The Devlin Fountain
in Starbank Park
One of the best known trawler owners to operate from Granton Harbour was Thomas L Devlin & Sons Ltd. The company was set up by Mr Thomas Devlin, of Irish origins, who started out trading as a fish merchant at Newhaven Fishmarket. He had an excellent memory, and made a habit of walking the length of the market from his office purportedly to get a drink of water from a tap at the far end of the market but in fact to check and memorise the other merchants' prices. After some time in the market, he bought a fishing boat and in time expanded the fleet. The company remained in family control and became well known.
By 1910, Mr Devlin had made money and was a Justice of the Peace. He decided to donate a fountain to the community, and the chosen site was Starbank Park. The Park was owned by Leith Corporation, and included in its grounds a Georgian villa with an excellent view over the Forth to Fife. For many years this it was the park keeper's house but has now been sold into private ownership. The steep slope in the park is a favourite place for children to roll Easter eggs, and has a star-shaped flower bed on it.
The fountain was designed by George Simpson. A smaller fountain was also donated by Mr Devlin, on a triangle of grass opposite Annfield, Newhaven. Both were unveiled on the same day. The fountain at Annfield has since been removed.
A general view and a detail shot. The fountain was made of terra-cotta, a clay-based material that was moulded, had a surface glaze applied, and was then fired in an oven. It was quite a popular material in its day and was used on shop fronts, for example, well into the twentieth century. There is another terra cotta fountain on Glasgow Green, in front of the People’s Palace, which was recently restored.
Unfortunately the fountain was vandalised and some parts were broken. Eventually the upper parts were dismantled and removed to storage, leaving only the base in position. Here we see the parts stacked onto pallets ready to be taken away – date 6 July 2004.