The Waterworks were designed and built (1829-1832) under the supervision of Adam Anderson, then Rector of Perth Academy (1811 to 1839). Adam Anderson also designed Perth Gas works.
As an academic he was responsible for a considerable body of research dealing with atmospheric phenomena and the utilisation of gases and other fuels.
Following his tenure at Perth Academy he moved to St Andrews University when appointed Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy.
He died in St Andrews in 1846. His grave in Greyfriars Churchyard is marked by an obelisk.
The building housed steam driven pumps which drew water through suction pipes from filter beds on Moncrieffe Island. The storage tank within the actual building could hold 146,00 gallons which was sufficient for Perth until the 1960s. The building was declared redundant in 1965. The rotunda opened as a tourist office, following a campaign led by Perth Civic Trust. It was later converted to the Fergusson Art Gallery in 1991. Currently it is closed as the Fergusson collection is to be displayed in the newly refurbished Perth Art Gallery in Bridge Lane.
The gold inscription above the door reads “Aquam igne et aqua haurio” which translates as “I draw water by fire and water” meaning steam. (Canmore 28358)