LIKE MOST towns and cities throughout the country, Inverness has also given way to change over the centuries, none more so than in its buildings. With so many of these now disappeared, it is difficult to imagine what previous structures, and in some cases entire streets, looked like in a bygone era.
With that in mind, Gordon Lynn began to research photographs and documents at the Highland Archive Centre, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (now HES – Historic Environment Scotland) and the Highland Council’s Am Baile website. Once sufficient information had been gathered, Gordon set out on his first pen and ink drawing, a panoramic street view of the west side of Castle Street as it was in 1928.
Following a major landslip occurring between the Castle and Castle Street in 1932, this provided a catalyst for development of Castle Street resulting in all buildings from the gate house at the top of the hill to bottom of the hill being demolished, although the council’s municipal buildings including the Town Hall at the foot of the hill still remain to this day.
During the unearthing of this invaluable archived material, it became apparent that other buildings and complete streets had long since disappeared. Once Castle Street had been completed, other streets including Bridge Street, Exchange Place, Gordon Place and Bank Street followed. Friars Lane was then drawn which is situated at the bottom end of Church Street, remaining now as a grassed embankment strip at the side of the Old High Church.
With archived material presenting a wonderful treasure of past ornate structures, Gordon has come upon various individual buildings which warrant highlighting on their own as standing out from the others.
One such building is the old Theatre Royal which laterally stood at 13 Bank Street on the edge of the River Ness, having a rich history and many a story to tell along the way. The Theatre Royal started off initially in Theatre Lane in 1805 (now called Hamilton Street) behind Inglis Street but closed down in 1827. A purpose built theatre was eventually built in bank Street in 1882 where it continued successfully until it was sadly destroyed by fire in 1931.
Gordon’s most recent Moment in Time project was both sides of Academy Street as the buildings appeared in 1920, for the Academy Street Townscape Heritage Project. Visit the ASTHP website to see the drawings.
His present project is Church Street and following completion recently of the west side, has now moved on to the east side of the street.
A quite exquisite building was unearthed during research in the form of Dalcross House which stood on the corner of Church Street and Queensgate.
Some of Gordon’s work is shown on the Am Baile website and a selection are also housed at the Highland Archive Centre, where they are regularly shown to visiting school groups to highlight what can be produced utilising all of the invaluable documentation that is held in their possession.
Taking inspiration from the William Glashan and Pierre Delavault paintings of a bygone Inverness, Gordon has found that with one street leading to another, there is still a lot to be recorded and he finds putting the full picture together of lost Inverness an extremely fascinating and satisfying project, reproducing each street in its entirety in a way which it has not been seen for many a year.
Sad though it is that numerous buildings and entire streets have disappeared from Inverness over the years, there is still an abundance of information to be uncovered and ultimately reproduced in these pen and ink drawings as a record of Inverness in a bygone era.
Details on how to purchase prints from the Gordon Lynn Project can be obtained from the Print Shop page on this website.