Established as a crossing point on the River Tay in the 1300s, Bridge of Earn flourished as a spa town during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Victorian visitors flocked to the area to take the healing waters drawn from Pitkeathly Wells, endorsed by medical experts of the time as a cure for a plethora of ailments, ranging from hiccups to cholera.
Bought by the gallon or by the jar, the water was stocked by chemists all over Britain while baths and tearooms, tennis courts and croquet lawns sprang up around the five wells, local hotels and boarding houses enjoying healthy occupancy during the busy summer months.
Mineral water from four of the five wells – East Well, West Well, Spout Well and South Park Well – was originally piped into Dunbarney Well from where it was pumped to the spa, established in the 1780s just west of the town.
Such was its popularity that in 1910 drinks giant Schweppes initially leased and then bought the site, erecting a bottling plant. It closed in 1927 after a fire and, over the years that followed, business slowly dwindled, custom for the spa finally drying up altogether in 1949.
Today all that remains of this once prosperous oasis of peace and tranquillity hidden away in the Perthshire countryside is the circular well cottage, topped with a conical stone tower inscribed with a cross.