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Dumfries Fountain Restoration Project

The aim of this project is to fully restore the 140 year old, Category B Listed Fountain on Dumfries High Street to full working condition. This will safeguard it for the future, so that it will again be a landmark the town can be proud of and enjoy for the next 140 years.

Dumfries Fountain - Before and After
This project is part of the overall approach to a 10 year vision and action plan for the town centre which is currently being developed through the Dynamically Different Dumfries Initiative.

About the Fountain

Unveiled in 1882, the fountain was made by the Sun Foundry, Glasgow and is one of only two models of its type known anywhere in the world. This fountain replaces an earlier version to commemorate the introduction of fresh water to Dumfries and Maxwelltown from nearby Lochrutton.

Our fountain is an important part of our social history. The introduction of fresh water marked a turning point for our ancestors and was a symbol of hope as they emerged from the devastating cholera epidemics of 1832 and 1848.  As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the restoration of our High Street fountain once again symbolises hope for a regenerated and welcoming town centre.

The Need for Restoration

This Category B-listed fountain is a combined cascade and spray fountain with a recirculating pumped supply, made in an assembly of over 100 dismountable cast iron parts. These parts are bolted together using wrought iron screws and bolts, fitted internally. Each of the parts can and must be dismantled, to deal with failed and failing fastenings. The wrought iron fixings are corroded and need to be replaced to ensure the fountain's future. This is very precise work and must be undertaken by a specialist. There is also a need to ensure that the water flowing through the fountain meets modern safety standards, so a new water handling and pumping system is required.

About the Project

The Project Team

The joint project team is led by the Dumfries and Galloway Council, and, because it is a highly specialist project, includes a wide range of internal and external expertise.

The Project Team includes:

  • The Lead Consultant, Industrial Heritage Consulting limited is one of two recognised experts in this field in the UK. They have a proven track record, including the successful restoration of other Sun Foundry Fountains, such as the £1.9m restoration project of Ross Fountain in Edinburgh, and the  Walrus Fountain in Paisley.
  • Dumfries and Galloway Council Officers, with expertise in Architecture, Planning, Conservation, Archaeology, Asset Management and Economic Development.
  • The Stove Network, which has expertise in Commissioning Artists, Community Engagement and Communications and has secured funding from the Holywood Trust to support the engagement of young people in the project process.

The Project Process

The Restoration of the Fountain is being undertaken in two phases:

Phase 1 will develop the project to pre- tender estimate stage. This is currently underway and allows greater certainty around the costs of the project, as it includes more detailed condition survey work on the Fountain, detailed design work, the necessary planning and listed building consents for this "B" listed structure to be secured, and the tender documentation to be drawn up. This will also include the commissioning of the Artist, and the design of the commission.

This work is to be completed by 30 September 2021.

Phase 2 covers the physical restoration work, which involves specialist dismantling, restoration of the fountain, redesign of the pumping and water treatment system to ensure it meets current standards, all of the necessary groundworks and full reinstatement and the construction of the artists commission based upon the story of public water in Dumfries.

The timescale for the second phase will be determined when the project goes out to tender.

How can you get involved in this project?

If you are interested in finding out more about the history of the fountain or about the many creative and educational workshops you can take part in, please click here: https://thestove.org/dumfries-fountain-project/ 

If you have questions or information you would like to share on the history of the Fountain please email: dumfriesfountain@dumgal.gov.uk

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Page last updated: 01/09/2021
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