Monday 16 May 2016

Duncan McPherson Fountain, Gourock

I had never really paid much attention to this fountain in the Pierhead Gardens in Gourock, but it really has some lovely features.

It was donated to the town by Captain Duncan McPherson.  He died in 1910 at Mavisbank in Gourock.  His obituary states that he was marine superintendent of the Gem Line of coastal steamers, was a local councillor and magistrate and was Commodore of the Royal Gourock Yacht Club.

The fountain originally stood in the road at the pierhead - you can see this from these old photographs which are conveniently attached to the fountain.  It was dismantled and removed because of increased traffic.  For many years it lay neglected in a council yard.  It was rediscovered in 2005, refurbished and rebuilt by W H Kirkwood and then placed in its present location in the gardens across from Gourock railway station.

It was only when I was taking photographs that I noticed these lovely sculpted panels of ships which I presume are to commemorate Captain McPherson's association with the sea and yachting.

Duncan McPherson also donated a cottage hospital to Gourock.  It opened in 1925 and closed in the 70s.  The building is presently used as a centre for adults with learning difficulties.

The McPherson family grave is in Gourock Cemetery.  The headstone gives family details.  Duncan McPherson was married to Mary Shaw (died 1892).  His parents were Alexander McPherson (died 1861) and Mary Smith (died 1901).  He also had a brother Captain Alexander McPherson (died 1887) who was married to Elizabeth Gray (died 1908).  The gravestone has a nautical motif of rope and anchor at the top.

(The Gem Line shipping company was founded in 1852 by William Robertson and the ships were named after precious stones - Ruby, Pearl etc.  More information can be found at the University of Strathclyde Archives.)


  1. A good solid memorial to a good solid citizen.

  2. I love a happy ending for such structures! The subtle artwork is intriguing.

  3. Interesting history. I've passed that fountain a few times on bike runs but never stopped for a good look at it.

  4. I love the ship engravings on the fountain.


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