Saturday was a great day for Paisley when 1,500 people flocked to Fountain Gardens to see the newly restored Grand Fountain flowing again.
The Fountain, which was bequeathed to the townspeople by the Coats Family in 1868, is one of the world’s finest examples of cast iron sculpture. Its unique design is a Victorian extravaganza that includes walruses, cherubs, dolphins, herons and crocodiles and which measures 8.5 metres in height, has the same circumference and weighs 42 tonnes – before the water is added.
During the renovation, a team of experts painstakingly removed layers of paint to identify the colours in which the fountain was first revealed. The colours were selected by influential Glasgow artist, Daniel Cottier whose stained glass and colour work enjoyed worldwide acclaim and popularity in the 19th Century.
Emphasising the Fountain’s importance, its restoration was funded by Historic Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Renfrewshire Council.
But on Saturday, it was all about the Grand Fountain itself and its place in the hearts of Paisley’s people. Provost Anne Hall declared the Fountain flowing and a huge cheer erupted as this much-loved landmark sprang back to life.
In the newly-planted Fountain Gardens, residents and visitors of all ages enjoyed a Victorian party with tea and cake, ice cream from a hand cart, a brass band and a special performance from Paisley’s PACE Youth Theatre Group.
While the younger visitors enjoyed the fun, older residents reminisced about having played by (and in) the fountain decades ago and expressed their delight at seeing it flowing again.
More information about the Fountain and its restoration can be found at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/grandfountain. Better still, make a visit this great local landmark. The water will flow every day during daylight hours.