Fire crews help to protect valuable artwork from gallery flooding

Aquam Igne et Aqua Haurio by fire and water I draw water. Those are the words enscribed on the Fergusson Gallery in Perth, and they proved to be very apt on Thursday.

Perth fire crews were called in to safeguard the works of one of Scotland’s leading artists when the basement of the city centre gallery flooded.

More than two feet of water poured in to the lower ground floor after the pumping system failed during heavy rain.

The Marshall Place attraction, which once housed Perth’s main waterworks, is dedicated to the works of Scottish colourist JD Fergusson. Staff were forced to close the doors to the public for a short period while the clean-up operation took place.

Tayside Fire and Rescue deployed specialist pumping equipment to syphon the floodwater on to the street. Thanks to their efforts, none of the artwork was damaged.

Scott Bruce, from Perth and Kinross Council’s property division, told The Courier: ”This is the worst flooding at the old waterworks for around six years and once the water is completely clear we will be deploying maintenance staff to find out what went wrong.

”It appears the pumps stopped working, which allowed a quantity of water to gather in the basement area. The water level then became too high so we had to request help.

”We contacted the fire service on a non-emergency basis to ensure they had enough men and kit available to carry out the job.”

The gallery, housed in an original rotunda by the River Tay one of the earliest cast iron buildings in the world was designed in 1830 as a waterworks to supply the first plumbed water to houses in the city.