his motives were criticised and he suffered a depression. He told the Kentish Express: “I’m giving the fountain to the town I love […] I have been slighted because men who ought to know better have imputed all sorts of motives to me” (Quoted in Ogley, 1996, p. 97).


On 24th July 1912, after his 71st birthday, the fountain was presented to the town. Unfortunately, Mr Harper was unwell and could not attend. A few weeks later the townspeople were shocked when they discovered that Mr Harper had taken his own life (Ogley, 1996, p. 97).


The fountain has remained in Victoria Park since, and twice been restored by Ashford Council: the first time in 1977 to mark the Queens silver jubilee, and the 2nd in 1998 following an award from the National Lottery Fund (Salter, 2012).

Mr Harper believed that there was originally a musical device inside the fountain. In fact, the opening ceremony brochure states: “It originally possessed a set of sixty-four whistles which were actuated by the water whilst the fountain was playing. These, however, are out of order, and are not fitted in place” (Urban District Council Amusements Committee, 1912, p. 13).


While researching the fountain the foundry confirmed it was never equipped with a musical device (Jacquard, 2022). The fountain has changed hands a few times, and my in-depth research and knowledge of musical instrument design suggests that the musical element of Mr Harper’s Fountain is a fantastical idea, perhaps created by Mr Harper by means of persuading the council to accept his gift, and then passed down through the generations. Or maybe Erle-Drax of Olantigh told a fib to make the sale? We shall never know.


What we can say is Mr Harper's Musical Fountain is a fantastical idea, kept alive by local people for more than 100 years. Fantasy Fountain celebrates this. Mr Harper wanted a musical fountain, as do the people who have shared its fantastical legacy and this work aims to capture how it might have sounded if it were one.



Vasque Monumental No. 19 (E-monumen, 1867).


To create Fantasy Fountain, my team and I held workshops with young people in Ashford. We created musical instruments that use water to create sound (e.g. bird water whistles, and water pitch pipes), and recorded them to feature in the work. These sounds were edited, processed and sampled into keyboard instruments used to compose Fantasy Fountain.


The music captures a sense of the imagery it depicts, accompanied with sounds the fountain is believed to have played: water trumpets, bells, pipes, whistles and bird calls. It is magical, fantastical and bonkers.


The recorded music premiered through speakers on Saturday 23 July 2022, on Mr Harper’s birthday, with a demonstration of bird whistles by Ashford Oaks Primary School children. A recording will eventually be installed permanently at a listening point in Victoria Park.

Ashford Green Corridor Heritage Project (2008) Ashford Green Corridor Heritage Project. Available at: (Accessed: 31 May 2022).

Barbezat & Cie (1849 [1866] Hauts-fourneaux et fonderies du Val D'Osne: Barbezat et cie: fontes d'art. Extrait De L'Album No. 1. Paris, France: Barbezat & Cie. Available at: (Accessed: 31 May 2022).

Barbezat & Cie (1880) Maitres de forges: Ancienne Maison J.P.V. André : usine au Val d'Osne Hte. Marne. Paris, France: Barbezat & Cie. Available at: (Accessed: 31 May 2022).

Cassell’s Illustrated Exhibitor (1862) London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin. Available at: (Accessed: 24 05 May 2022).

Drakes, C. (no date) Drax, Dracas, Dracass & Drakes. Available at: (Accessed: 5 June 2022).

E-monumen (1862) VO PUB 1862 PL4 – Fontaine. Available at:  (Accessed: 23 June 2022).

E-monumen (1867) VOL 2 PL555 – Vasque. Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2022).

Filmer, R. (1983) Old Ashford: A Photographic Record of the Last 120 Years. Rainham, Kent: Meresborough Books.

Historic England (2022) Hubert Fountain. Available at: (Accessed: 17 June 2022).

Jacquard, G. (2022) Email to Emily Peasgood, 23 May 2022.

Murray, A. (1863) The Book of the Royal Horticultural Society. London: Bradbury and Evans. Available at: (Accessed: 5 June 2022).

Loyer, F. (1983) Architecture of the Industrial Age, 1789-1914. Milan, Italy: Skira.

Ogley, B. (1996) Kent: A Chronicle of the Century. Volume One: 1900-1924. (4 vols.). Brasted Chart, Westerham, Kent: Froglets Publications. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2022).

Rimmel, E. (1870) Recollections of the Paris exhibition of 1867. London: Chapman and Hall.

Ruderman, A. (1994) A History of Ashford. Chichester: Phillimore.

Salter, S. (2012) ‘Fountain celebrates a century in park: The Kentish Express Memories Page with Steve Salter’, Kentish Express Ashford & District (19 July 2012). Available at: (Accessed: 25 May 2022).

Section Française: Catalogue Officiel (1862) Paris, France: Imprimerie Impériale.

Sworders (2020) 331 Sir Francis Grant RA (Scottish, 1803-1878): Portrait of John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge Erle-Drax, MP (1800-1887). Accessed: 25 May 2022.

The Illustrated London News (1862). ‘Bronze Fountain in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gardens. Designed by Lienard, modelled by Moreau, cast by Barbezat, fitted and erected by Hubert’, The Illustrated London News, Vol XL, Jan to June, 1862,London: George C. Leighton. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2022).

Urban District Council Amusements Committee (1912) Souvenir. Presentation of the Grand Fountain in Victoria Park, Ashford, Given By George Harper, Esq. July 24th 1912.

Wallis, G. (1868) Bronzes and other Art Castings and Repoussé Work’, in Reports on the Paris Universal Exhibition, 1867. Volume II. London: George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode.

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