THIS week several Welshpool residents completed maintenance works on the town's iconic Victorian fountain.

Such deeds would have warmed the hearts of those who first erected it in memory of one of the town's most beloved civic leaders.

Charles Edward Howell died in 1906 and it took three years of public subscriptions before enough money was raised to purchase and install the fountain.

Mr Howell was a former mayor, JP and alderman who died on August 19, 1906 following a lifetime of service to the town.

At the ceremony, Mr Howell of Rhiewport had been described as the 'best son of Welshpool.'

"He loved Welshpool," said Alderman Wyke and the ceremony proved Welshpool had dearly loved the late Mr Howell.

The Charles Howell Fountain. Picture: Geograph.

The Charles Howell Fountain. Picture: Geograph.

The Charles Howell Memorial Fountain.

The Montgomeryshire County Times reported: 'Welshpool loved Mr Charles Howell and reveres the memory of a philanthropist who did so much to earn esteem and affection.'

The entire town had flocked to the ceremony in 1909 and many from further afield who had sought to pay their own respects.

The report continued: 'Whatever he considered designed for the permanent good of Wales found in Mr Howell a warm patron and his heart strings were long enough to reach his pocket.'

Mr Howell had won many admirers for his efforts to rid the town of the slums of Puzzle Square and paid for a wood work department and equipment for the county schools.

However within a year the memorial had come to suffer from neglect.

A letter to the Montgomeryshire County Times read; 'The townspeople surely have a say in regard to the looking after of a monument publicly subscribed for and committed in trust to the elected representatives of the town.

The newspaper report on the opening of the fountain in 1909.

The newspaper report on the opening of the fountain in 1909.

The newspaper article from 1909.

'Why is the water withheld from the fountain and why has it been allowed to get into such a filthy state?'

Another letter from the same year read: 'Although not as picturesque as we would like, still it is there, it is an honour to the dead and it will be appreciated by a great many coming into the town.

'As an architectural ornament it certainly has few admirers but let us hope that as a drinking fountain the public may be able to appreciate it.

'It would appear that prior to assuming its custodianship the corporation have not been particularly concerned with the function it is designed to fulfil or even its cleanliness.

'Surely now that the town is responsible for its maintenance, gratitude for the public benefactions of whom it commemorates will find expression after a fashion creditable to the citizenship of Welshpool.'

With thanks to Dr Rachael Jones, Research Fellow, School of History, Politics, and International Relations, University of Leicester.