Inverness Remembered

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Inverness Remembered

© 2020 Inverness Local History Forum Issue 81 September 2017 Issue 82 November 2017 Issue 83 February 2018 Issue 84 April 2018 Issue 85 September 2018 Issue 86 November 2018 Issue 87 February 2019 Issue 88 April 2019 Issue 89 September 2019 Issue 90 November 2019 Editor: Adrian Harvey


New plaque marks Inverness hotel’s support to the British Admiralty during World War One


Convenor’s Report I am honoured to serve as the new Convenor of Inverness Local History Forum, and I appreciate your support as the Committee strive to research and record more of our beloved town’s rich (yet hardly known to many) history. I also wish to pay tribute to those who have gone before me, for their efforts over the past 25 years in developing ILHF to the respected and appreciated organisation we now have. My immediate predecessor Bill Anderson did sterling work in many fields, and in particular it is gratifying to see that his dogged determination has finally paid off as NHS Highland are now addressing the condition of the exterior of the lovely Tweedmouth Chapel at the RNI. I also wish to welcome as ViceConvenor and Newsletter Editor my good friend Adrian Harvey (best known perhaps for rescuing and preserving the Andrew Paterson Photographic Collection), and as Secretary, Willie Morrison (retired journalist of note, and Editor of most of The Inverness Courier series of Inverness Remembered books). These gentlemen have kindly agreed to step in to fill the shoes of other ILHF members. Although we did have some concerns about populating the Committee for the recent AGM, this was not because of folk leaving the Forum, rather they simply had personal commitments which meant they could no longer guarantee to continue to contribute sufficient of their time to carry on those roles – albeit they all still remain active in ILHF. It is no mean feat to serve on an active Committee, especially one as busy as ours, and it is gratifying that we continue in a strong position for the future. My heartfelt thanks go to those who have stood down for all their efforts over many years, in particular to Maureen Kenyon and Allan Cameron, both of whom remain committed to ILHF and will continue to be involved. By way of introduction, for those who do not already know me – I moved from Dundee to Inverness as a child in 1961 and since then have called Inverness home, albeit during my 30 year service in Northern Constabulary I did move around the Highlands & Islands a fair bit. 2


I returned to Inverness in 1985 – as beat bobby at Kinmylies – and since then have worked and lived locally. My main interest has always been the history of policing in the Highlands & Islands but local history of the Inverness area has been right up there too. As a kid I used to live, first at the top end, and then at the bottom end, of Bumbers Laney (my dad was Manager of Howdens Nurseries) – so that tells you a bit about where I grew up. Then as a teenager my family moved to New Hilton – and when I married I stayed in a police house in Raigmore Estate – so I’d like to think I have an affinity with the whole of ‘the town’. Three years ago now, the Committee gave me authority to start up an ILHF page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/InvernessLocalHistory/ as a way to ‘get the information out’. Since then I have compiled over 130 articles and features (the old adverts particularly struck a chord) – which have been very well received by folk both at home and away. The high level of views and ‘Likes’, and enquiries from near and far, goes to show just how great the level of interest for local history information there is. Remember – you do NOT need to log in to Facebook to view the page and articles. ILHF strives to address a very clear need to inform and educate people in local history – a subject which I for one was sadly never taught in school. Thank you for your support, and here’s to a successful future for Inverness Local History Forum. Yours aye Dave Conner ILHF Convenor

Subscriptions 2017-2018

Subscriptions will be taken from members from the September meeting onward. As usual if you could put your cheque or cash in an envelope with your name and address on the front it will save a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are £10 per single person or £18 per couple. 3


Hedgefield House in World War One. The unique record of VAD nurse and photographer May Fraser. In 1915, Hedgefield House on Culduthel Road, the home of Mrs Helen Brougham, was converted into a First World War Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital for soldiers recuperating from wounds sustained on the Western Front. One of the nurses, local girl May Fraser, was also a keen photographer, and her images provide a unique record of the buildings use during the war. Hedgefield House was built in 1821 and advertised to let with immediate entry in May of that year. Between 1853 and 1878, it was the home of Bishop Robert Eden and his family before he moved to the newly built Bishop’s Palace at Eden Court.

