Founding of Public Hall—Earl
Russell at Meikleour—Address from Inhabitants—Public Banquet—Address by
Meikleour Tenantry—Earl Russell’s Speech—Opinions of the Press—A French
View—Introduction of Water Supply—Report and Analysis of Water—Drainage, of
Town—Erection of New Schools—Opening up of Commercial Street—Planting Trees
in Wellmeadow—Franchise Demonstration— County Council—Boundary
Commission—Public Park—A Generous Gift—Burgh Seal—Macpherson Memorial
Fountain—New Sewage Works—Visit of Lord Wolseley—The Bailies of
SINCE the year 1824, when the
foundation-stone of the Parish Church was laid, no event excited so much
general interest in the town and neighbourhood as the laying of the
foundation-stone of the Public Hall, on the 20th October, 1860, by His Grace
the Duke of Athole, Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason of Scotland. A grand
banqnet afterwards took place in the Queen’s (Macdonald’s) Hotel, upwards of
100 gentlemen being present. Alternately, during dinner, selections of music
were given by the Duke of Athole’s Piute Band and the Blairgowrie Brass
The year 18G3 was a memorable
one for Blairgowrie. On the 10th of March it was en fete, the occasion being
the marriage day of the Heir-Apparent to the Throne. Flags waved from the
housetops; bells pealed forth merrily ; processions were the order of the
day, and illuminations of the night.
A banquet, attended by 80
gentlemen, was held in the Queen’s Hotel, when Bailie Thomas Steven occupied
the chair; another banquet, attended by 50 Volunteers, under Sergeant
William Crockart as chairman, was also held in the Queen’s; the shoemakers,
to the number of 40, sat down to dinner in MacGregor’s Temperance Hotel, Mr
William Lauder in the chair ; a public festival took place in the Free
Church School, James Street; and the rejoicings were concluded by a grand
ball in the Public
Hall in the evening.
Everything passed off with great eclat, and a wish was expressed that such
another pleasant reunion would be arranged ei-e many years would pass. This
wished-for occasion came round very soon, and Blairgowrie once more assumed
holiday appearance. On the 20th September, 1863, it did honour to itself by
honouring one of Britain’s noble men. Earl Russell, having chosen Meikleour
House as a quiet retreat to enjoy a
brief repose from his arduous
Parliamentary duties and recruit his strength, a number of the Meikleour
tenantry proposed to show their respect to his lordship by inviting him to a
banquet, in the Public Ilall, Blairgowrie, on the 26th September, 1S63.
The authorities of the town
entered heartily into the movement, and fraternised with the originators in
order to make the demonstration worths °f the noble guest. At a meeting of
the inhabitants of Blairgcn rie, on the Tuesday evening previous, it was
arranged that a public demonstration should be made, and that an address
should be presented to the Earl.
At half-past one o’clock a
procession started from the Wellmeadow, under the leadership of Capt. George
B. Anderson, of the Blairgowrie Rifles, to meet the Earl and bring him in
honour to the town. The procession was led by the Volunteers and Brass Band,
followed by the Masonic and Operative Bodies of the place, and a coach
containing Bailie, Steven and the Town Council. On arriving at the “Dark
Falls” the procession stopped, and the Volunteers presented arms, the band
playing, “Saw ye Johnnie coming?”
Earl Russell’s carriage,
which also contained Lady Russell and daughter, then took up position, and
the procession returned to the Cross. On arriving in front of the Royal
Hotel the Volunteers formed three sides of a square, and the carriages of
Earl Russell and the Council drove into the open 'space, after which Bailie
Steven presented the following address from the inhabitants of Blairgowrie:—
“Unto the Right Honourable
John, Earl Russell, one of Her Majesty’s principal Secretaries of State.
“May it please your
Lordship—I have the honour, as representing the inhabitants of this burgh,
to convey to your Lordship their sincere respect for your character, and
their high appreciation of your long aud distinguished services.
“We are grateful for this
opportunity so courteously afforded us, of publicly acknowledging our high
sense of your Lordship’s character and ability as a statesman, and of your
consistent unremitting efforts throughout all your public life in the cause
of popular rights aud privileges.
