Ross Fountain

Work starts on the return of the Ross Fountain

By | Ross Fountain

The first parts of the renovated Ross Fountain will be returned to the site within West Princes Street Gardens during February, now that the extensive work on the foundations is almost complete.

The much-loved landmark will be completely refurbished and returned to its old location by early summer. The Ross Fountain will be in pristine condition and capable of withstanding the Scottish climate long into the future.

David Ellis, Managing Director of the Ross Development Trust, said: ‘The view of the Ross Fountain with the castle in the backdrop has become a postcard image of the city.  We therefore prioritised the restoration of this amazing and much-loved monument within the wider revitalisation project.’

‘Having successfully dismantled the Fountain piece by piece it was soon apparent that the scale of the damage was beyond what anyone could have predicted. The challenge faced by Lost Art to restore the Fountain was immense. I am delighted to say that they have more than answered that challenge and I am excited to share their work with the people of Edinburgh later this year when the Ross Fountain will be unveiled.

‘Simultaneously to the repair work to the Fountain itself, we have been working to install and repair crucial infrastructure which supports the Fountain to ensure that it remains fully operational in all its glory for generations to come.’

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convenor for the City of Edinburgh Council, added: ‘The Ross Fountain has sat in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle since the 19thCentury and is one of the most recognisable features of the Gardens.

‘Over the last few months, detailed conservation work has been taking place to restore it to its beautiful, original design. Now, visitors to West Princes Street Gardens will be able to watch as the fountain is rebuilt from the ground up.

‘We are very grateful to The Ross Development Trust for their continued support and look forward to seeing it back in full this summer.”

Jim Mitchell of Industrial Heritage Consulting Ltd, is the Project Conservation Engineer.  He said: ‘The Ross is one of three great A- listed fountains in Scotland and in my view the best, both aesthetically and technically.

‘Dismantling has confirmed that the work has been carried out, not a moment too soon, with many potential failures revealed. The made-up ground in the gardens, much of it removed there to fill the old Nor’ Loch, had allowed significant subsidence and stress- fracturing, all of which has been repaired to a standard that sets a benchmark for ironwork conservation. A sophisticated pumping and filtering system has been installed below ground, with the latest non-chemical water treatment included.

‘A low energy, submerged lighting system will show the fountain at its best, day and night.

‘The fountain has been protected by high tech coatings which at the same time, echoes the style of French ornamental work of the period, which emulated verdigris and patinated bronze. I think the people of Edinburgh and beyond, will be impressed!’

You can also help with the restoration and ongoing maintenance of the Ross Fountain by donating here.

Behind the scenes of the Ross Fountain restoration

By | Ross Fountain

With more than 120 pieces of cast-iron making up the Ross Fountain, the first step in its restoration – the dismantling and removal process – alone was a difficult enough challenge.  But what is involved in actually restoring these pieces to their former glory?  A host of surprises and challenges were uncovered at the workshop and you can hear from the team at Lost Art – the specialist team of craftsmen restoring the Fountain – about repairing such a historic monument,

You can also help with the restoration and ongoing maintenance of the Ross Fountain by donating here.

Ross Fountain de-construction time-lapse video

By | Ross Fountain

It’s been four months since the Ross Fountain was dismantled in entirety and transported to our specialist contractor LostArt, where intensive restoration by their expert team continues apace. We’ll soon be able to bring you a fascinating insight of this challenging restoration through film, images and stories; watch for updates in the coming months. Meantime, to remind you of the scale of the operation to dismantle the fountain, which comprises more than 120 individual pieces, here’s complete time-lapse film of the 3-month long project to dismantle and remove our statue from West Princes Street Gardens.

We are currently inviting donations to help fund the vital restoration and maintenance of the Ross Fountain, one of the Garden’s most iconic features.  To make a donation please visit our donations page here.


The Ross Fountain; ten fascinating facts

By | Design Competition, Ross Fountain

Restoration of the Ross Fountain, an iconic landmark within the city’s West Princes Street Gardens, is now underway.

It’s a huge undertaking. 122 individual cast-iron pieces are being dismantled and removed over the next few weeks for a full restoration that will see the fountain returned and reassembled in full working order in the Gardens next summer. So, as the temporary screening goes up around the fountain site, here are ten fascinating facts about the Ross Fountain:

1. The Fountain was purchased as a gift to the city by Edinburgh gunsmith, Daniel Ross – “with inclination to art and science” – at the Great Exhibition of London in 1862.

2. It was erected in its present position in West Princes Street Gardens in 1872, but only after much wrangling over its position until the current site was agreed.

3. Ross himself never got to see the Fountain installed; he died the year before in 1871.

4. It was originally agreed that the fountain should operate only “on Sundays and when the band plays…”

5. Dean Ramsay, the mid-Victorian minister of St John’s Episcopal Church, on Princes Street said the amount of nudity in the sculptures was “grossly indecent and disgusting; insulting and offensive to the moral feelings of the community and disgraceful to the city”.

6. The female figures represent art, science, poetry and industry, whilst the figure on the top of the Fountain is holding a cornucopia.

7. It is from the world-famous foundry of Antoine Durenne, in Sommevoire Haute Marne in France.

8. The figures were sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Jules Klagmann, born April 1810, whose other work includes figures for the Louvre and fountains in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.

9. The Fountain is a magnificent example of 19th century cast-iron work, in the neoclassical style commonly known as Beaux Arts.

10. It is one of only two A-listed cast iron fountains in the UK.

To find out more about how Ross Development Trust are undertaking the restoration of the Ross Fountain and the Trust’s broader project to revitalise West Princes Street Gardens. Learn more about the restoration of the Ross Fountain and find out how you can get involved with and support the Trust.