Page updated 4th September 2016
The night of the Exeter blitz of the 4/5th May 1942 was remembered with the Exeter Phoenix Blitz Fountain at the end of Princesshay, near Eastgate. The artwork was a memorial to when one hundred German bombers dropped 10,000 incendiary bombs and 75 tons of high explosives on Exeter, destroying much of the heart of the city. That night, 1400 houses, were destroyed, of which 700 were in Newtown. About 80 died and over a hundred injured.
The fountain was
sculpted by Roger Dean using fibreglass, and unveiled on the 50th
anniversary in 1992. The installation required a large, brick lined hole to accommodate the pump with fountain on top. It showed the skyline of the city on the night of the 4 May 1942, with the Cathedral in the centre, surrounded by ruined and burnt out buildings.
Land Securities were going to relocate this piece near Broadwalk House in 2007 after it was removed for the Princesshay redevelopment. However, its construction of fibreglass and heavy weight meant that it could not be removed without it being damaged.
Roger Dean was therefore commissioned to produce another piece on the same theme for the new location–the double sided memorial is situated between Roman Walk and Broadgate House. The design is similar to the fountain, although the Cathedral is more dominant. It is a more successful piece than the fountain, which not only suffered from wear and tear, but was the subject of copious quantities of detergent added to the water, and the bubbles proved to be a rather tedious joke.
Also see the Armillary Sphere at the Quay.
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