The work of one of Fermanagh’s most renowned model makers, Gordon Johnson, is to be displayed at the Buttermarket in Enniskillen after the artist’s family gifted one of his pieces to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

Mr. Johnson was a much-loved teacher and was known for his unique creations including ‘Myrtle’, a model steam engine, which seven years after his death will now be on display to the public. His other work has been featured in numerous venues including the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and Fermanagh County Museum at Enniskillen Castle.

A meeting of last week’s Regeneration and Community Committee heard how Mr. Johnson’s wish was that “Myrtle” be located for permanent public display in Enniskillen.

The Council was told how the Johnson family wish to gift ‘Myrtle’, a kinetic piece of artwork and a form of art that depends on movement for its effect, to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

Councillors were told that ‘Myrtle’ needs to be housed in an exhibition case for protection from the elements.

The Johnson family have offered ‘Myrtle’ to the Council with the following conditions:

• ‘Myrtle’ will belong to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council as a gift from the Johnson family on behalf of Gordon Johnson and should be displayed in the Buttermarket, being a central position and artistic hub for the town

• The movement and sound should be installed and maintained by County Museum staff or, if not possible, a reputable electrician

• The Johnson family will polish the brass and maintain the housing in which ‘Myrtle’ is displayed, using microcrystalline wax and glass cleaner

• In the event of ‘Myrtle’ being damaged, the Johnson family would not expect any compensation from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

• If, in the future, the Buttermarket should no longer be in a position to house ‘Myrtle’, it is the family wishes that she could go to another central site within Enniskillen, in consultation with the family

• ‘Myrtle’ should not be sold and if unwanted at any stage in the future, she should be offered to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

Financial Running costs for ‘Myrtle’ are estimated at approximately £500 per year to include electricity, maintenance, glass cleaning and brass polishing. The Johnson family have offered to undertake the cleaning for the immediate future. In addition, the motors and batteries need replaced approximately every five years at a cost of £400.

There is no additional cost for the insurance of ‘Myrtle’ once in situ at the Buttermarket. The cost of moving and installing ‘Myrtle’ is approximately £1,000 and can be met from in-year existing budgets. The cost of the housing for ‘Myrtle’ has been secured from existing budgets and through grant-in-aid from the Department for Communities.