Events and Meetings


15 May 2019 5.30pm for refreshments; 6pm for start of meeting; 7.30pm end of meeting and adjourn for informal discussion at The Brasco Lounge just round the corner.

A “waterfall” in the city centre: The story of Richard Huws’ “Bucket Fountain”

RIBA-NORTH, Mann Island Liverpool.  |  FREE


Known locally as the ‘bucket fountain’, Richard Huws’ kinetic fountain comes with many names. Former MCS Chairman, Quentin Hughes, in his 1969 publication Liverpool in the Studio Vista City Buildings series, called it the ‘Piazza Waterfall, Wilberforce House’.  Why ‘waterfall’ one may ask?  The answer was given in an episode recounted by Richard Huws himself in answering a questioner who had said: ‘What is it? What is it meant to be?’  ‘It is a waterfall’, he replied, ‘of a strange new kind which instead of streaming steadily hurtles down unexpectedly in detached lumps in all directions … whose sound and movement is no longer that of a monotonous ever-burbling river, but that of the restless temperamental sea.’

This evening’s presentation will recount how in 1962 the Merseyside Civic Society commissioned the Welsh engineer and designer Richard Huws to design a kinetic fountain for central Liverpool.  Covering its origins, design and siting through to its opening in May 1967, it will then turn to the story of its subsequent demise and restoration in 1997-2000 and its present condition in the renamed Beetham Plaza. The presentation will provide an essential background to the current application for the fountain and its viewing platforms to be listed by Historic England and the debate on its future in the light of development proposals for Beetham Plaza.

SPEAKER:Dr Richard Moore.  Dr Moore is a former student of Richard Huws, who was lecturing at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture while working on the kinetic fountain in the mid-1960s. His illustrated presentation will report on the new research he and several colleagues of the same generation at the School have recently completed on the history of the fountain.