“It would ill become us, who
enjoy the substantial fruits of your Lordship’s labours, to refrain, at a
time like this, from a hearty acknowledgment of the noble service it has
been your fortune to render to yom Sovereign and your country; for we feel
assured that on the broad foundation of those Liberal principles so
consistently advocated by your Lordship, the truest patriotism and the most
intelligent loyalty are based. And, while it cannot but be gratifying to see
that your labour has not been in vain, we trust it will be no less
gratifying for you to know that it has not been forgotten or unappreciated
by a grateful and intelligent people.
“We recognise the growing
intelligence of the people, their increasing interest in public questions,
and their loyal attachment to the Constitution of their country, as the
genuine fruits of that liberal and enlightened policy to which your
Lordship, throughout your whole Parliamentary career, has so consistently
“While we are fully alive to
the momentous interests involved in the right and able discharge of the
duties of your high and responsible position, we feel assured that your
Lordship’s firm and consistent foreign policy will uphold the dignity of
this great country throughout the world, and pre**»e the nation in peace and
prosperity, whatever contingencies may arise.
“As a public servant, long
tried and ever faithful to the great interests of civil and religious
liberty, we desire to convey to your Lordship onr high and grateful
acknowledgment of the honourable and distinguished part you have acted
throughout, and to express our utmost confidence that your Lordship,
actuated by lofty principles and guided by the light of a long experience,
will be found equal to any emergency, and will be enabled by your wise and
judicious counsels to guide the country safely through every possible peril.
(Signed) “Thomas Steven,
Earl Russell, in replying to
the address, said :—
“Gentlemen, I beg to thank
you for the very gratifying address which yon have presented to me. It has
been my good fortune, in co-operation with many others, to promote the civil
and religious liberties of my countrymen. The enlightened state of public
opinion and the progress of political knowledge have caused the success of
measures which in former years had been obstructed by selfish interests or
defeated by ignorance and apathy. Let us hope that, with the increased
interest which is felt in public questions, loyalty to the Throne,
attachment to the Constitution, and zeal for all useful reforms will pervade
every class of the community.”
In the evening a banquet was
held in the Public Hall, attended by upwards of 160 gentlemen. The hall was
beautifully decorated for the occasion by Mr John Bridie, painter. On the
wall above the platform were displayed three heraldic coats of arms. In the
niche in the centre was placed the arms of the County of Perth, and on each
side the arms of Meikleour and Ramsay of Bamff. The Meikleour arms displayed
two naked figures as supporters, and four stars on centre of shield—“The
Grit Pool" and “Crux Christi Nostra Corona.” The Ramsay aims had two
griffins rampant as supporters, and spread eagle in centre of shield—“
Spernit Pericula Virtus."
At the bottom of the hall,
facing the Chairman, was an enormous “R,” beautifully painted and having in
several parts of it spaces in which the words “Reform,” “Emancipation,”
“Free Trade,” and “Neutrality” appeared. Slightly above and on the right aud
left of the letter were the arms of Earl Russell and the Earl of Airlie,
with the Blairgowrie arms in the niche above. The Russell arms had a lion
and an elk rampant as supporters, and a red lion rampant in centre of
shield, three oyster shells, and Earl’s crown above—“Che sara sara.” The
Ogilvy arms displayed two bulls rampant as supporters, and red lion passant
quadrant in centre of shield, a figure of Lady Ogilvy on top throwing down
the Harrow—“A Fin." The Right Hon. the Earl of Airlie took the chair, with
Earl Russell, Lord Amberley, Provost Parker, Dundee, and Rev. Mr Marshall,
Coupar Angus, on his right; on his left sat the Lord Provost of Perth, Dean
of Guild Dewar, Perth, the Hon. Mr Elliot, &c.
At this banquet an address
was presented by the Rev. Mr Marshall to Earl Russell from the tenantry on
the Meikleour estate. Thereafter Earl Russell delivered a speech which
echoed throughout the world, and Blairgowrie found itself to be famous above
all places of the earth, and, what was thought of the banquet by the outside
world, a few extracts from judicially competent authorities will show.
From The Globe.—“Earl
Russell’s speech at Blairgowrie will be read with deep interest in other
lands besides our own. The organ of a powerful Government in all that
relates to foreign affairs cannot well speak at length on great topics which
move the passions and affect the interest. of the nation, and demand the
full judgment, without having a large circle of readers; still less one,
who, for many years in the van of political life, has his name blended with
the history of all great modern questions.”
