Missing Inverness

Compiled by Dave Conner

Below is a selection of buildings and things that have disappeared from Inverness over the years, with one or two items that have been relocated or since re-discovered.

STATION HOTELWas the fancy dome with pedestal above, plus the ornate finials around the balustrade, removed because of the effects of weather? Did the dome have a plaster exterior?
Forbes Fountain
FORBES FOUNTAINGifted to the town in 1880, many Councillors wanted it removed as it ‘got in the way’ of Election meetings and Royal Visits. It was finally moved in 1953 and the upper part was “irreparably damaged during dismantling.” The base now stands in the park area in Ladies Walk.
THREE GRACES – Correctly The Three Virtues, were carved by local sculptor Andrew Davidson in 1868 to sit atop the newly built YMCA building at corner of High Street and Castle Street. When the building was demolished in 1955 they were removed and stored by the Council until bought in 1961 by a collector. They stood at Graemeshall House, Orkney until 2007 when the Highland Council was able to buy them back. They now stand by the riverside beside Ness Bank Church. There are four figures, including the ‘bairn,’ and because it was designed to be mounted to a building wall, their backs are rather unsightly. It is hoped something can be done to cover their rear.
(James Valentine)
CASTLE GUNSArtillery guns and Flora Macdonald statute overlooking the River Ness from Castle Hill. On the left is an 1873 German cannon captured by the Cameron Highlanders in WWI. The cannon on the right was a trophy from Sebastopol in the Crimean War, presented to Inverness in 1857. It sits on a cast metal carriage built by the Rose Street Foundry. Both cannons were sent for war scrap in 1941. (Andrew Paterson)
GRANTS CLOSEOriginally called Dr. Grants Close, this lane from High Street to Baron Taylor Street used to be a right of way. Now it seems to be part of Metropolitan House (although there is a locked door at the halfway point barring further access. When and why did it get ‘stopped up’?
CATHEDRALThe rear fleche was removed circa 1936 and
replaced with a cross, however the proposed spires were never
actually built on the twin towers because the money ran out.
Sometime earlier a similar fleche on the Town Hall roof was also removed. A number of Inverness buildings had a fleche
(French = arrow) type of spire – made primarily of wood with a metal and slate covering. Being partly open to the elements, the wood soon rotted and they were removed for safety reasons.
Union Street, Inverness
BANK OF SCOTLANDThe building at the north-west corner of Church Street and Union Street (now The White House Bistro) was built for the Bank of Scotland in 1863 at a total cost £1267 12s 8d. There were originally nine carved heads surrounding the building – three ladies and six men, one above each window and door. Who were they? And what happened to the missing chap above the door on Union Street? (Andrew Paterson)
ARDKEEN TOWERThe building on the knoll at the junction of Culduthel Road and Old Edinburgh Road was built between
1834 and 1836, as the Inverness United Charities Institution.
The original entrance was a monumental, but rather steep,
flight of steps at the corner of the streets, as shown on the
Ordnance Survey map of 1867.
HOUSE IN ABERTARFF CLOSECommonly misnamed as Abertarff House, it is the oldest secular building in Inverness, dating from 1593. For years it was hidden from view by houses in front of it and had become ruinous. The houses fronting the Church Street entrance way have long since been demolished.
Church Street
DALCROSS HOUSE – in Church Street, showing fishmongers and old roofing, building built in 1700 for James Dunbar of Dalcross. By mid-19th century it was occupied by tradespeople, and was demolished in 1900. The site later housed the Clydesdale Bank and the four triangular pediments were preserved inside the building. They have not been seen however, since the bank moved premises in the 1980s. The corner building is now a restaurant/bar called R & B’s. (Andrew Paterson)
92-94 ACADEMY STREETAnother building lost to Inverness in recent times was built circa 1830 as residential villas for ‘respectable families.’ The building, although Listed, was still demolished in 2014 due to “the indiscriminate and inappropriate use of cement rendering to the principle facade and the extensive use of cement pointing and rendering to the rear.” (Andrew Paterson)
…and of course the swans have been replaced by seagulls. (J.B. White)

2 thoughts on “Missing Inverness

  1. I thought the building (now MacDonald’s) was demolished more recently than 1955. Was it rebuilt as a bank of Scotland? I seem to remember the colonnades still being there in the 70s.

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