These bears are found in Kensington Gardens where they sit atop a water fountain built in 1939 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association.
The association was founded in 1859 by a member of parliament, Samuel Gurney and a lawyer, Thomas Wakefield, to provide free, clean water to the public. This was prompted by the realisation that the lack of such access had been instrumental in the cholera epidemic of 1854. It later also sought the provision of free access drinking troughs for animals and this continued until 1936 by when the number of working animals had declined on London streets and cattle etc. were no longer driven on foot through the streets to the London animal markets.
The Association is still in existence today as The Drinking Fountain Association. It still aims to provide drinking fountains in schools and other public places and also has an international outlook providing clean drinking water in countries around the world. It also maintains historic drinking fountains and in 2011 began a project to record and catalogue all the public drinking fountains in the UK