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One of the key aims of the Dalkeith THI and CARS is to engage with the local community and to promote an awareness and understanding of Dalkeith’s unique heritage ...

The Burns monument, a Victorian cast iron fountain was originally erected in Dalkeith High Street near the junction with South Street to mark the centenary of Robert Burns' death in 1899.

The cost was met by public subscription initiated by the local Burns club.  The cast iron fountain was of a standard design, manufactured in Glasgow by George Smith &Co’s, Sun foundry.

Over the years,the fountain has been witness to many of Dalkeith's  historic events :

  •         Soldiers marching off to the first world War.
  •         Suffragettes holding open air meetings.
  •         Parades that heralded visits by crowned kings and queens .
  •         Blackout procedures during the Second World War.
  •         Processions celebrating the end of the war.

However,the fountain finally succumbed to the pressures of modern day traffic in the centre of a busy road junction.  It was moved to the gardener’s cottage in King’s Park in 1968.  In 2003 the fountain was then relocated to Komarom Court. Some repair work was carried out at that time and it was publicly inveiled to mark Robert Burns'  Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary of his birth).

Over the course of time  the fountain bowl and cherubs were lost, as was the lantern  on the top.

As part of the Dalkeith Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) and the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), the idea of the restoration of the monument was discussed together with possible associated public realm improvements in the High Street.

There was also a Facebook campaign led by Derek Hanlon on the Dalkeith Historic Town Facebook site .

Funding was agreed in 2016 between Midlothian Council and Dalkeith Business Renewal and a grant was secured from Entrust.  This enabled the restoration and relocation of the Burn’s Monument back to the High Street, with public realm improvements and new heritage trail panels adjacent to the former Cross Keys Hotel and the Tolbooth.  Both these buildings have been restored under the Dalkeith THI/CARS scheme.

Funders:

Midlothian Council

Dalkeith Business Renewal

Entrust

Additional  advice and support were provided by the Dalkeith History Society and  the Cousland Smithy Trust ,who lent their 'Burns Plaque' as a template for the replacement item that can be seen  on one of the roundels.

The Design Team:

Midlothian Council

Jim Mitchell, cast iron consultant

P1 Solutions for the public realm

Lost  Art for the restoration of the Burns Monument

The Restoration of the Monument

The restoration work involved carefully dismantling the fountain from its location in Komarom Court and taking it to Lost Art’s workshops in Wigan . The specialist process of restoring the monument was then  able to start.

The main elements comprised:

  •         The stripping down and repair of the existing structure.
  •         The reinstatement of missing elements , ie the plaques set in the roundels on the four faces of the dome roof over the fountain .
  •         The production of patterns for and manufacture of the cherub and bowl which had been lost.
  •         The reinstatement of the lantern.

Research was carried out to find out what plaques were orginally located on the roundels.Discussions took place with the Dalkeith History Society and old photographs were examined. Evidence suggests that a plaque with the bust of Robert Burns was on one of the roundels.A Burns plaque from Cousland Smithy was kindly lent by the Cousland Smithy Trust  as a template for the restored plaque . The Dalkeith Town Coat of Arms may have been on another roundel together with Dalkeith’s Masonic Coat of Arms on  another.

The lost items , the cherub , bowl and lantern were made with reference to the orginal designs for these fountains as they were built to a Victorian standard pattern book design. In addition, members of the Lost Art team visited existing versions of the orginal cherub and base section and commissioned 3D scanning of these that then formed the basis of the casting patterns and moulds.

Associated Public Realm Improvements

As part of the scheme to restore the Burns monument the pavement in front of the former Cross Keys Hotel and the Tolbooth has been extended to take in the site of the last hanging in Dalkeith . This has provided  a wider and more comfortable pedestrian area and two interpretative heritage trail panels have been erected giving information about the two historic buildings.New seating and planting has also been provided and the site of the last hanging identified in the paving with text laid in a circular design into the paving flags. 

Unveiling ceremony

This was held on January 25th 2017 in front of an invited audience , over 100 people attended and were invited back to the Dalkeith Masonic Lodge to see an exhibition and have some refreshments .

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