05 February
Cllr Sullivan, Nairn Pearson and Jordon Sammutt at the restored Bathgate fountain

The McLagan Fountain in Bathgate's Steelyard has been hidden under a tent for most of January 2024 to allow for restoration and improvement work to be completed.

Contractors Hy Spec Services Limited have now completed the project to clean, repair and repaint the fountain, restoring the striking cast iron structure to its former glory.

The fountain was originally gifted to Bathgate in 1879 by Elizabeth McLagan, wife of MP Peter McLagan, to commemorate the opening of the town's waterworks a year earlier. 

Executive councillor for the economy, community empowerment and wealth building Kirsteen Sullivan said: "I'm delighted to see the McLagan Fountain looking better than ever, thanks to this vital renovation.

"This restoration should ensure the much-loved landmark will be in good condition for a number of years so future generations can continue to enjoy it.

"It's also a fascinating link to West Lothian's history and heritage through the McLagan family, with Peter McLagan blazing a trail for others as Scotland's first MP from a mixed ethnic heritage."  

The fountain was made in Glasgow by Walter MacFarlane & Co., famous for their ornate cast ironwork. The decorative canopy is supported on four columns, covering the fountain which originally featured drinking cups on chains. 

The structure was originally sited at the junction of Hopetoun Street and Engine Street, where it was popular with drinkers coming out of the local pubs.  The McLagan fountain was taken down after only 20 years but was eventually relocated to the Steelyard in 1913.  

Peter McLagan was Scotland's first MP of a mixed ethnic background and represented the Linlithgowshire constituency from 1865 to 1893, by which time he had become Scotland's longest- serving MP.  Mr McLagan was also a strong believer in the temperance movement of abstaining from alcohol, making the gift of easy access to clean drinking water particularly fitting. 

The project is being funded by Bathgate Town Centre Improvement Fund, as part of the West Lothian Council's Capital Investment programme.

Picture courtesy of Stuart Vance/West Lothian Courier.