John Duncan, the artist who helped provide Patrick Geddes with drawings in his illustrated cultural masterplan for Dunfermline, was the man behind the design for the fountain that sits by the herb garden at the back of Abbot’s House. Abbot’s House received a makeover in the 90’s, turning it into Dunfermline’s most attractive tourist destination, sitting in the shadow of the abbey in the town’s newly titled ‘cultural quarter’, ( ¾ seriously uncultured). The makeover of this historic building was overseen by Dr. Elspeth King, herself a Fifer. Due to it’s proximity to the ‘alcoholic quarter’ and it’s convenience as a shortcut to the south of the town, the garden has suffered many acts of vandalism, including the hanging of used condoms from the sweetpea trellis and regular use of the fountain as a urinal. This has prompted a decision by the local heritage group to erect a sign on the sandstone wall above the fountain. The sign reads:
Don’t piss in the fuckin well… This stark warning, carved out on a cherrywood plaque, a direct quote from the musician Anton Newcombe of the U.S. indie band, The Brian Jamestown Massacre, has caused more than a ripple of dissatisfaction among visitors to the house, resulting in a barrage of letters to The Dunfermline Press. Local councillor, Mike Rumney, exclaimed, “ Jesus, not even the worst of my constituents in rundown Abbey View would fail to find this sign utterly offensive. It is time for those involved in this project to hold their hands up and apologize to God” Creator of the sign, local artist Alan Grieve, himself from ‘rundown Abbey View’, was unavailable for comment. 25/11/2007.