Barrans Fountain graffiti: Yobs in Leeds target Roundhay Park fountain in ‘totally senseless’ act of vandalism

A Grade-II listed structure in a Leeds beauty spot was targeted by vandals scrawling unintelligible spray-painted slogans across its façade.
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Council workers arrived at Roundhay Park on Monday (June 28) morning for another day of upkeep at the well-loved green space, but they did not expect to find the historic Barrans Fountain covered in garish red graffiti that appeared to materialise overnight.

The vandalism, described as “totally senseless and incredibly frustrating”, has led to discussions about whether the structure could be covered with a protective layer to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

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Coun Jordan Bowden, who represents the Roundhay ward, said: “We don’t want to see the park abused in any way, shape or form. I was there last weekend to participate in the Dragon Boat Race, which was brilliant, so to see this is really sad.

The vandalism at the Barrans Fountain, in Roundhay Park, was spotted on June 26 and was described as “totally senseless and incredibly frustrating”. It has led to discussions about whether the structure could be covered with a protective layer to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.The vandalism at the Barrans Fountain, in Roundhay Park, was spotted on June 26 and was described as “totally senseless and incredibly frustrating”. It has led to discussions about whether the structure could be covered with a protective layer to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
The vandalism at the Barrans Fountain, in Roundhay Park, was spotted on June 26 and was described as “totally senseless and incredibly frustrating”. It has led to discussions about whether the structure could be covered with a protective layer to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“It’s an incredibly beautiful fountain and people really gravitate towards it. Some people have a lot of memories attached to it. The vandalism is totally senseless and incredibly frustrating.”

It comes after an “explosion” in tagging by vandals was reported in other Leeds wards, including Headingley and Hyde Park.

Soon after the graffiti was spotted at the Barrans Fountain, work quickly began to remove it. But because it is a listed building, the work is being carried out in two stages, the second of which is expected to begin over the coming days.

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The drinking fountain was presented to the park by Sir John Barran MP, who served as the city’s mayor in 1870. It was restored to its former glory as part of a Heritage Lottery funded restoration at the park.

The fountain was gifted to the city by Sir John Barran MP, who was the mayor of the city in 1870. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.The fountain was gifted to the city by Sir John Barran MP, who was the mayor of the city in 1870. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
The fountain was gifted to the city by Sir John Barran MP, who was the mayor of the city in 1870. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Coun Bowden explained that the council is investigating preventative measures to stop any future incidents of vandalism, such as covering the structure in a “protective gel” that would make rogue paintings easier to remove.

He also said that vandals have launched upon other historic structures in the park, including the Oakwood Clock. The clock, that stands at the south side of the park and is more than a century old, has a protective layer of plastic covering its face, meaning that it has avoided lasting damage.

But Coun Bowden said that replacing the plastic and ensuring that graffiti is removed still costs the local authority a significant sum.