Fraser-Watts Collection/SHPA

In 1899 Hedgefield was occupied by James Webb Brougham, his wife Helen and their family. Brougham died in 1909 and the house was let to a Mrs Elenora Knowles until about 1912, when the widow Brougham returned, but during the First World War Hedgefield House was converted into a Red Cross Auxiliary hospital. It opened in August 1915 when it received a first intake of 20 wounded Scottish soldiers. Its medical officer was Dr Reid and Miss Mary Agnes Sinclair was its only matron. By October, it had expanded to 24 beds and, in March 1916, it was described as “admirably fitted up and is altogether a model of what a small auxiliary hospital should be.” It continued as such throughout the war and remained open until early March 1919 – the last of the area’s Red Cross Hospitals to close.

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Mary Millicent (May) Fraser was born in Inverness in 1898, the daughter of solicitor Alexander Fraser of Westwood. She worked as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse in the Hedgefield convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers c1917-1918, and as a keen photographer documented much of the time she spent there. She had personally experienced loss from the war when her father, a Lt. Col. with the 4th Cameron Highlanders, was killed at the Battle of Festubert in 1915.

Fraser-Watts Collection/SHPA

She and her older sister Sibell, both in their late teens, worked as VADs at Hedgefield. May Fraser’s photo album of her time at the hospital shows the matron, the nurses, and the ‘boys’ – usually larking about as they recover from their wounds. Other images show early ‘ambulances’ and the theatrical group known as the Hedge Hogs which put on entertainments for the troops. After the war, May Fraser remained at home to help care for her widowed mother and six younger siblings, but in 1931 she made the adventurous decision to emigrate to Canada. Montreal was to be the first stop on a round-the-world working trip, but it turned out to be the final stop as well. She met the son of the minister of Montreal’s “Scottish Church” and they were married there in 1934. Adrian Harvey

Fraser-Watts Collection/SHPA

May Fraser’s photographs form the Fraser-Watts Collection within the Scottish Highlander Photo Archive and eventually all of them will be digitised and uploaded to the online database. Elements of this article first appeared in The North Magazine in 2015 with research contributions from Dave Conner and Maureen Kenyon. 5


Royal Highland Hotel plaque – Inverness in World War One For our readers from far afield who cannot visit The Royal Highland Hotel in person, here is the text of the recently erected plaque within the hotel. Inverness the gateway to the North was a hub of activity during World War One. In 1916 the North of Scotland was seen as strategically important and proclaimed a Special Military Area under the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA). For the movement of military personnel to be managed without the slightest delay and any lines closed against ordinary traffic at any time, the Government took over control of the railways. Strict security was enforced and armed soldiers policed the railway station. Travel was restricted with the requirement of special permits and permission to enter the station had to be applied for in advance, even for those wishing to say their farewells. Civilian passengers disembarking were not allowed to leave the station unless they had a permit and British subjects resident in the town had to carry a passbook. In the early days of the war The Royal Highland Hotel (formerly known as the Station Hotel) was the patronage of alien spies! Two of them, a man and woman, were arrested through the shrewdness of the hotel staff. They were taken to London for trial and some of the Hotel's staff went to London to give evidence. The man ended his career in the Tower and the woman was sentenced to penal servitude for life.

Andrew Paterson Collection/SHPA

During this period of conflict, meals were provided by the Hotel to the personnel travelling by the Naval Special – the ‘Jellicoe Express’ which broke its journey in Inverness for half an hour. Between 1917 and 1919 this train ran daily from Euston to Thurso, taking naval personnel north for transfer to the Grand Fleet in Scapa Flow, Orkney, making four obligatory stops en route. On the return journey it conveyed a mixture of military personnel. 6


Large quantities of food were kept on hand at the Hotel, not just for the provision of the trains, but there was also the addition of shipwrecked or torpedoed seamen or crews from captured German vessels and only very short notice would be given – this could add up to 1,000 meals daily. The Hotel also undertook the task of laundering blankets for the Admiralty. A sorting office for parcels and mail for the Grand Fleet was specially built on the station premises and part of the hotel laundry was used as additional space. At the end of the war, The Inverness Courier reported a dinner was held in the Station Hotel for the American Thanksgiving Day Celebrations and thereafter a Ball was held in the Northern Meeting Rooms in Church Street (American YMCA), which had been requisitioned by them. A special thank you to Bill Anderson and Anne C. Mackintosh of the Inverness Local History Forum for continuously providing the Hotel with a treasure of Historical Information.

