Objectors get the blues over Hawick fountain going for gold

The fountain in Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park.
The fountain in Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park.

Golden days lie ahead for a landmark feature in a Borders park.

Planning approval has been granted for the Gilbert Davidson fountain in Hawick’s Wilton Lodge Park to be restored to its 19th century glory as part of a £40,000 makeover.

The fountain was removed in January so work could be carried out on its restoration.

During that work evidence emerged the fountain had originally been painted gold and blue when first installed in 1896, although it has been painted silver for over 110 years.

Planning approval has now been granted to transform it back to what are thought to be its original colours.

However, that decision has not gone down well in some quarters, with objections being registered to the change of colour.

One such opponent is Stuart Bouglas, of Main Street, St Boswells, and he has called into question the evidence for the proposed repainting.

He said: “I see no reason for this to be changed as the fountain has been silver for over 110 years.

“The company doing the renovation work say that they have found other colours underneath. Have they not heard of undercoats?

“I cannot see why this fountain would have been blue and gold as the Hawick Common Riding colours at the time of its construction and unveiling were red and blue.

“I am also led to believe the Hawick town colours are dark green, as Scottish Borders Council replaced all street name signs with this colour as a background stating it was the town’s colour.

“I have several photo postcards of the period, the earliest postmark being 1908, all clearly showing the fountain to have been silver or a very light colour.”

Fellow objector Evelyn Jackson, of Bruce Court in Hawick, adds: “I have a strong preference to maintain silver over blue and gold as it’s aye been.

“My understanding is that the fountain when installed in 1896 had three coats of various blue paint over a red lead undercoat for only a mere six to seven years but two to three of silver and unknown layers of white for almost 115 years.”

A report by council planning officer Stuart Herkes says: “Beyond the remnants of previous coats of paint, no direct documentary evidence has been provided either to support or refute the contention that the fountain was originally blue and gold.

“However, there is strong circumstantial evidence that this was indeed likely to have been the case.

“During the process to remove the existing paint on the fountain to reveal the cast iron, there was evidence that the original colours were gold and blue.

“While there is a paucity of documentary evidence to confirm or refute the original finish of the fountain, I am content that the specific proposed colour scheme can be supported on the basis othat this was, or would be close to, the original finish of the fountain.”

The work is one of the last stages in the National Lottery-backed £3.64m restoration of the park.