The Parsi Fountain in Regents Park


Once a week (weather permitting), when I go for a run through Regents Park, I pass by a curious Victorian fountain. 

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A plaque on the side of the fountain tells us that it was erected in 1869 by ‘Sir Cowasjee Jehangir (Companion of the Star of India), a wealthy Parsee Gentleman of Bombay, as a token of gratitude to the People of England for the protection enjoyed by him and his Parsee Fellow Countrymen under the British Rule in India’.  Above this plaque there is a relief of Sir Cowasjee Jehangir

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The Star of India was a royal order, established in 1861, which was awarded to both Indian and British knights. Initially, the Star of India had only 25 members, but in 1866 (probably the year that  Sir Cowasjee Jehangir received the Star of India) the order was expanded. 

Cowasjee Jehangir photo

 

There is a photograph of  Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Readymoney (1812-1878) in the photo collections I work with at the British Library. The sculpted portrait on the fountain is probably based on this photograph. The 'mitre' shape of his hat in the sculpture is simply from placing the portrait inside a triangular space. He was a famous philanthropist  who came from a family of wealthy Parsi traders. In the 18th Century his grandfather and two great-uncles adopted the surname ‘Readymoney’. 

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