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26 Jan 2022

Conservation in action at Haddo House

A view of a large Georgian country house with immaculate lawns in front. At the centre of the lawns and flowerbeds is a circular fountain, gently trickling.
The fountain at Haddo House
This year we’re hoping to work with a team of specialists to undertake a conservation project that will bring the fountain back to its former glory as the centrepiece of the terrace garden.

The Haddo House fountain dates from 1899, when it was commissioned by Lord and Lady Aberdeen to replace an earlier fountain. It was completed by the firm J Bannochie & Sons, ‘Plasterers, tile fixers, marble and cement workers, chimney pieces, grate and range makers’. J Bannochie & Sons were based in Aberdeen and held premises in a prominent spot on Belmont Street. They produced catalogue designs as well as bespoke work. The fountain was made specially for Haddo although its design was inspired by common classical design forms which were popular at the time.

A view of a fountain with a circular surround, situated in some formal gardens. Behind the lawns is a country park, with tall fir trees either side of a long grassy avenue.
The fountain is beautifully situated, with views right down the avenue in Haddo Country Park.

The fountain was made using an early form of concrete, which requires regular repair work in order to keep it operational. Despite this ongoing maintenance, the concrete structure has now started to fail and a larger-scale conservation project is required. There are also some concerns about the stability of the fountain base as it is placed on artificial ground – the terrace had been built up by the 4th Earl of Aberdeen in the mid-19th century as part of his improvements to the house, gardens and estate.

Recent investigations have highlighted the need to repair the structure of the base as well as stabilise and reinstate the cladding pieces to the lower bowl. We will also need to reapply the screed layer (the top coat over the concrete) to the lower bowl in order to make it waterproof. This will also prevent water leaching into the concrete and causing further damage. The central urn also requires stabilisation and consolidation, along with the pump and water system.

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