Fraser-Watts Collection/SHPA

New ILHF book release A brand new publication The Fairfield Sundial: The Frasers of ‘Fairfield’ (Inverness) and their connections by Forum historian Anne C. Mackintosh is available to purchase direct for only £4.00.

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Christmas Lunch 2017

The Forum Christmas lunch this year will be held on Wed 6th December in the Palace Hotel on Ness Walk, and will cost £16.95 per head. Those wishing to attend must notify a Committee member NO LATER than the talk on 6th September as places are limited.

Around the Crown There is so much to discover when walking the dog; from an old-style boot scraper in the wall of a residence in Broadstone Park, two chimneys joined by a ‘bridge’ in Midmills Road, to the monogrammed house in Crown Circus. ‘JMcD’ was most likely John MacDonald, a wood merchant who lived in the house when the street was still named Victoria Circus in 1899.

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered Editor: Adrian Harvey


Convenor’s Report It is nice to report on progress and success, and the credit for these two instances is entirely due to my friends Bill Anderson and Dell McClurg.

Talks & Events 2017-2018 6th December Christmas Lunch, Palace Hotel.

Image: Dave Conner

As you may recall, Bill Anderson had been highlighting for some time the sad exterior condition of the Tweedmouth Memorial Chapel at the Royal Northern Infirmary (RNI). After Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, the 1st Baron Tweedmouth died in 1894, his widow, Isabella, made a bequest for a memorial chapel in May 1896.

7th February 2018 Alison Parfitt and Lynn Fraser will talk on the work of the Academy Street Townscape Heritage Project.

7th March Robert Preece will present the story of Scouting around Inverness before the Second World War. ILHF talks are presented on the first Wednesday of each month at 2.00pm in the Spectrum Centre theatre, Inverness.

The architects were the local firm of Ross & MacBeth, with partner Robert John MacBeth being the main player in the project. Tweedmouth Chapel was one of the buildings cited in MacBeth’s 1906 nomination for Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The Memorial Chapel was completed in early 1898 and opened by Lady Tweedmouth that May. As part of the opening ceremony there was Dedication by Presbyterian, Catholic and Episcopal clergy, since the building had been designed for ecumenical use — the first such building in the country.


Over the years, the weather has had considerable effect upon the exterior stonework, but thankfully this has now finally been repaired by very talented local stonemasons. NHS Highland has also now put in place a maintenance program for this ‘hidden jewel’. Well done Bill for your tenacity. Hopefully your efforts in respect of the ‘Rose Window’ (from the former Methodist Chapel, latterly Stewart’s Restaurant) in Inglis Street will also be successful.

Image: Dave Conner

Another almost forgotten event was recently highlighted, thanks to the determination and commitment of Dell McClurg of the Merkinch Community Council. Dell, who maintains the Old Ticket Office at South Kessock Ferry Pier, has at last succeeded in the provision of a beautiful memorial stone on the waterfront at Kessock Road, midway between the Old Coastguard Station (now Tangle Tower) and the Old Ferry Slipway. Back in 1894 there were two sailing boats which plied between North and South Kessock piers, the boats crossing the channel every hour. On the evening of 23rd February, a storm had arrived and was blowing down the Firth (Loch Beauly as it was formerly known) with some intensity. At the 6.00pm cross-over the boat from South Kessock successfully crossed and reached the North Kessock pier, but the other boat (with a crew of four) could not reach the South slipway and ended up in a small bay. The ferry skipper, the experienced Murdo MacLeod, had his crew drop anchor and planned to try to ride out the storm. The weight of waves crashing over the boat however concerned the crew greatly and they signalled their distress to the shore. A party of HM Coastguards, under Divisional Officer William Hobbs saw the signal and set off in a boat to try to take the ferry under tow. They were unsuccessful however as the storm pushed them past and their boat was driven on to the shore. Undeterred Hobbs and three of his men obtained another boat and tried again, this time drifting down at the end of a hawser secured to the moored pilot boat. As the rescue craft passed the stricken ferry, the Coastguards managed to get a lien across to the ferryboat, and the four ferrymen clambered aboard the coastguards’ vessel. Unfortunately that vessel was then swamped by waves and capsized, throwing all eight men into the water. 2


