A GRANITE fountain that once stood in Tillicoultry can now be found at Hazelhead Park in Aberdeen. What people may not know is that the fountain had been returned home, as it once stood in the heart of the city.

The Aberdeen New Market off Market Street in the Granite City was designed by Aberdeen’s most noted architect, Archibald Simpson, and was a huge building, housing stalls of all kinds.

The foundation stone had been laid by Lord Provost Thomas Blaikie on October 8, 1840, with the formal grand opening of the building being on April 29, 1842.

Inside in the centre was placed an ornate granite fountain for use of the stall holders and their customers.

On the evening of Saturday, April 29, 1882, the 40th anniversary of the opening of the New Market the building was destroyed by fire.

The fire had originated in a large stall in the upper west end of the market shortly before 8 o’clock that belonged to basket maker Robert Ogg whose baskets were stacked from floor to ceiling.

It was caused by a lit taper when his wife went to light the gas lamps and the baskets caught fire. In an old photograph following the fire, the fountain can be seen although was badly damaged.

It was decided by the authorities that it should be replaced with an identical replica, and this would eventually find its way to Tillicoultry.

The original fountain is thought to have been made by Macdonald and Leslie as they were involved in the construction of Market Street, while the replica fountain was manufactured by John Fraser and Sons at North Broadford in Aberdeen.

It was made with polished red Peterhead granite and placed in the rebuilt New Market in 1883. Originally, it also had iron gas lamps attached to it, one of which is now near the café in Duthie Park in Aberdeen.

At some point after the construction of Tillycorthie House near Pitmedden for Bolivian tin mine owner James Rollo Duncan in 1912, the fountain was moved to the estate. It remained here for some time, before being dismantled into three sections and re-erected in Tillicoultry sometime after 1933.

It remained in the town until 1978, when the Leisure and Recreation Department of Aberdeen City Council tracked it down and asked for it to be returned to the city.

Today it stands on the site of the former Aberdeen Zoo, tucked away in a corner not far from the Piper Alpha memorial.

It is known as the Tillycorthie Fountain.