Lesmahagow Fountain and Fountain Hall

The Fountain, Lesmahagow

The Fountain and Fountain Hall, Lesmahagow. 15th April, 2012

This article is about the history of the drinking water fountain at the junction of New Trows Road and Abbeygreen and the Fountain Hall opposite it in Abbeygreen. It includes an account of the refurbishment of Abbeygreen, part of which was the installation of a new fountain.

The McKirdy Fountain

The original McKirdy Fountain and Parish Church Hall 1915.

In the 1870s, an agreement to provide Lesmahagow with a proper piped water supply was reached with John McKirdy of Birkwood House. He would finance the building of a water tank to supply his house and the village; in addition, a drinking fountain would be erected in the village. This was erected at the junction of Abbeygreen and New Trows Road in the 1880s. It was a prominent landmark in the village until 1926, when it was decided to move it as it was an obstacle to buses turning at the junction. It was planned to move it to McKirdy Park, but it was so damaged on removal that that plan was abandoned.

The original McKirdy Fountain and Lesmahagow Main Street 1904.

The Parish Church Hall

Central SMT buses outside the Parish Church Hall on a snowy day in the 1930s.

In the 1990s, the Parish Church Hall and surrounding area were sold to a property developer who intended to retain the character of the building but add on a new building for the Bank of Scotland. The Bank of Scotland had premises in the Bankhouse near the other end of Abbeygreen.The rear of the Bankhouse was used as a care home. Moving the bank to better premises would free the bank building to extend the space of the Bankhouse care home.

Bankhouse Care Home

MHA Bankhouse Care Home. Formerly a bank, originally the British Linen Bank and latterly the Bank of Scotland until it moved into new premises adjacent to the Fountain. Date: 18th Oct 2017

Rebuilding of Parish Church Hall around 2001>

Rebuilding of Parish Church Hall around 2001 to add an extension for the bank.

Bank of Scotland, Lesmahagow

Bank of Scotland, Lesmahagow from car park. Date of photo: 24th March 2014.

The Fountain Hall, Lesmahagow. 5th May, 2011. Election Day

The Fountain was originally the Parish Church Hall but rebuilt together with a new branch for the Bank of Scotland (on the left). The building was first used as a restaurant but, after the restaurant closed, it was bought by the Council to convert into a public hall.

Lesmahagow Main Street Improvements

Co-op after closing

The Co-operative Foodstore in Lesmahagow's main street closed at the end of November 2012, a victim of competition from the Tesco store opened in 2010.

Following the opening of Tesco in November 2010, the shops in Abbeygreen began to decline. The Co-operative and Stewarts Fruit and Flowers both closed down and older empty shops made the street look abandoned. A collaboration between Lesmahagow Development Trust, Tesco and South Lanarkshire Council enabled Traders to have their shop fronts improved.

Lesmahagow repaint

Lesmahagow village gets a repaint! Many of the shops and buildings in Abbeygreen, the main street were repainted. This picture show Sneddons Bakery after repainting, its colours nearly matching those of the delivery truck parked nearby. Photographed 2nd May 2013.

Lesmahagow repainted

Abbeygreen, after shops in the main street had been repainted. Photographed 6th May 2013.

Masonic Hall re-rendered and repainted

The Masonic Lodge was looking very sad as the rendering was breaking off and the rest was very grubby. This photo shows it much brighter after rendering repairs and painting. Photographed 2nd May 2013.

In addition to the repainting, work was started on a number of infrastructure changes to the Abbeygreen area, particularly for pedestrian safety:-

  1. A re-alignment of the junction of New Trows Road with Abbeygreen. New Trows Road originally joined at an acute angle enabling motorists to join Abbeygreen at speed, with only a cursory glance at the traffic, straight into an area with a bus stop, a pedestrian crossing and junctions with Bloomfield Road, the entrance to the Royal Bank of Scotland and the car park behind the Bank of Scotland. Pedestrians crossing the road on the crossing had to be careful as cars would not stop. The junction was changed so that the road curved round to join Abbeygreen at a right-angle, obliging motorists to stop, look and then proceed if clear.
  2. A new ornamental fountain would be erected at this area.
  3. The road next to the Fountain building, originally a road to the Church Manse and then used for vehicular access to the Glebe Medical Practice, would be blocked off and the area pedestrianised. Access to the Medical Practice would now be from the Bank Car Park which would be extended to give more spaces for staff and patients.
  4. The bus stops on both sides of the road near the Fountain would be improved with new bus shelters, metal slatted seats nearby and bollards to protect pedestrians. These bollards were also put down the right side of Abbeygreen as far as the Resource Centre.
  5. Improvements to the road surface of Church Square, originally intended as a car free area with block paving. However,because of prectical problems for hearses reaching the church and also parking for tenants of the flats and owners of the houses, this was later changed to red tarmac.
  6. Lesmahagow junction work started

