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The History of Blairgowrie
Chapter IV

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 Blair—Magistrates— Provosts.

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 Band.

The year 1863 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

Meikleour Cross.

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 adhered.

“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, Chief Magistrate.”

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.”

From The 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 collected.

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:—

“Analytical Laboratory, Surgeons’ Hall, “Edinburgh, 26th May. 1669.

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:—

Chloride of Sodium (common salt), ...

l-36 grains.

Sulphate of Lime (stucco), ... ...

0-83 „

Chloride of Magnesium, ... ... ..

0-21 „

Chloride of Potassium, ... ... trace


Carbonate of Lime (chalk), ... ...

0-87 „

Carbonate of Magnesia, ... ... ...

0-43 „

Carbonate of Iron and Phosphates, traces


Soluble Silica, . . .. ...

0-19 „

Organic matter of vegetable origin, ...

0‘53 „

Total matter dissolved in one imperial gallon

4-4‘2 grains

Hardness, 2 degrees.


“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 class.

(Signed) “S. Thomson Macadam, M.D.”

* * * * * *

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 been made.

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 garden.

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—

Burgh Seal.
"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 fine 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,

Macpherson Memorial Fountain.


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 lettei her views and wishes as to this fountain.”


“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, “E. Macpherson.

“Blairgowrie House, May 8th, 1803."

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.

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 Blairgowrie:—

James Scott,

elected 1810.



James Dick,

„ 1811



Robert Dow,

„ 1813.



Thomas Johnstone,

„ 1815.



David Kidd,

„ 1817.



James M‘Xab,

„ 1819.



George Constable,

„ 1821.



William Robertson,

„ 1825



Thomas Whitson,

„ 1827.



Robert Ayson,

„ 1831



Robert Robertson,

„ 1833.



James Leslie,

„ 1837.



John Brown,

„ 1839



David Wilson,

„ 1841.



William J. Ayson,

„ 1845.



Thomas Mitchell,

„ 1847


George Robertson,

„ 1849



James Young,

„ 1851



Robert Lunan,

,, 1855.



John Fleming,

„ 1859



Thomas Steven,

„ 1861



Alexander Buchan,

„ 1867.



James Chalmers,

„ 1869



John Bridie.

„ 1871.



Senior Bailies  Senior Bailies—

John Bridie,


1st Dr James Neilson,


James Chalmers,


2nd Thomas Steven,


David Chalmers,


William Craigie,




James Chalmers,


John Bridie,


William Craigie,




James Chalmers,


James Stewart,


George Brown,




David Chalmers,


John Bridie,


George Brown,




Thomas Low,


George Brown,


Thomas Low,




John D. Fell,


Chief Magistrates—

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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