The restoration of a prominent Perth waterfront building has revealed a hidden secret.
During extensive repair and conservation work on the city’s former natural history museum, a stone carving of an otter with a salmon was discovered high up on the south gable not previously known by owners Timelarch Ltd.
John McEwan, director of Timelarch Ltd, said: “Although we have owned the building since 1988 and were aware of many of the property’s stone carved gargoyles and animal faces, the carved otter and salmon has never been noted before.
“Our recent restoration work was to the Victorian terrace, formerly housing a school to teach religious education to underprivileged children at No 62 to 64 and the natural history museum at No 66.
“Perth Opera House at No 60 was latterly a warehouse for Loves of Perth, but sadly burnt to the ground in the mid ’80s. The terrace was originally constructed in the 19th Century as part of a major redevelopment of South Tay Street by a consortium of Perth businessmen including Sir Thomas Moncrieffe and Robert Pullar of Pullar’s of Perth Dyeworks and Cleaners.”
The recent repair and conservation work, by local tradespeople, took six weeks and was partly funded by a grant from the Perth City Heritage Fund, a grant administered by Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust (PKHT) with the support of Historic Environment Scotland.
The work included lead replacement, window renovations, lime mortar work, and new cast iron downpipes with foliate decorations, faithfully copied from the originals by Ballantine’s Castings Ltd at Bo’ness.”
Sue Hendry, chairman of PKHT, spoke of her delight at seeing such a prominent building conserved and restored.
“We were very pleased to be able to assist the conservation of this fine building with a grant from the Perth City Heritage Fund,” she said.
PKHT has received £750,000 to run the second phase of the scheme to 2018 to enhance the conservation areas of Perth city centre and Kinnoull. The first phase from 2012 to 2015 supported 33 projects with almost £650,000 of funding.