Created By: Cheltenham Local History Society
In 1826 a small pavilion was built at the east end of the Broad Walk to house an 18th-century Italian marble fountain, reportedly by sculptor Bruni. It was looted from Genoa by Napoleon’s army in 1800 before being captured while at sea by a Bristol privateer.
Originally operated by a steam engine the fountain supposedly sent jets of water 32ft (9.7m) into the air. At some point in its life the sculpture met with an accident and the original beaked head of a swan was substituted for the current beaked head of an eagle we see today.
The fountain was re-sited in Montpellier Gardens from 1834-1902, after which it was displayed at various indoor sites around the town including the Town Hall, the Library and the Rotunda.
The Napoleon Fountain, as it used to be known, has now been restored to an alcove at the east end of the Walk once again overlooking Imperial Gardens.
Facing the fountain now turn to your left and take the few steps onto Trafalgar Street. Turn right and at the top cross over Montpellier Spa Road to enter Montpellier Gardens via the entrance.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Public Gardens of Cheltenham
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