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MacPherson Memorial

MacPherson Memorial

Photo courtesy of Blairgowrie History Trust

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1893 MacPherson Memorial


MacPherson Memorial

A lost memorial, and an enduring mystery, right in the middle of Blairgowrie.......

This article kindly provided by the BLairgowrie, Rattray & District Local History Trust.

An artistic fountain, erected by Mrs Macpherson and family in memory of the late Mr Allan Macpherson, was gifted to the town on the 8th of May, 1893. The structure has been set up in a prominent position at the south-east corner of the Wellmeadow, opposite the Bridge, is of elegant design, and forms a pretty enhancement to the locality. The base and basin are of red Aberdeenshire granite, while the superstructure is of line red freestone from Dumfries, the whole rising to a height of nearly 18 feet, richly ornamented with gablets, crockets, gargoyles, and other architectural devices with harmonious effect. The upper part, in the form of a spire, is surmounted by a cross, with lightning conductor attached.

The whole work was designed and carried out by Messrs Hicks & Charlewood, Newcastle-on-Tyne. All the different parts were fully prepared before being forwarded, all that was required where it was to be put up being preparation of the site, piecing the sections together, and fixing up the water arrangements.

On the east side of the fountain, from which the water flows over a shell design into the basin, the pedestal bears the following inscription :—

“In memory of Allan Macpherson of Blairgowrie, who entered into rest 6th November, 1891, aged 73.”

On the three other sides are:—“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” “Not with eye service as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” “For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, His countenance doth behold the upright.”

The ceremony of formally handing over the fountain to the town was of a simple nature. The Magistrates, Commissioners, Town Council, and others connected with the public bodies assembled, along with representatives from Blairgowrie House.

Mr Alan Macpherson said :—

“Mr Chief Magistrate and gentlemen, as some of you know, my eldest brother being in India, Mrs Macpherson has asked me to read to you a letter expressing her views and wishes as to this fountain.”

“To the Police Commissioners of Blairgowrie, the Bailies and Town Council, and the Water Commissioners for the town and district of Blairgowrie:

Gentlemen,—I have much pleasure in handing over to you, for the use of the people of Blairgowrie, the fountain just put up by me in Wellmeadow, in memory of my husband, the late Mr Macpherson of Blairgowrie. I may mention that I am anxious to be permitted to retain during my lifetime the privilege of doing anything that may he deemed necessary for the due preservation of the memorial, and I trust you will kindly accede to this request. I take this opportunity of thanking you for the site you have given for the fountain, and for the interest you have taken in its erection.—I am, gentlemen, yours faithfully, E. Macpherson, Blairgowrie House, May 8th, 1893."

Chief Magistrate Bridie, on behalf of the Police Commission, the Town Council, aud the Water Commission, and other bodies in the public service, accepted of the gift, and expressed the hope that nothing would be done to mar the memorial in the least degree, and assured the family (Macpherson) that the town would take the greatest care of it, as it deserved.

Master Alan D. Macpherson, son of the Laird of Blairgowrie, then turned on the water, and the proceedings terminated.

Visitors to the Wellmeadow will have noticed that the Memorial no longer stands at the lower corner of the site. Its place is occupied by a raised flower bed. Whatever happened to the Memorial that was promised "the greatest care" ?

The story continues...

A traffic accident in 1975 caused extensive damage to the upper part of the Memorial. A temporary obelisk was installed on the plinth that remained.

Eventually the whole structure was removed and replaced by a raised flower bed. The plinth was installed in the upper corner of the Wellmeadow garden, where it can still be seen today.

So where's the mystery?

On May 5th 1975, according to a report in the Blairgowrie Advertiser, a special meeting of Blairgowrie Town Council was held, at which it was agreed that the Macpherson Memorial should be rebuilt. The insurers gave approval for this work to go forward and for a mason to be employed if necessary. Members of the Town Council agreed that the matter be brought to the attention of the appropriate District department 'to ensure that the work was speedily and satisfactorily completed'.

Shortly after this meeting local government in Scotland was reorganised, as elsewhere in UK. The Town Council was disbanded and Blairgowrie became part of Perth and Kinross District. No further mention of the Macpherson Memorial Fountain can be found in the council minutes.

Why was the Memorial not rebuilt?

What happened to the rest of the masonry that had been dislodged?

Nobody knows. If you have information that can solve the mystery, please contact us and let us know!

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