Scotsman.—“Blairgowrie has this year been blessed above all places in the
three kingdoms with what is beyond doubt the speech of the recess. The
addresses, indeed, in which his hosts complimented and congratulated him,
were remarkably good, both in substance and expression, and supply several
texts on which he might or might not have preached as he felt inclined.
Waiving the past he entered quickly into the present, and spoke to his
Blairgowrie audience words whose scope and might will be estimated with
eager interest over all Europe and America.”
From The Witness.—“The speech
of Earl Russell at Blairgowrie is one worthy of a statesman, spoken as it is
at an hour of more than ordinary interest in the history of the world. The
to] lies of his speech are far from being commonplace ; they have a wider
range than even an Imperial speech; they belong to the world, and are such
as fix at this moment the attention, and involve the interests of the
leading nations of the earth. It is full of noble, generous, and just
sentiment; its tone is manly and dignified ; it is redolent of liberty, and
there is about it a calm consciousness of strength, such as becomes the
Minister of a great nation, which feels that it is strong and is determined
not to abuse its strength by the perpetration of a wrong.”
From the Manchester
Guardian.—“Blairgowrie is not a place towards which the attention of mankind
Was strained in pursuit of political enlightenment, but that was because the
honour designed for it was not generally known. This accidental circumstance
is sufficient to elevate it from its natural condition to a centre of
attraction for Englishmen aud Frenchmen, Russians and Germans, Americans and
Poles. It is evident that Earl Russell was not in a reticent mood; he was
willing to regard the Meikleour tenantry as the representatives of a far
wider circle of auditors, and came prepared to speak with authority of the
affairs of state under his control.”
“This morning” (says the
Dundee Advertiser) “the spruce little village on the rocky banks of its
romantic Ericht wakes up and finds itself famous, and feels that its name is
to be carried to all ends of the earth. Such is fame.
Never before did this little
manufacturing town do so ambitious a piece of business in the finer
qualities of yarns.”
The following is a French
view of the banquet, from the Revue des Deux Mondes, by M. Eugene Fereade:—“
Is it not a lucky occurrence for us that the farmers of Meikleour had the
idea of entertaining Lord Russell in Blairgowrie? To the convivial humour of
these honest men we are indebted for the first official disclosure of the
impression produced on English policy by the last despatch of Prince
Gortschakoff. Let us picture to onr-selves these honest inhabitants of
Blairgowrie, this pretty little town in Scotland, hastening to do honour to
the illustrious veteran of British liberty. They walk forth in procession to
meet the noble Lord, his Countess, and the family, a league from the town: a
detachment of Volunteers serves as an escort, and gives to this half rustic
fete a sort of military air, which is the fashion in our day. The Bailie
presents an address, to Lord Russell. At the dinner hour they enter the hall
of the Town House, which is gaily decorated, where a table for a liundred-and-fifty
guests is laid. The farmers of Meikleour entrust to their minister the
reading of their address, and this composition gives a fair notion of the
literature of the Scottish farmer. The classical allusion to the House of
Russell is most happy—the blood of Russell moistened the plant of British
liberty while it was yet young and weak: and the noble career of Lord
Russell is traced in appropriate language. They sit down to dinner, and in
that stands out the speech of the principal Secretary of State for Her
Britannic Majesty—a speech simple, honest, spoken within the walls of a
Scottish village, but is to England, Europe, and America.”
For a long number of years
the town was supplied with water from force pumps, erected in different
parts of the district over sunk wells.
The water supply being
generally of a bail quality and insufficient for the increasing population,
the wells were gradually filled up on the introduction of a water system
direct from Loch Ben-a-chally, about eight miles north-west from the town.
The plans in connection with
this work were prepared by Mr Leslie, C.E., Edinburgh, and a regular and
complete inspection of the Lornty was made, the water from the burn being
analysed by Professor Macadam, who pronounced it to be very pure, aud above
the average quality for domestic or other uses.
