On Saturday, 2nd June 1951, the summer of the Festival of Britain, the Western Evening Herald reported a curious event in its regular column, “A Citizen’s Diary.”

“At an informal ceremony yesterday, Mr J Paton Watson, Plymouth City Engineer, turned on a new drinking fountain for dogs in Central Park.

The drinking fountain is a Festival contribution from ‘Lassie Pepper,’ a cocker spaniel whose name is inscribed on the fountain.  Her owners prefer to remain anonymous and to give all the credit to Lassie.

On Thursday Lassie gave birth to eight fine pedigree puppies to celebrate a momentous occasion.”  

The drinking fountain was a cube-shaped block of granite with about eight-inch sides and a dished top with a hole so that water could fill it when plumbed into a supply.  It was inscribed “FROM LASSIE PEPPER” and situated close to the former toilets and changing rooms near the clock tower.

The Lassie Pepper fountain was removed for safe-keeping by Plymouth City Council’s Street Services staff when construction work started on the Meadow Café in 2018 and awaits a suitable opportunity to be re-installed.   

The Lassie Pepper dog’s drinking fountain (Andrew Young)