    Work started at junction of New Trows Road and Abbeygreen for re-alignment and for new fountain. Date of photo: 5th October 2008

    Lesmahagow junction work completed

    The completed realignment of the junction of New Trows Road and Abbeygreen. Work on the bus stop area is also complete. Date of photo: 21st December 2008

    In this photo, note the circle in the pavement at the apex denoting the location of the fountain. At this time, the Fountain Restaurant had ceased trading and the building is boarded up.

    Lesmahagow  work on bus stop area completed

    Work on area around bus stop on other side of the road completed. Date of photo: 21st December 2008

    This area is now pedestrianised. There is no longer access to the Medical Centre by car here, only through the Bank car park.

    South Lanarkshire Council authorised the creation of a replacement of the fountain. Machan Engineering of Falkirk was contracted to manufacture and install an exact replica of the original McKirdy fountain in cast iron. This was accomplished using original moulds and new pieces created from drawings of the original. JPS Restoration and Property Services assisted in the assembly of the whole, the installation of the fountain and painting of the structure. The drinking fountain was restored to its original location on 24th June 2010. Sadly, Machan Engineering ceased business in 2015 as orders for cast iron Royal Mail postboxes dwindled.

    The Fountain, Lesmahagow

    The completed fountain.

    Painting the New Fountain in Lesmahagow

    On the 24th June 2010, the Council installed a fine replica of the original. This picture shows an artist painting in the gold features.

    The Fountain, Lesmahagow

    "Keep the Pavement Dry" - the top of the fountain.

    This was built as a working drinking water fountain. Unfortunately, not long afterwards, the fountain was vandalised and the taps wrenched off. The water was cut off and the fountain never became a working fountain again.

    Work on Church Square, Lesmahagow

    Work started on Church Square. Date of Photo:13th May 2010

    Church Square

    Church Square with Lesmahagow Old Church showing the completed red surface on the Square. Craignethan Apartments (former hotel) are on the left and the Nisa store and Post Office on the right. Date of photo: 11th June 2018, shortly before the Highland Games, hence the bunting.

    Conversion of Fountain buiding to a public hall

    In mid-2008, South Lanarkshire Council undertook a review of all its community facilities. As a result of that review, the council's executive committee decided to declare the Jubilee hall surplus to requirements and invest instead in the nearby Fountain hall, which had lain mothballed until it was acquired by the council at a cost of more than £500,000.

    THe Hadden Group converted the former restaurant into a community centre at a cost of £780,000.

    The Main Hall can accommodate up to 140 people while the Lesser Hall can take 40 people. There are two small meeting rooms which are suitable for various activities including group work, training, interviews, arts and craft activities, surgeries and so on.

    In addition, the new adventure soft play area for pre-school children (maximum age 5) which is located on the upper floor of the complex is proving to be very busy both as a drop in facility for parents with young children and by local mother and toddler groups.

    The Fountain Community Centre

    The newly refurbished Fountain Community Centre, Lesmahagow. First used as a Polling Station on Thursday 5th May 2011, the Centre was officially opened on Saturday 7th May 2011.

    Exhibition Lesmahagow Past and Present

    Objects from Old Lesmahagow Pharmacy

    An excellent exhibition "Lesmahagow - Past and Present" took place on the 14th September 2013, organised by Clydesdale Camera Club with displays by the Jim Hamilton Heritage Society of Coalburn and Lesmahagow Parish Historical Association.

    The photos above show the exhibition of prints and the display of objects from the old Lesmahagow Pharmacy. part of the collection by John Veitch, Lesmahagow's former pharmacist. Despite the appearance of the first photo, the exhibition was actually very well attended.

    The Fountain Hall was well used until the Covid pandemic, when it was closed. However, it was used as a Vaccination Centre and was used as a polling station. In 2022, following easing of restrictions, the Hall is again in use.


    1. Hadden Group - Fountain Restaurant Conversion, Lesmahagow
    2. Memorial Drinking Fountains - the McKirdy Fountain
    3. Fountain Hall South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture
    4. Aileen Campbell, MSP speech to Scottish Parliament
    5. The Fountain, Lesmahagow - video by South Lanarkshire Council

    Completed 28th February 2022 by David Halls.