grand fountain

The project to restore Paisley’s Grand Fountain to its former glory has beaten world-famous competition to be named as a winner at a prestigious UK awards ceremony.

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.

grand fountain

And the project won the Restoration/Conservation category at the Museums and Heritage Awards in London – ahead of nominees from the Tate galleries and the Bletchley Park WW2 heritage site.

Judges praised the Renfrewshire-Council-led scheme, saying it ‘combined painstaking research with clear community outcomes resulting in the greatest reward of all, civic pride’.

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 year-long work saw it taken off site and restored piece-by-piece, before being reassembled and restored to full working condition last summer.

The £650,000 project included funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland – and was delivered with great support from local groups Friends of the Fountain Gardens and the STAR Project.

Overall, the Grand Fountain was one of only four Scottish projects to even make the shortlist of 58 nominations from across the UK and abroad.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “The Grand Fountain is one of the finest examples of Paisley’s outstanding built heritage and it is fantastic to see that being recognised at a UK level.

“The fountain itself is a living link to the town’s proud textile-making past and that heritage will be at the centre of the town’s upcoming bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“A lot of hard work went into this project between council staff, contractors, funders and local groups and it is great to see those efforts being recognised.

“We also had tremendous community involvement throughout the project through events and work with schools – which the judges alluded to in their comments – and this award is for everybody who was part of that.”

The specialist contractors for the project were Wigan-based Lost Art Limited – who developed new techniques to improve the process of cast-iron restoration – and conservation engineer Jim Mitchell of Industrial Heritage Consulting Limited.

You can find out more about the Grand Fountain Restoration Project by visiting

Artwork helps put Grand Fountain in the picture.

Paisley’s under-repair Grand Fountain is being put in the picture by community artwork inspired by the project to restore the spectacular A-listed structure to its former glory.

The intricate cast-iron fountain – the centrepiece of the town’s Fountain Gardens – was dismantled and taken away for restoration last year as part of a year-long project to bring it back to life.

The structure – which dates back to 1868 – will be brought back on site and reassembled over the next few months and restored to full working order by the summer.

Alex Slaven 3

And the fencing round the fountain site has been brightened up by artwork themed around the structure’s shape and history, produced by members of a nearby community group.

The STAR Project is based in Wallace Street and offers a wide range of support services – such as counselling and befriending – to residents in the north of Paisley.

The artwork was unveiled at a ceremony attended by local ward councillors, and members of the STAR Project and the Friends of the Fountain Gardens Group, as well as council staff.

Councillor Terry Kelly, convener of the council’s Planning and Property Policy Board, was at the unveiling and said: “Paisley has a built heritage to be proud of and the fountain restoration project will see one of our architectural gems preserved for future generations.

“Having been gifted to the people of the town by the Coats family almost 150 years ago, the fountain still stands as a living reminder of the town’s proud thread-making past.

“One of the great things about this type of project is the opportunity it provides for members of the community to get involved, and learn more about their own town’s history.

“The STAR Project’s members have produced some bright and eye-catching designs and I am glad we were able to put them on display in the park for the public to see.”

The £650,000 Grand Fountain: Interpretation and Restoration Project is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Renfrewshire Council.

The next stage of the work will see a state-of-the-art underground pumping system installed to allow the fountain to work again.

The year-long restoration project has featured other community work including an ironworks seminar and an ongoing filming project with UWS.

The eight-metre-high fountain is recognised by Historic Scotland as being of national importance and is the only one of its kind, distinctive for its intricate detail and statues.

Courtesy Renfrewshire Council.

470 ROCCO 2012 v2

ROCCO 2012 Winners Announced
Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce 9th Annual Business Awards

The annual business awards of Renfrewshire Chamber, The ROCCOs, now in their 9th year, took place at the Cosmopolitan Normandy Hotel on Friday 16th November. The sell-out crowd of 480 witnessed 15 ROCCO awards presented on the night and helped raised over £11K for charities and good causes. Hosted by Fred MacAulay, the ROCCOs are known as a positive, feel good event and regarded as one of the best corporate events in Scotland.

The Winners from ROCCO 2012 were:

1) ROCCO Award for Employer of the Year sponsored by Rolls Royce – Phoenix Car Company

2) ROCCO Award for Invest in Renfrewshire sponsored by Renfrewshire Council – Fission Creative

3) ROCCO Award for Third Sector Recognition sponsored by Engage Renfrewshire & The Royal Bank of Scotland – The Star Project

4) ROCCO Award for Most Promising New Business sponsored by Renfrewshire Council – Meso

5) ROCCO Award for Excellence in Manufacturing sponsored by the Scottish Leather Group – Life Technologies

6) ROCCO Award for International Trade sponsored by Glasgow Airport – Chivas Brothers

7) ROCCO Award for Family Business of the Year sponsored by The Malcolm Group – Gillies Gas Services

8) ROCCO Award for Young Business Person of the Year sponsored by Reid Kerr College – Nick Cohen, PCR Business

9) ROCCO Award for Excellence in Customer Service sponsored by Braehead – Glasgow Airport

10) ROCCO Award for Journey to Zero Waste sponsored by The William Tracey Group – Scottish Leather Group

11) ROCCO Award for Innovation & Technology sponsored by Hillington Park Innovation Centre – Meso

12) ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business >25 employees sponsored by Phoenix Car – The Malcolm Group

13) ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business

14) ROCCO Award for Business Leader of the Year sponsored by Diageo – Iain McFadyen, MD Scottish Leather Group

15) Special ROCCO Award to Colin Neill Chamber Director and Supply Chain Director with Diageo retiring after 30+ years’ service

470 ROCCO 2012 v2Commenting on the event chamber president Tom Johnston said “thank you again to all our sponsors and members for supporting our 9th ROCCO Awards. We have received some great feedback, which is great to hear – as ROCCO is a year in the making by the Chamber team. Anyone involved in large events such as the quality of ROCCO knows how much work and effort goes into making it a great night”.

Bob Davidson, chamber chief exec’ further commented “I encourage all winners to maximise the positive PR from winning a prestigious ROCCO. We had our highest ever number of entries and competition was extremely tough, so reaching the final and winning is a great achievement”

“….for ROCCO 2012 we made a number of changes; we refreshed and updated all the categories and increased the number of awards from 11 to 14. We also commissioned a brand new ROCCO award trophy designed and manufactured in Renfrewshire by chamber members and ROCCO winners – Meso”

All the pics from the event can be viewed on the Renfrewshire Chamber facebook page