Project Description

An 'Interpretation and Restoration' project, funded by Historic Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Renfrewshire Council

A Grade I Listed Structure, the "Walrus Fountain" was produced by The Sun Foundry, located in nearby Glasgow, as were many of the major decorative and architectural foundries of the day. The fountain can best be described as a Victorian Extravaganza dating from the earliest days of civic decorative cast iron installations. Besides the feature walruses, there are also crocodiles, cherubs, herons and dolphins. Weighing in at 42 tons in total, it is 8.5 metres high and the same again across.

The fountain was donated to the town by the Coates Family and installed in 1867. The purchase of the gardens and installation of the decorative features, including the fountain, were intended as a philanthropic gesture that would provide the workers of the town with a breathing space during their leisure time and also gave the more prosperous inhabitants of Paisley a taste of the cosmopolitan gardens found on the continent. The idea of providing for all classes of society had a further intention behind it, in that it was hoped that it would also contribute to social harmony in the town.

Also known as ‘The Walrus Fountain’ because of the life-sized walruses surrounding the fountain (and now individually named by local school-children), it is believed that these features reflect the interest of the Coates family in Arctic and Antarctic exploration, for which they also provided funds.

Project Details