The project to bring Paisley’s Grand Fountain back to life has been honoured at a prestigious conservation awards ceremony.
The 2015 Icon Conservation Awards in London – which celebrates the highest profile conservation projects in the country – saw the Grand Fountain project win the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for the Conservation of an Industrial Heritage Artefact.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark MacMillan was delighted with the recognition and said: “The Grand Fountain is one of the finest examples of Paisley’s outstanding architecture and it is fantastic to see that being recognised at a UK level.
“As we look towards our UK City of Culture 2021 bid, our heritage will be fundamental to its success and the fountain is a terrific link to the town’s textile-making past.
“The project required a lot of effort and teamwork with significant community involvement and the award is for all who were a part of the fountain’s redevelopment.”
The fountain – notable for its distinctive walrus sculptures – was gifted to the town by the Coats family in 1868 and has been the centerpiece of the Fountain Gardens ever since – but had fallen into disrepair over the years.
The intricate cast-iron A-listed structure – one of the town’s architectural treasures – was painstakingly returned to its original Victorian-era condition last year.
The judging panel said of the project “It encapsulates the concept of engineering as both science and art, and provides a sense of pride and a feel-good factor. The people behind the restoration of this grand Victorian vision of civic joy demonstrate a belief that engineering enhances human well-being.”
The £650,000 project included funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Renfrewshire Council– and was delivered with great support from local groups Friends of the Fountain Gardens and the STAR Project.