Renfrewshire Council

Fountain Gardens

Originally laid out in 1797, Fountain Gardens are Paisley's oldest public park.

They are located on the fringe of Paisley town centre with the main entrance on Love Street and another entrance on Caledonia Street.

They were developed on the site of earlier gardens, the Hope Temple Gardens, which created by John Love.

John Love was a local manufacturer after whom Love Street was named. Hope Temple Gardens were formal gardens open to the public. They also contained a bowling green and the Hope Temple Museum.

The gardens were put up for sale in 1866 and bought by Thomas Coats of Ferguslie, an industrialist who with his brothers ran the Paisley thread manufacturing company J&P Coats. 

Thomas Coats had the site redesigned by the landscape architect James Craig Niven of Glasgow. Niven's new design was a grand, geometric layout with broad walkways all leading to an ornate fountain at the centre containing statues of herons, dolphins and walruses. 

A major feature of the new gardens was the elaborate ironwork which included lamps, gates and railings. Coats also paid for ornate seats, drinking fountains, a cast-iron verandah, rock garden and alpine beds. 

A cottage for the park superintendent was built on the left hand side of the main entrance on Love Street. A sitting room for ladies was built on the right.

A sapling taken from the original "Wallace Oak" at Elderslie, prior to the tree's destruction in 1856, was planted in the new garden. Legend tells that William Wallace hid in the tree to avoid capture by his enemies.

The gardens were renamed Fountain Gardens and gifted to the public of Paisley by Thomas Coats. As Paisley grew in size and became more industrialised, Thomas Coats wanted to give the people of Paisley an open space which they could enjoy. The garden's inauguration took place in May 1868.

A statue of Robert Burns was erected in the Gardens in the 1890s. The cost of the statue was funded from money raised by concerts given by the Tannahill Choir, (1884 - 95) which took place on the Gleniffer Braes. The statue is located next to the fountain and is reputed to be the finest Burns statue in Britain

In recent years, funding provided by Community Scotland has allowed numerous upgrades to take place in Fountain Gardens. These included work on paths, lighting, fencing , play area, landscaping, additional seating and the supply of bins around the Burns Statue.

 

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