The Jaffe family moved to Belfast from Hamburg in 1852 where Daniel Joseph Jaffe (b.1809) was a successful linen merchant. The family soon developed the linen industry in Belfast where Daniel Jaffe built the city’s first synagogue.
His son Otto was first elected to the City Council in 1894, and twice elected as Lord Mayor, in 1899 and 1905.
He was well known throughout his life for his generosity, contributing greatly to the welfare of soldiers’ dependants, the Royal Victoria Hospital and Queen’s College as well as many other educational institutions. He provided most of the money for the new synagogue in Annesley St. in 1904.
Despite his naturalisation as a British citizen in 1888, and the service of his son in the British army, Sir Otto was forced to move to England as a result of the intimidation of the family during the war due to their German roots. Sir Otto died in England in 1929.
Built in 1874 by Otto Jaffe in memory of his father Daniel Jaffe, the fountain was later removed to the Botanic gardens and was restored and returned to its original location in Victoria Square in 2008.