The Ross Fountain

in West Princes Street Gardens, beneath Edinburgh Castle

The Ross Fountain in Princes Street Gardens  -  Coloured Postcard  -  PPC Philco Series

The plaque beside the Ross Fountain in West Princes Street Gardens reads: 

THE ROSS FOUNTAIN Made of cast-iron at the foundry of ANTOINE DURENNE near Paris France was shown at the Exhibition of 1862 in London

DANIEL ROSS, a local gunmaker interested in art and natural science bought and gifted it to the City of Edinburgh.  It was shipped to Scotland in 122 pieces. It arrived at Leith in September 1869, and was finally installed in West Princes Street Gardens in 1872.

The figures were sculptured by JEAN-BAPTISTE KLAGMANN who also made works for the Louvre and Medici fountains in Paris.

The first tier has a lion's head spouts and mermaid figures with flowering urns sitting on scallop-shell basins.  The four upper figures depict Science, Art, Poetry and Industry.  At the top a beautifully modelled figure holds a cornucopia-cup of plenty.



Water  -  ON, OFF, ON, OFF, ON

Here is the recent history of whether or not the fountain has  been working:


Edinburgh Council switched off the water supply to the fountain in 1996, claiming that the fountain had become too expensive to run and was using too much water.


In 2001, following a campaign,  the fountain was fully restored in a collaboration between The City of Edinburgh Council and East of Scotland Water.


The water in the fountain stopped in late 2004, the result of a fire that destroyed the electricity supply source for the fountain.


The Deputy Lord Provost, Steve Cardownie, who led the campaign for the 2001 restoration, said in July 2005 that he intended to take steps to get the fountain working again

Edinburgh Evening News:  several articles, including 5 July 2005, p.11




The culture and leisure leader in Edinburgh City Council, Councillor Ricky Henderson, is quoted in the Edinburgh Evening News on 4 Jan 2006 as saying that power is now being reinstated to the fountain, following the fire that destroyed the old power supply at Christmas 2004.  He added:

"Some further remedial work is to be carried out over the winter months.  The Ross fountain is normally switched off during the winter for health and safety reasons, and the council expects it to be switched on in all its former glory in the spring."

Edinburgh Evening News: January 4, 2006, p.10


In fact a new pump had to be ordered for the fountain, so it was not until July 2006 that the fountain was turned on again.

Edinburgh Evening News: July 13, 2006, p.10


The water was still flowing, and the fountain was looking good when I photographed it in September 2007.

  -  Peter Stubbs:  September 20, 2007



Princes Street Gardens