Several schemes were.
suggested as to the supply. At first the- Lornty Burn was looked to as the
probable source, aud various small streams and tributaries of the Lornty
were also believed to be sufficient, and the situation of the ground at
Nether-Aird was considered likely to be turned into a natural basin or
reservoir for the reception and distribution of the springs so to be
The Glasclune burn was also
speculated upon, but all these schemes were, after due consideration, set
aside, and it was resolved to take the water supply direct from Loch Ben-a-chally,
thereby getting rid of all vegetable and other impurities, and securing a
permanent and thoroughly sufficient supply direct from the fountain head.
Loch Ben-a-chally lies a
little over seven miles to the north-west of the town in a cavity at the
eastern base of the hill Ben-a-chally, from which it takes its name. It lies
760 feet above the lower part of Blairgowrie; the reservoir at Burnhead,
about half-a-mile north of the town, being 500 feet lower than the loch, and
260 feet higher than the lowest part of the town.
The gradient of the fire-clay
in all the seven miles is not less than 1 in 200. In some parts it is as
much as 1 in 35. .
The extent of the loch,
according to the Ordnance Survey, gives 131 acres of average area. In some
parts it is over 30 feet in depth. By arrangement with the Duke of Athole,
or his representatives, liberty was obtained to raise the loch five feet and
lower it other five, thus giving ten feet additional storage. From the loch
to the reservoir at Burnhead there are upwards of seven miles of fire-clay
piping, and through the town and neighbourhood are over ten miles of
cast-iron pipes as water mains for domestic and other supply.
The whole of the work, except
furnishing of materials, was performed in a substantial manner by local
contractors, at a cost of nearly £6,000, under the superintendence of; Mr
Fenwick, a gentleman of skill and experience, acting as Inspector on behalf
of Mr Leslie, O.E.; Mr David Tod acting as Engineer for the contractors.
The work was begun on the
14th March, and finished, after considerable delay in procuring iron pipes,
on the 27th October; and the water was turned on with much ceremony 011 the
oth November, 1870.
Since 1870, the requirements
of the district—which now includes a large portion of Rattray, <fcc.—have
increased so rapidly, that a new reservoir, of four times the capacity of
the old one, was built in 1893. In 1890 it was thought advisable to have a
full report on the entire water system by an expert, and Mr George Baxter,
C.E., Dundee, was engaged. After a most thorough survey from the reservoirs
to Loch Ben-a-chally, Mr Baxter drew up and submitted a very elaborate
report. On his recommendation new filter-beds aud measuring boxes were laid
down, with new screens at the loch. The w hole system is now in first-class
order, under the personal superintendence of a practical man.
The following is a copy of
Professor MacAdam’s report and analysis of the water:—
I have made a careful
chemical analysis of a sample of water forwarded to me by the Local Board of
Blairgowrie through James Leslie, O.E.
“The general characteristics
of the water were excellent; as received for analysis, the water was clear
and transparent, free from visible contamination, evolved no odour, and
possessed an agreeable taste. On evaporation the water yielded the following
results, calculated to one imperial gallon:—
Sodium (common salt), ...
Sulphate of Lime
(stucco), ... ...
Magnesium, ... ... ..
Potassium, ... ... trace
Carbonate of Lime
(chalk), ... ...
Magnesia, ... ... ...
Carbonate of Iron
and Phosphates, traces
Soluble Silica, .
. .. ...
Organic matter of
vegetable origin, ...
dissolved in one imperial gallon
“The foregoing results
demonstrate that the water from Blairgowrie is of first-rate quality for
domestic use. It is free from the presence of any impurity, and the saline
and organic constituents dissolved therein are cliaracteristic of all
wholesome waters. The quality of the ingredients in solution is
comparatively small, being decidedly below the amount found in domestic
waters generally, and in this respect the water under examination ranks in
the very highest scale. The degree of hardness is very small, anti, indeed,
the water is practically soft.
* * * * * *
“I consider that the
inhabitants of Blairgowrie would be extremely fortunate in securing a water
for domestic supply, which, alike as a beverage, for culinary purposes, and
in washing operations, is eminently suitable, and ranks in the highest
(Signed) “S. Thomson Macadam,
* * * * * *
Under a Charter granted by
the Superior of the Burgh, dated 10th September, 1873, the burgesses’
privileges were extended, and they were empowered to elect twelve, instead
of five, Councillors, with three Bailies instead of one; but the powers of
local government possessed by the towns-people were still found to be
unsatisfactory, and the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act, 1862,
was adopted. The Burgh then had a Police Commission of twelve, including a
Senior and two Junior Magistrates. Under this Act, Dr James Neilson was
elected the first Chief Magistrate, and, during his term of office, a
sewerage system was laid throughout the town, at a cost of £3000.
