Jaffé Memorial FountainType of building: Fountain
Reference number: HB26/27/074
The fountain was originally constructed in the 1870s, in honour of linen merchant Daniel Jaffé.
It was commissioned by his sons, one of whom, Sir Otto Jaffé, was later to become Lord Mayor of Belfast. The fountain stands as a fitting memorial to Daniel Jaffé and to his son Sir Otto Jaffé, two men whose initiative and enterprise contributed so much to the economic life of their adopted city.
The Jaffé FamilyThe Jaffé family came to Belfast in the middle of the 19th century. Daniel, his wife, Frederike, and nine children arrived from their native city of Hamburg in 1852. Among them was Otto, then just six years old, but who was destined to play an important part in the economic and cultural life of his adopted city.
Otto JafféWhile his father and the older boys set up a linen exporting company, Otto was educated at Mr Tate`s school in Holywood, and later in Hamburg and Switzerland. At the age of 21, he went to New York, where he remained for ten years, and where he met his future wife, Paula Hertz. They were married in 1879, and had two sons.
He returned to Belfast in 1877 to run the family business, which was located in Bedford Street, close to the city centre. He proved to be an astute businessman, and built up the company to the point where it was the largest linen exporter in Ireland.
Meanwhile, in 1874, Daniel Jaffé died in the south of France. His sons had him brought back to Belfast, and he was buried in the City Cemetery. Later that year, they erected the Jaffé Fountain in his memory.
Belfast`s Jewish communityIn the years following his return from the United States, Otto Jaffé became closely involved in the life of Belfast`s Jewish community. His father had already established the synagogue of the Belfast Hebrew Congregation in Great Victoria Street and Otto subsequently became its life president.
He also contributed most of the cost of a synagogue in Annesley Street, which was opened in 1904, while his wife Paula set up a school for Jewish children on the Cliftonville Road.
Lord Mayor of BelfastBy this time, Otto had become one of the city`s most prominent citizens.
He was a member of Belfast Harbour Commissioners, a Justice of the Peace, a governor of the Royal Hospital, and a member of the Senate of Queen`s College, later Queen`s University. He was voted on to Belfast City Council in 1894, and five years later he was elected Lord Mayor of the city.
As Lord Mayor, he launched an appeal for the dependants of soldiers fighting in the Boer War, which raised £10,000. He was knighted in March 1900. Four years later, as Sir Otto Jaffé, he was elected Lord Mayor of Belfast for a second time.
However, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 led to an outbreak of anti-German sentiment. Even though his son and his nephew were serving in the British Army, Sir Otto was accused of being a German spy, and forced to resign his seat on Belfast City Council.
As the war went on, the depth of this anti-German feeling intensified, to the point where in 1916, Sir Otto and his family were forced to leave Ulster altogether. He died in London in 1929.
LocationThe memorial was originally located in Victoria Square but in 1933 it was moved to Botanic Gardens to a site on the embankment near the King`s Bridge, where it remained for more than 70 years, neglected and largely ignored.
In 2008, the Jaffé Fountain returned to Victoria Square, as an integral part of the £400 million Victoria Square regeneration scheme.
More informationFind out more about Victoria Square at www.victoriasquare.com
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What does the reference number mean?Example: HB26/01/001
HB stands for Historic Building and the number is the reference which the Northern Ireland Environment Agency allocate to a building once it has been listed.