The Ross Development Trust handed the challenge
of restoring Edinburgh’s famous Ross Fountain to Wigan-based specialists Lost Art. But,
despite their vast experience, dismantling and removing the Fountain from its home in
West Princes Street Gardens was no easy task. “As projects go, this is possibly the most
complex one we’ve done to date. It’s far larger, far heavier and far more cumbersome to move
than the other projects we’ve done.” At first sight, the project didn’t appear
too daunting but when the engineers got a closer look they realised just how big a job
it was going to be. “When we originally surveyed the Fountain
it’s external appearance looked pretty good and we thought that actually the amount of
work that was involved wasn’t as severe as what we expected. However, we also viewed
inside the structure and it told a completely different story. They had massive failings
of bolt fixtures, heavy corrosion and rust. As we brought it back and we have had it slowly
cleaned up and the paint removed the problems become even worse. Chunks of cast iron, the
original cast iron, are actually missing. This piece right here is called a cornucopia.
Now, this is held by the statue at the top of the Fountain and it has water firing out
through the spout at the top. So, these pieces – one here and one here – were completely
missing so what we decided to do was actually make what’s called a patent so this has been
re-carved to match the hole that was missing to match the hole as you can see, like so.
This piece then is taken to the foundry and they actually make a piece of cast iron to
the same shape as this which we then prepped, laid in and brazed up as you can see.” Despite the complexity of the work, the team
at Lost Art is making good progress and the Ross Development Trust plan to unveil the
repaired fountain back home in West Princes Street Gardens later this year.