Some time after the
introduction of School Boards for the management of school affairs and
superintendence of education, the old denominational Church schools were
closed, and new Public Schools were opened on the 19th of August, 1879, by
Mr Allan Macpherson, Chairman of the School Board.
The Schools were built on the
field immediately to the north of the parish manse garden, being part of the
glebe belonging to the Established Church. The Schools, as originally built,
cost .of £3000 but considerable alterations and additions Lave since then
In 1882 a great improvement
was made on the lower part of the town by the formation of Commercial
Street. Prior to this, all foot and vehicular traffic to the Railway Station
had to be done by Tannage Street. The new street was formed by subscription,
and runs almost in line with Allan Street at north end of Wellmeadow, and
down by the west side of Station Hotel, through what was formerly the hotel
The square, still known by
the old name of Well-meadow, was also adorned with trees, after the fashion
of the squares in our large towns.
During the autumn of the year
1884 the whole country was astir with demonstrations in protest against the
Government urging that the franchise should be extended.
Blairgowrie, like its
neighbours, contributed to the excitement. A processional demonstration,
made up of over 1000 persons and 50 horses, was marshalled by Major D.
Chalmers in a field at the east end of Old Rattray, and paraded through Old
and New Rattray and Blairgowrie.
Towards the end of 1889 an
Act was passed—the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1880—which provides for
the establishment of a County Council, to be entrusted with the management
of the financial and administrative business of the county. Blairgowrie, by
reason of population, was entitled to elect two representatives to this
Council, wherefore the Burgh was divided into two wards or divisions.
The first ward includes all
that is contained to the east of the boundaries, as follows:—“up the east
side of Wellmeadow crossing to Leslie Street, west north side of same to
Croft Lane, up east side of same to High Street, along north Hide of same to
John Street, and up east side of same to old Parochial School. The second
ward embraces all contained to the west of said boundaries.”
In January, 1890, Chief
Magistrate Bridie and Mr James Ogilvy were nominated to contest the first
ward; Mr James Stewart being nominated for the second ward; and for the
landward part of the parish of Blairgowrie, Mr Allan Macpherson and Mr James
Scott were nominated.
The election of the various
representatives took place within the Public Schools, 4th February, 1890,
when Mr James Ogilvy was elected representative of 1st ward by a majority of
6. Mr James Stewart was elected, unopposed, as representative of the 2nd
ward ; and Mr A. Macpherson was elected to represent the landward division
by a majority of 36.
About the 25th of June, 1890.
the Boundary Commissioners under the Local Government Act issued their
proposals for the consolidation of parishes. The following were their
proposals regarding the parish of Blairgowrie: —“Annex to this parish the
detached part of Bendochy at Driminie aud the part of the parish of Kinlooh
knowrn as Cochrage Farm, thus uniting the detached part of Blairgowrie, at
Cochrage and Blackcraig, with the main part of the parish ; detach from
Blairgowrie and annex to Bendochy the detached part of Blairgowrie at the
Well town of Bamff and the part of the main parish of Blairgowrie lying to
the east of Rosemount (Parkhead estate).”
In the beginning of August,
1890, the Boundary Commissioners issued orders relating to
Blairgowrie:—“That a detached part of the parish of Bendochy, containing 901
acres, situated at Drimmie and adjoining the parishes of Rattray,
Blairgowrie, and Alyth. shall form part of the parish of Blairgowrie; ami
that a detached part of the parish of Blairgowrie, containing 1742 acres,
situated at Creucliies and adjoining the parishes of Rattray. Bendochy, and
Alyth, shall form part of the parish of Bendochy. That so much of the parish
of Kinloch as lies to the north of the inarch between the lands of Cochrage
and Blackcraig on the north, and Millhole Farm, Middleton Farm and Mur#, and
Glasclune Farm on the south, shall form part of the parish of Blairgowrie.”
