GIANT hoardings hiding work being carried out on Jedburgh’s historic town centre fountain have finally been taken down to reveal the restored structure.
The work had originally been scheduled to be completed in time for last year’s Jethart Callant’s Festival, but after eight months and several delays the repairs have finally been concluded.
Commissioned by Scottish Borders Council (SBC), the project has been plagued by problems. The original contractor was replaced by local building firm, John Laidlaw & Son, to get the work finally finished.
Constructed to mark the golden jubilee of the reign of Queen Victoria in 1887, the Jubilee Fountain, as it is known, was designed by George Bell, and consists of an ornamental Gothic column with clustered shafts, topped by a unicorn and heraldic shield.
Local councillor Len Wyse said this week he was delighted to finally see the scaffolding and wooden shuttering removed.
“It’s absolutely brilliant to see it reaching this stage,” he said. “Although no water flows out of the fountain, all the facilities to make this possible are there.
“It was felt that townspeople might not be too happy if workmen started digging up the street during the summer and ahead of the Callant’s Festival.
“However, once the summer is over, we hope to get the water flowing again as the fountain was originally designed to do.
“Laidlaw’s have done a really good job and the fountain looks great.”
Laidlaw’s erected the wooded hoardings to make finished work a bit of a surprise for local residents.
The fountain was one of two projects that Jedburgh Community Trust entered in the Jedburgh town centre regeneration bid and was costed in the region of £18,000. Part of the funding came from the Jedburgh Common Good Fund.
The other project was the purchase of the Port House.
As well as praising Laidlaw’s, Councillor Wyse said other contractors involved deserved credit.
“Laidlaw’s have done a great job in finishing off the work, which was not an easy task. Scott & Foggon made a good job of the lighting and Purdie the plumber has plumbed the inner workings of the fountain to deliver the water to the various spouts and tie in the drainage.
“This means that the fountain should not have to be worked on again as tails have been brought out for the water.”
These will be connected outwith the tourist season.
David Rumble, the original contractor from Greenlaw, had completed the faces where the water spouts come out.
“We apologise to the folk of Jedburgh for this taking so long – we only hope they think it was worth it in the end.”
On another issue of concern in Jedburgh, the derelict building at 31 High Street, Mr Wyse says he and and his fellow local SBC member, Sandy Scott, want the “eyesore” taken down as soon as possible to allow a developer to rebuild.
“We have just heard some possible good news on the outcome of the compulsory purchase order, but which is confidential at the moment. However, we will let people know as soon as we can.”