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Ross Fountain

The Ross Fountain is an ornate piece of mid-19th Century iron-work located in Edinburgh's West Princes Street Gardens, where it lies not far from St. Cuthbert's Church. Its sculptures include mermaids with four female figures depicting science, the arts, poetry and industry. A further large female figure stands at the centre of the fountain.

The fountain was cast in the Durenne ironworks at Sommevoire Haute Marne near Paris (France) in the early 1860s. It was displayed at the Great Exhibition in London in 1862, and was bought for Edinburgh by local gun-maker and philanthropist, Daniel Ross (d.1871). Transported in 122 pieces, it arrived at Leith in September 1869. After great deliberation as to the best location, it was finally installed in West Princes Street Gardens in 1872. The fountain did not however meet with universal approval; Dean Ramsay (1793 - 1872), whose church was the adjacent St. John's Episcopal, described the fountain as "grossly indecent and disgusting". Today the fountain is a 'B' listed structure of historic importance.

A refurbishment was completed in 2001, which allowed the water to flow again for the first time in almost five years and the fountain to be displayed in its full glory. The refurbishment came about through a partnership between the city authorities and East of Scotland Water and brought efficient water recycling to benefit the environment.


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