This puzzled me, as I was looking for the fountain and couldn’t initially see it, before I realised that it has been repurposed a little. And by repurposed, I mean it’s not a fountain at all. The fountain was constructed to mark the Coronation of King George V in 1911 and although this is also the date on the structure, it was unveiled in 1912.
Modernisation got the better of the fountain though, as it was seen as a complete nuisance that drivers couldn’t see through it, so the fountain element of the, well, fountain, was removed. And they got rid of the troughs as well at the same time, as it was originally built to allow humans and animals to get water (the humans didn’t have to use the troughs).
March’s lovely fountain, which has no water. Personally, I think it looks a little ridiculous stuck on this traffic island, bereft of its original functionality and with barriers to discourage anyone crossing the road to actually look at it properly. It has now lost its original purpose and any real context.
It was listed in 1985, so its history has at least been recognised, although I would like to think that Nikolaus Pevsner would have offered some sharp note about the fountain in its current state. The barriers have though offered some useful protection, as in early 2019 a drunk driver’s car was saved from damaging the fountain when the barriers took much of the force from the car when it left the road.