Saturday, May 31, 2008

Photo-Essay: A memorial to mom!

Last week, I stumbled across another of those hidden gems of London.

While haring off to go visit a conference and meet old friends, I stopped at the corner of Finsbury Square.

I thought it was a clock tower at first and then thought it was a statue tower with the statue missing. See those big rounded windows at the top? It is made out of marble and granite.

It says:

Erected and Presented

to the

Parish of St. Luke


Thomas and Walter Smith


To commemorate the life of their mother

Martha Smith



Unfortunately, I could not find anything on the internet on any of the names. Here's some background on the Parish of St. Luke.

Here is another view (90 degrees right from the previous view) of the fountain. Apologies for the quality of the photo's, I am still trying to figure out the workings of this new camera phone.

But I spent some minutes standing there in the freezing cold just looking at it. It is obvious that the Smith brothers were wealthy to afford such an edifice. And despite the lack of information, it had to take some time to make, sculpt, construct, etc. etc.

While the cynical bit in me did flirt with the idea that because it was such an expensive gift, it could have been just for show, but then I felt bad about feeling cynical. It could well have been that Martha struggled to raise her 2 sons from deep poverty. Or she could have been a very big charitable lady in the local church. And when she died, her son's celebrated her life by building something that will help millions of thirsty people down the ages. Every time somebody drinks from that fountain, Martha Smith is remembered. Perhaps a variety on the Prayer Wheels concept?

Given the history of London is replete with rich individuals gifting such structures to the Church and being charitable, I am not surprised about this fountain either. And after all that high flying emotional stuff, my daughter got me down to earth by saying, that looks like the top of the Gruesome Twosome's car called as Creepy Coupe in the Wacky Races.

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