Listed Building

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Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NS 57184 66235
257184, 666235


James Sellars, architect; John Mossman, sculptor; H Pringle & Co bronze founders, 1872 (inscribed J Sellars and dated). Elaborately carved ornate Gothic fountain. Sandstone ashlar with granite, marble and majolica dressings and cast-bronze sculpture. 3 tiered basins, middle one with inset flying buttresses supported by lions sedant on plinths. Central shaft rises to support bronze statute of draped female figure. Wide plain grey granite outer basin at ground level. Main inner basin ashlar, with 4 diminutive aedicule features which take the form a wall-tomb/reliquary: marble colonnettes support pediments each side of bronze panel recessed in ogival frame. "Fish scale" ogee canopy links the 2 pediments. Of the 4 semi-circular bronze panels those to N and S contain medallion portrait of Stewart and a dedicatory inscription. Those to E and W have symbolic bas-relief representations of Loch Katrine and Glasgow (E) and the Lady of the Lake (W). Middle basin has ceramic roundel insets of zodiacal signs.

Statement of Special Interest

A striking and well-detailed example of High Victorian public sculpture, designed by one of Glasgow's leading architects and with sculpture by the city's leading sculptor. It was erected in commemoration of Lord Provost Robert Stewart and the completion of the Glasgow Corporation Water Works, an engineering feat of international importance that supplied Glasgow with fresh drinking water from Loch Katrine.

Glasgow's Lord Provost, Robert Stewart (1810-66) was the driving force behind the implementation of a municipally-owned water scheme to provide clean water to Glasgow's rapidly increasing population. Loch Katrine was identified as a suitable supply and after some objections from various parties, an Act of Parliament authorising the scheme was passed in 1855. The scheme was built in two main phases following this Act and another 1885. The 1855 scheme was opened by Queen Victoria in 1859 and was fully operational by 1860.

The Glasgow Corporation Water Works system, which brings water down to Glasgow from Loch Katrine, was admired internationally as an engineering marvel when it was opened in 1860. It was one of the most ambitious civil engineering schemes to have been undertaken in Europe since Antiquity, employing the most advanced surveying and construction techniques available, including the use of machine moulding and vertical casting technologies to produce the cast-iron pipes. The scheme represents the golden age of municipal activity in Scotland and not only provided Glasgow with fresh drinking water, thereby paving the way for a significant increase in hygiene and living standards, but also a source of hydraulic power that was indispensable to the growth of Glasgow's industry as a cheap and clean means of lifting and moving heavy plant in docks, shipyards and warehouses. The civic pride in this achievement is visible in every structure connected with the scheme, with this fountain providing the final flourish.

Following Robert Stewart's death in 1866 there was a general agreement in the City Council that a memorial should be erected to commemorate the huge contribution he had made to the improvement of Glasgow. It had also been decided that a monument was required to celebrate the completion of the water supply scheme in which Stewart had been so heavily involved. After much discussion it was agreed to combine these two memorials in a single fountain. Kelvingrove Park, which had been created during Stewart's term of office, was chosen as the most suitable location. An architectural competition was held in the summer of 1870, which attracted 75 entries; James Sellars was selected as the winner.

The imagery on the fountain largely relates to the romantic folklore associated with the Trossachs, particularly Sir Walter's poem, The Lady of the Lake. The top figure, which was originally gilded, represents the heroine of the poem, Ellen Douglas, and one of the bronze reliefs is an illustration of Canto II, v4-5 and shows Ellen, her spaniel and the minstrel Allan Bane. A full account of the imagery of the fountain and its history is to be found in McKenzie.

List description updated as part of the thematic review of Glasgow's water supply system (2008).



Historic photograph (Scottish Water), circa 1875. D McLellan, Glasgow Public Parks (1894) pp49-50. First shown on 2nd edition Ordnance Survey Map (circa 1896). Ray McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow (2002), pp222-227. RCAHMS and Jelle Muylle, Glasgow Corporation Water Works Related Structures, Phase II: Milngavie / Craigmaddie reservoirs and Glasgow City Centre Supply Distribution (survey report, not published, 2008).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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Printed: 22/05/2019 07:39