New Mosaic for West Mill Street
On 30th and 31st March 2023 a brand new mosaic was laid outside Lower City Mills on West Mill Street, Perth. The artwork replaced a previous mosaic which had been laid in the 1990s but had become badly damaged. By 2021 there was only a small ring left at the centre, so Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust commissioned mosaic artist Helen Miles to colour-match the original tiles and create a design which was as close to the original artwork as possible.
The new mosaic was created by Helen and students participating in the recent mosaic conservation training courses (part of our Building Skills – Inspiring Futures scheme). Throughout the course the colour-matched tiles were carefully arranged across 19 different sections to form a circular jigsaw 2m in diameter. Finally, over the Thursday and Friday of Easter Weekend, the sections were set into place in the pavement and sealed with grout.
The new mosaic is part of our larger project to re-open Lower City Mills to the public. The new artwork, designed to evoke both the water in Perth Lade as well as the machinery in the A-listed mill building it sits beside, has enhanced the locality and will compliment work to conserve the building. Development of the project is on-going and it is hoped that work will be completed in Summer 2025.
The Building Skills – Inspiring Futures project has been run by the Trust for almost a decade as a way to encourage more young people into traditional trades such as stonemasonry and carpentry as a profession. Alongside mosaic conservation, in 2022-23 courses also included stone masonry, traditional carpentry, and sash and case window conservation. Thanks to funding from Historic Environment Scotland and The Gannochy Trust, the courses are free for those between 15-25.
Attendees have mainly come from local schools – Perth Grammar, Perth High School, Bertha Park and St John’s Academy – but due to their rarity the courses have also attracted students from across the country! Anyone interested in attending should keep an eye on the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust website for information on upcoming courses.