Dumfries Fountain Project – Behind The Scenes Of Historic Restoration

As Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Fountain Restoration Project enters its second phase, the team at local arts charity, The Stove Network, have organised a series of educational trips and workshops for local school pupils, funded by a generous donation from The Peoples Project.

On Thursday 2nd March, pupils from St Michaels Primary School will be visiting Lost Art Ltd at their workshops near Wigan. The students will be treated to a behind the scenes look at the processes involved in the restoration of this historic fountain.



“This is a superb learning opportunity for the pupils to experience and understand the detailed work involved in restoring this historic, 140-year-old fountain. This highly specialised work involves many craftspeople from wood carvers and pattern makers, to colourists, metallurgists, and engineers. This is a unique experience for these young people to witness a process that aims to preserve an important part of our town’s social history and to showcase the traditional crafts involved.”


St Joseph’s. College students will also be visiting the workshop of master pattern maker Ruth Davies of Pollock Davies, Paisley. The fountain’s distinctive features of herons, dolphins and Putti with caimans are being hand gilded in her workshop. In addition, new commemorative plaques are being produced which will form a new feature in the paving surrounding the fountain.


The pupils will also visit the Grand Fountain in Paisley’s Fountain Gardens, to see another example of a Sun Foundry ornamental fountain which was restored by Lost Art and Industrial Heritage Consulting in 2014. The structure, a winner of a prestigious award for conservation, bears many of the same decorative components as the Dumfries Fountain, and some surprising elements such as four full size walruses!


In addition, two creative educational workshops led by local artists Katie Anderson and Mark Zygadlo, are planned for March. Local school students will learn skills in press moulding and relief casting, and how to engineer a hydraulic water pumping system.


St. Michael’s primary school pupils and staff have been instrumental in the campaign to restore the fountain, writing letters to Dumfries & Galloway Council calling for its restoration. By studying the history of the town, the cholera epidemics which decimated the population, and the subsequent introduction of freshwater to the town, pupils have formed a fond connection with the fountain. To see it being restored to its former glory is a testament to their community activism and determination.

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