The Aitken Memorial Fountain is a well known and much loved landmark of Govan Cross. It was created in 1884 and is the only surviving example of the decorative, cast iron drinking fountains produced by Cruikshanks & Co.’s foundry at the Denny Works, Stirlingshire. Dedicated to the memory of Doctor John Aitken – a local doctor rumoured to have died from overwork due to his dedication to serving the medical needs of the area’s poor – it has stood for more than 120 years at the head of Water Row.
In 2010, having fallen into a ruinous state of repair, the fountain became the focus of regeneration efforts led by Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative. Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Glasgow City Council made a full restoration possible, and in the course of the restoration process many interesting discoveries were made, not least the whereabouts of the fountain’s missing centre piece.
The Aitken Memorial Fountain was returned, fully restored, to Govan Cross in April 2011.
Timescale: Completed May 2011
Funders: Glasgow City Council, Govan Cross THI (Heritage Lottery Fund & Glasgow City Council).
Project Team: Glasgow City Council, Maclay Civil Engineering Ltd.
Sadly, the primer on the Aitken Memorial Fountain has failed, which has caused the fountain to rust, but like Robert the Bruce once said “If at first you don’t succeed … try and try again”. So, that’s just what we are going to. On Monday 16th December, the fountain will be dismantled and transported to a top conservator to be stripped back and repainted, using the same colours and gold leaf details. The fountain will return in February 2014. Although Govan Cross will be without its unique landmark for 2 months, once returned it will remain there for many future generations to enjoy.