Blairgowrie gave away, as
foresaid, a detached part and a part of the main parish valued at £602 and
£200 respectively, while it received a detached part of Bendochy renting at
.£656, and the farm of Cochrage from Kinloch. The total rental of the parish
was therefore reduced from £28,009 to £27,888. (1890.)
On the 20tli of March, 1892,
a special meeting of a Committee elected in 1887 in connection with the
proposal to have a Public Park for Blairgowrie, as a memento of the Qneen
Victoria Jubilee, was held in the office of the Secretary (Mr J. B. Miller).
Mr Thomas Steven presided, and the following letter was read :—
“Blairgowrie, 10th March, 1892.
“Dear Sir,—At the first
meeting of the Public Park Committee kindly intimate that, conjointly with
my sister, Mrs Nicoll, we will have much pleasure in conveying by a deed of
gift, in favour of the public body they may appoint, that field belonging to
me at the Loonbrae as a public park for the inhabitants of Blairgowrie aud
Rattray, and hope that the Committee may now see their way to carry out
successfully the very desirable object which they have been endeavouring to
promote.—I am, yours faithfully, “William Davie.”
It was stated that it was Mr
Davie’s wish that the field should be conveyed to the Police Commissioners
of Blairgowrie and Rattray, and be administered by a Committee consisting of
three from each, with six elected by these bodies from the general public,
preferably, in the first instance, from the Public Park Committee, the
Chairmen to be alternately the Chief Magistrates of Blairgowrie and Rattray;
and that part of the field be so utilised that the upkeep of the whole
should necessitate no tax upon either of the two parishes.
The Chairman submitted the
following resolution:— “That this Committee accept, on behalf of the
communities of Blairgowrie aud Rattray, of the offer of Mr William Davie and
his sister, Mrs Nicoll, of a field for a public park; and tender them their
united and cordial thanks for their most liberal gift, so freely and
ungrudgingly given; and that a Committee be appointed to meet Mr Davie and
his sister, and arrange the necessary preliminaries so that their intention
may be carried into effect with as little delay as possible.”
This was seconded by Mr James
Isles, and a Committee, consisting of Messrs Thomas Steven, John Bridie,
Thomas Doig, and the Secretary, was appointed.
In a second letter Mr Davie
suggested the purchase of a field ad joining his, belonging to Mr James
Thom, a letter from whom was read offering the same at £650. This field
comprises about nine acres, Mr Davie’s being eleven acres and costing £700.
A public meeting of the
ratepayers of both burghs was held in Public Hall, Blairgowrie, on the 29th
April, 1892, for the purpose of considering Mr Davie’s generous gift. The
chair was taken by Chief Magistrate Bridie, who, along with Mr James Isles,
ex-Cliief Magistrate Steven,] Chief Magistrate Doig, and Junior Magistrate
Stewart, spoke in the highest terms of the offer of Mr Davie in giving of
his means to help the public of Blairgowrie and Rattray in their recreation
and amusement. Upwards of thirty gentlemen were thereupon appointed a
Provisional Committee to carry out the scheme and endeavour to raise funds
to purchase the adjoining field.
The park was afterwards
handed over by Mr Davie to Trustees who are empowered to let it until they
accumulate funds sufficient to warrant them in opening it to the public.
On the 15th of May, 1893,the
Burgh Poliee (Scotland) Act, 1802, came into operation, under which our
Senior Magistrate was honoured witl: the title of , “Provost”—(John Bridie
being the first to have the honour). One section of this Act declares “that
the Burgh shall have a Common Seal bearing a device to be fixed on by the
Commissioners.” After due consideration a design by Mr John A. R. Macdonald
was approved of, the component parts being:—“ A very ornate escutcheon
entwined with the leaves of the strawberry—(that luscious fruit so abundant
in the district). The escutcheon is divided into three divisions, each
having a crest emblematic of different periods in tlie history of the town.
The one on the left is a sheaf, tlie crest of the old family of Blair of
Blair, now extinct; on the right a nest of young ra\ens, the crest of the
Drummonds of Blair, one of whom, while proprietor of the estate and resident
in Newton Castle, obtained a Charter, 9th July, 1031, from King Charles I.,
whereby the town was erected into a Burgh of Barony. The lower part lias
that well-known object of interest portrayed, the Brig o’ Blair, with the
motto underneath, ‘ Bhlair-gobhainn-righ,’ the whole circumscribed with a
buckled band bearing the inscription—
"The Commissioners of the Burgh of Blairgowrie.’”
