VIDEO: Fountain restored in Wigan is going back home to Scotland
A landmark fountain is on its way back to the Scottish capital after a year of painstaking restoration work in the borough by a Wigan firm.
Lost Art has spent around a year on the project to give Edinburgh’s stunning Ross Fountain a thorough makeover at its Mawdesley workshop.
Earlier this week some of the elaborate decorations, including spectacular mermaid sculptures, were delicately loaded up for the long trip up the motorway.
The individual pieces had to be carefully packed tosurvive the journey north of the border.
They are then being carefully put back onto the base which has already been installed into its location in Princes Gardens in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.
The restoration project is one of the biggest Lost Art has done to date, following its previous work in Scotland which saw it win awards for sprucing up the Grand Fountain in Paisley.
The firm says working on something well over a century old has posed considerable challenges.
Damian Liptrot from Lost Art said: “It is a real challenge, both because it is slow and painstaking work and because you know that what you are going to do is going to be there for the next hundred or so years.
“It really is quite something to walk into the workshop and see this huge cast-iron woman there.
“The top statues are larger than life size and are quite imposing figures.
“Everything has had to be done slowly.
“The cast iron is immensely strong in some respects and really quite brittle in others.
“If you heat it at the wrong speed it will crack.
“Everything has to be cleaned and parts which have looked solid have actually been held together by rust.
“It’s a voyage of discovery each time you clean a new piece and you have to treat it right.
“The guys have really engaged with it and there is a great deal of pride that we are working on this.”
As well as getting the Victorian metalwork spick and span Lost Art has also given the fountain, which was originally installed in 1862, a new coat of green paint.
Other pieces yet to make the trip from the borough to Scotland include some of the fountain’s large bowls, the huge statue from the very top which has been christened Elsie and four statues representing the muses of arts, literature, science and industry.
The firm got into working on old fountains when it was commissioned to work on one in Albert Park in Middlesborough and gradually built up expertise in the sector.
Among its projects was a comprehensive renovation of the fountain in Mesnes Park in Wigan.