One of Blantyre’s most recognisable icons. The World Fountain at David Livingstone Centre. Given by the wife of Councillor A.B Maxwell in his memory and designed by Mr. F. C. Mears the Trust Architect this work of art was commissioned to be part of David Livingstone Centre. Mrs Maxwell died just 2 weeks after presenting this to the centre.
The fountain is made out of carved slabs of marble and bronze
inserts. The marble is of the finest quality and is so orientated that the entire sculpture becomes a sundial, showing countries, at any time, where the sun is shining. It is a work of much geographical and artistic interest. The five plaques around it show the simple industries by which mankind lives.
I’ve been looking at its construction and the workmanship and detail that went into this fine art. The works were executed and erected by contractors C. D’O Pilkington Jackson. Photographed here with permission, are the original segments being pieced together. These were carefully formed offsite , then rebuilt insitu in the park, marked previously with all pieces carefully fitting together. Incredible detail and precision was required for the pieces to fit together. The fountain was built and officially handed over on 14th September 1935.
Over the decades though, rainwater infiltration got into the joints between the marble pieces. This was particularly harmful in the cold Scottish Winters, where ice could cause the marble to crack and bulge. By the 1990’s the joints of the World Fountain had started to open up, and the structure was not functional as a fountain.
A decision was taken to renovate the fountain, make it functional again and this would involve recrafting the marble, repairing and renovating to the same high standard of its original construction. Pictured here are two photos from the modern offsite yard. In recent years the fountain is back to its original splendour and works as a fountain again, much to delight of young children in Summer.
In Winter, lessons have been learned and the fountain is switched off and covered by tarpaulins to protect against frost damage. Here is a photo I took the other day showing that protocol is now in place.