Only two, ferryman Angus MacKinnon and Coastguard Charles Lovejoy survived; MacKinnon clinging grimly to the hull of the upturned boat and Lovejoy who managed to swim ashore to raise the alarm with the Ferry Operator, who immediately organised search parties. The other six men drowned, not so very far from their home firesides. The three coastguards who died were: William Hobbs (54), divisional officer, coastguard station, who left a widow and eight children. Ruband Staite (40), commissioned boatman, who left a widow and five children. James Kilby (28) who left a widow and one child. The three ferrymen were: Murdo MacLeod (52), skipper, who left a widow and four children. John Mackenzie (52), boatman, who left a widow and eight children. John Macdonald (22) who was not married. In all 26 children were left fatherless and a fund was set up locally to help to support the families of those lost. The recent unveiling of the statue — which was financially supported by Tangle Tower’s proprietor Steven Byford — was a lovely event, and especially poignant was the fact that descendants of some of the ferry crew and coastguards were able to attend. It is great to see such instances of local history receiving attention at long last, and reassuring that there so many people who are now interested in our local history. Yours aye Dave Conner, ILHF Convenor 3

ILHF 2018 Calendar now available Each month reproduces a postcard scene of Inverness from a century or more ago. As these A4 pages are produced on quality paper (suitable for framing) the pages do NOT have a hole punched in them. The calendar will be available for purchase at the Christmas Lunch (Wednesday 6th December) priced at £7.00 each. Alternatively, copies can be obtained by post for £9.00 (including P+P - UK only) by sending a cheque payable to Inverness Local History Forum at: ILHF, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL. (Remember to include your full mailing address as we need to know where to send it.) Orders can also be made through ILHF Committee members. Supplies are limited.


The Indian frontier war of General Adams Major General Sir Robert Bellew Adams VC KCB, was born in Muree in the Punjab, India, on 26th July 1856. He was the son of Lt.-Col. Robert Roy Adams (of Forres) and Frances Charlotte Caroline Bellew (of Soulby). His father, the District Commissioner of Peshawar, was assassinated by Muslim fanatics in 1864. His mother died in 1903. Adams saw service with the Bengal Army and the British Indian Army, served in India and Afghanistan and saw action in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, the Chitral Expedition and the Tirah Campaign of 1897-98.

The officer in charge was General Sir William Lockhart commanding the Punjab Army Corps. Under him he had 34,882 men, British and Indian, in addition to 20,000 followers. The frontier post of Kohat was selected as the base of the campaign, and it was decided to advance along a single line. On 18th October the operations commenced.

Image: Scottish Highlander Photo Archive

The Afridi tribe had for 16 years received a subsidy from the government of British India for the safeguarding of the Khyber Pass, in addition to which the government had maintained for this purpose a local regiment entirely composed of Afridis, who were stationed there. In 1897 without warning the tribesmen rose up, captured all the posts in the Khyber held by their own countrymen, and attacked the forts on the Samana Range near the city of Peshawar.

The force proceeded to traverse the Tirah district in all directions, and to destroy the walled and fortified hamlets of the Afridis. Almost daily the Afridis, too wise to risk general engagements, waged perpetual guerrilla warfare, and the various bodies of troops engaged in foraging or survey duties were constantly attacked. The 34 mile march down the Bara valley in December involved four days of the hardest fighting and marching of the campaign. The rearguard was heavily engaged, and the casualties numbered about 60 men. On the 14th, after further fighting, a junction with the Peshawar column was effected. The first division, aided by the Peshawar column, now took possession of the Khyber forts without opposition. 4


