The Toynbee Fountain was built in memory of Joseph Toynbee, a famous Victorian ear surgeon, known for dissecting over two thousand human ears in his lifetime and syringing the ears of Queen Victoria herself. As well as his medical work, he was a passionate supporter of his local area in London, campaigning to save Wimbledon Common for the public. His daughter, Grace Toynbee, was herself a pioneering bacteriologist, one of the first female fellows of the Chemical Society. Local pupils learnt about Victorian science and met the stonemasons restoring the fountain back to working order.
“I want to bring my Grandma to Toynbee fountain because she lives just at the bottom of the hill and when we would go on walks when I was younger she would always walk past and be like “What is that, I’ve never known what that is! And why is it there?” So I would take her to the fountain and explain to her.”
Eva, aged 14
“I liked seeing how it was being restored, how, like, all the tools worked and what they meant and like the difference between tools in the past and tools today.”
Sophia, aged 13
“I liked being able to go and touch all the pieces that belonged to the actual fountain and see where the cement was.”
Eva, aged 13