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
The whole work was designed
aud 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, w ho entered into rest 6th November, 1891, aged
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
The ceremony of formally
handing over the fountain to the town was of a simple nature.
Macpherson Memorial Fountain.
Town Council, and others
connected with the public bodies assembled, along with representatives from
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 lettei her views and wishes as to
“To the Police Commissioners
of Blairgowrie, the Bailies and Town Council, aud 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,
“Blairgowrie House, May 8th,
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
When the burgh was thoroughly
drained in 1876-77, up till 1803 the whole of the sewage had been allowed to
flow into the Ericht, unfiltered, at two outlets—one near the Bridge, the
other opposite the Railway Station.
Various complaints had been
made against this treatment, aud the Board of Supervision more than once
pressed upon the Commissioners the advisability of remedying the state of
affairs. In 1891 a crisis was reached negotiations were entered into with Mr
Macpherson of Blairgowrie, and plans were prepared for carrying the whole
sewage down the river a distance of 1600 yards beyond the Railway Station.
The sewage was to be filtered there, and the effluent allowed to flow into
the river; but objections were raised, and various actions by different
proprietors, who held that it would destroy the amenity of their land, &c,,
obliged the Commissioners to carry the sewage works further down the river.
Ground to the extent of li acres having been acquired from Dr Rattray’s
Welltown estate, the filter-house was erected at the lower end of the
ground. Constructed (after a model supplied by Mr Mackay, County Sanitary
Inspector), of brick, it measures 40 feet long by 21 feet broad.
The sewage enters at one end
of the building, is carried along one side in a channel, returns back again
nearly to where it entered, and is again finally' carried to the opposite
end. In the chaunel a number of “interceptors,” formed of whin pavement
stones, are placed with angle deflected stones, the bed of the channel
having a slight rise towards the point of exit, so as to cause the sediment
to settle within the channel as much as possible.
At the extremity of the
channel a filtering well is formed about four feet deep, the cover of which
lies at an angle of about 45 degrees, and is formed by a hinged frame, about
seven inches deep, covered on both sides with galvanised steel wire-cloth,
the space between the two sheets of wire-cloth being filled in with fine
gravel, the sewage having to force its way through this filtering medium.
The whole apparatus is fitted up in duplicate, so that while one set is in
operation the other is being allowed to settle for a few days, and the
sediment is then cleaned out. Adjoining the filtering screens are two sludge
wells, about nine feet deep, into which the sludge is allowed to pass by
means of valves ; this can then be lifted out by means of pumps fitted up
for that purpose. The filtered effluent goes into a channel beyond the
filters, carried to the outside of the house, passes through pipes for about
30 yards, and for a further 450 yards, through rough pasture and
uncultivated ground, in a channel formed through a bed of sand and .fine
gravel, to the river.
All the works were carried
out at an estimated cost of £1500, including .£200 to proprietors for
compensation. The works were first put into operation under the direction of
the “City Fathers”—Provost Stewart, Bailies Clark and Lamb, and other
members of Commission, 10th November, 1893.
During the night of the 17th
and morning of the 18th November of that year, a fearful hurricane of wind
swept over the district, devastating whole forests and changing the general
aspect of the country entirely.
On the 7th and 8th December,
1896, Lord Wolseley, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, honoured
the town by a visit (staying over night at Craighall, the seat of
Lieut.-Gen. (now Sir James Clerk Rattray), and, on the 8th December,
unveiled a monument on the North Inch at Perth to commemorate the deeds of
the gallant 90th (Perthshire) regiment, which was raised in 1790 by Thomas
Graham of Newton, afterwards Lord Lynedocli.
Under the Charters of 1809,
1829, 1873, &c., the following gentlemen have been elected Bailies of
William J. Ayson,
Senior Bailies Senior
1st Dr James Neilson,
2nd Thomas Steven,
John D. Fell,
Dr James Neilson, 1873-75 and
1876-78. Thomas Steven, 1878-1887. John Bridie, 1887-1803.
John Bridie, 1893. James
Stewart, 1893-1896. James Chalmers, 1896-1897. David Templeman, 1897.
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