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Perth, Tay Street, Waterworks

Art Gallery (Period Unassigned), Waterworks (19th Century)

Site Name Perth, Tay Street, Waterworks

Classification Art Gallery (Period Unassigned), Waterworks (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Perth Waterworks; Tourist Information Centre; Marshall Place; J D Fergusson Gallery; The Rotunda; The Fergusson Gallery

Canmore ID 28358

Site Number NO12SW 194

NGR NO 12039 23128

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Perth
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO12SW 194 12039 23128

Location formerly cited as NO 12038 23137.

Pumping Station

(Perth Water Works) [NAT]

OS (GIS) ep. 2.

Pumping Station

(Perth Corp. Water Works) [NAT]

OS (GIS) ep. 3.

The Fergusson Gallery [NAT]

OS (GIS) AIB, May 2006.

Architect: Adam Anderson 1832

External Reference:

Public Library Architectural Review April 1957 article and photographs

Situated on corner of Tay Street and Marshall Place, facing the South Inch.

Converted to Tourist Information Centre by Morris & Steadman, 1968. Involved the addition of a rectangular south wing.

Converted to J.D. Fergusson Gallery by McLaren, Murdoch and Hamilton, Perth.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

(Location cited as NO 120 232). Perth Waterworks, built 1832, architect and engineer, Adam Anderson). A circular classical building, with a domed cylindrical cast-iron tank, and a rectangular block in similar style, with a handsome stone chimney. Recently restored and converted to an information centre. The early 20th century extension, with its Douglas and Grant triple-expansion pumping engine, has been demolished.

J R Hume 1977.

This building stands on the corner of Tay Street and Marshall Place. It has been converted to a tourist information office.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 29 April 1988.


Construction (1829 - 1832)

Completed 1832. Ashlar masonry, circular base supporting 146000 gallon water tank. Tank and roof of cast-iron and bolted together. No longer in use as water tank. Intake from river and fed city by gravity.

R PAxton and J Shipway 2007

Publication Account (1987)

In this region a number oflocal authorities built elaborate water-towers in the 19th century to house water cisterns intended to supply water to their respective burghs. Many of these had a comparatively short life being replaced by more effIcient, lifless picturesque, rural reservoirs. Notable examples of these water-towers survive at Arbroath (NO 635407) in the form of a Gothic folly, and Montrose (NO 715588) in an octagonal tower, now converted to a dwelling house.

The Perth Waterworks designed by Dr Adam Anderson in 1832 in a neo-Classical style is a particularly fme example of this type of building. It is interesting for the quality of the architectural composition, its contribution to the townscape of Perth and for its early use of cast-iron as a cladding to the upper portion of the cistern-house.

The cistern-house has the appearance of a domed Roman rotunda and sits on the corner of the street terminating the classical terrace facing the South Inch. The pump house is partly concealed by the rotunda and the chimney of the pumping engine has the appearance of a Roman triumphal column. The upper portion of the rotunda, which originally housed the water cistern, is constructed of cast-iron painted to match the stonework of the rest of the building.

The building has recently been renovated as the Perth Tourist Information Office and as such is open to the public albeit without its original internal fittings.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Fife and Tayside’, (1987).

Project (2007)

This project was undertaken to input site information listed in 'Civil engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' by R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Publication Account (2007)

[Name cited as The Round House water tower]. Built from 1829–32, the tower was part of a water supply scheme for the city designed and superintended by schoolmaster–engineer Dr Adam Anderson, Rector of Perth Academy.

The Round House is built in ashlar masonry in the style of a roman temple. It comprises a circular base with walls 5 ft thick supporting a 146 000 gallon domed storage tank from which the water was distributed by gravity throughout the city. The tank and roof are made from cast-iron sections bolted together. Alongside, to the north, there was a boiler/pump house with a chimney 110 ft high adorned with classical vase-style chimney pot. The scheme also included filter beds on Moncreiffe Island and an intake suction pipe beneath the river from which the water was pumped into the distribution tank.

It is recorded that Dr Anderson once wrote in chalk on the lintel above the south door of the Round House,

‘AQUAM IGNE ET AQUA HAURIO’ (‘I draw water by fire and water’). This piece of classical wit was later inscribed in gilt lettering on a panel above the main door where it can be still be seen, but there is now no longer water in the tank.

R Paxton and J Shipway

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission of Thomas Telford Publishers.


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