Wednesday 16 March 2011: Spring.....
In the early 17th century, the days of the cry 'Gardyloo', the Edinburgh water supply came from wells in the Cowgate, and, later, from local Lochs such as the Boroughloch (or South Loch) but these were polluted with effluent and thus a health hazard. When the supply became insufficient for firefighting in the close-packed timber buildings, for the breweries and for household use it became necessary to source a new and clean supply. In 1672 the Town Council, after planning and negotiations taking some 50 years, appointed Peter Bruschi to bring 'the sweet waters of Comiston' to the town. Thus four springs, named Fox, Hare, Peewit (or Teuchat) and Swan were capped, water piped to a local cistern house, thence by gravity to a large tank by the castle to be distributed to wells through the town, the project completed in 1681.
When the area was developed for housing in 1945 the spring water, no longer required as large out-of-town reservoirs came onstream, was diverted to the nearby Braid Burn.
It would seem that there is little respect or consideration given to the history of the spring heads, several of which, situated on open ground like the Swan Spring in my photograph, have mature vegetation growing through the masonry; similarly the cistern house is vandalised with the roof slates being constantly broken, exposing the timbers to rot.
I would like the City Fathers to repair and protect these monuments to the foresight of their predecessors, who provided clean and, above all, safe water to their citizens.
Hope Springs Eternal...?