Negotiations for peace were then begun with the Afridis, who under the threat of another expedition into Tirah in the spring at length agreed to pay the fines and to surrender the rifles demanded. The expeditionary force was broken up on 4th April 1898. Robert Adams was 41 years old, and a Brevet Lieutenant Colonel in the Staff Corps and Corps of Guides, British Indian Army during the Tirah Campaign when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. “On 11th August 1897 at Nawa Kili, Upper Swat, India, Lieutenant Colonel Adams, with two other officers (Viscount, Alexander Edward Murray Fincastle and Hector Lachlan Stewart MacLean) and five men of the Guides, went under a heavy and close fire, to the rescue of a lieutenant of the Lancashire Fusiliers who was lying disabled by a bullet wound and surrounded by enemy swordsmen. While the wounded officer was being brought under cover he was killed by a bullet. “During the fighting at Nawa Bali, in Upper Swat, on the 17th August, 1897, Lieutenant-Colonel R.B. Adams proceeded with Lieutenants H.L.S. MacLean and Viscount Fincastle, and five men of the Guides, under a very heavy and close fire, to the rescue of Lieutenant R.T. Greaves, Lancashire Fusiliers, who was lying disabled by a bullet wound and surrounded by the enemy's swordsmen. In bringing him under cover he (Lieutenant Greaves) was struck by a bullet and killed — Lieutenant MacLean was mortally wounded — whilst the horses of Lieutenant-Colonel Adams and Lieutenant Viscount Fincastle were shot, as well as two troop horses.” Adams was later appointed ADC to HM King Edward VII but in November 1908 had to resign after receiving a serious injury to his spine resulting from a riding accident. Invalided out of the Army he retired in December 1911 when he was living in St.Albans, Hertfordshire.

Images: Dave Conner

He died on 13th February aged 71 at Reay House, Inverness. His heirs were his sisters, Ismay Bellew Adams Logan and Emily Anne Erskine Adams McPherson and his surviving niece was Mrs Evan M. Barron, of Oaklands. His second cousin, Edward Donald Bellew, was also a VC winner. General Adams’ gravestone is on the summit of Tomnahurich Cemetery – mentioned on the side as it was only his ashes which were interred in his brother-in-law’s grave. Adrian Harvey 5


ILHF latest publication — The Fairfield Sundial: The Fraser’s of ‘Fairfield’ (Inverness) and their connections The latest publication by Forum historian Anne C. MacKintosh has been met with much acclaim for the amount of research involved and the fascinating nuggets of information unearthed and presented. This book has its origins in the discovery of an ancient artefact in the grounds of ‘Abertarff House’ on Church Street in January 2015 by the then ILHF Convenor Bill Anderson, who happened to be on a historical research walk with a number of other folk. It had previously been noticed that something was positioned beneath, and totally obscured by, the dense hedge in the grounds backing up against the side wall of Hootananny’s. On most occasions the entry gate was locked but on that day it was open and the mystery was solved; the object was a large piece of stonework in the shape of a double sundial engraved with the words ALEX FRASER OF FAIRFIELD. Taking up the challenge to find out more about this gentleman — who clearly was someone of importance to have a personalised sundial — ILHF Committee Member Anne C. MacKintosh set about the task of tracing and researching Alex Fraser, his family and connections, their estates and mansions, and so much more — including the sundial and its provenance.

The book is only available direct from the ILHF for £4.00.

Images: Scottish Highlander Photo Archive

This 30-page A4 publication is profusely illustrated with maps, drawings and photographs telling the story of the Frasers; their connections, property, and rise and fall.

In Slezer’s 1693 view of Inverness it is thought the tall house in the centre is Fairfield. (Engraving by Paterson from ‘Invernessiana’ by Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, 1875.) 6


This is the final Inverness Remembered newsletter for the Forum’s 25th anniversary year, and seems a good opportunity to reproduce a poem by the Forum’s founder, Sheila MacKay. Written several years ago it has a message in there that is still appropriate for us all today.

Millennium Poem A Thousand Years by the River From the deep waters of my birth where legends lie beneath the waves Where clans have fought, where blood has spilled, where unknown men have found their graves With tides and torrents, floods and drought, each season changed my mood, my pace The mountains roaring snows melt down The summers gently sparkling face.

Upon my shores they made their homes from far and near, from foreign parts Their labours built crude dwellings, byres our ancient town had won their hearts. And so as centuries moved on, as battles raged from side to side Bridges were built and fell again, and still I flowed to meet the tide. Forth from my banks spread out our town — slowly at first, then gathering pace The flanks of each surrounding hill all covered now with no green space. Across my bridges rush man’s car. Trains heading North and South and West Above, the sky carries its load — man ever moving with no rest. Old buildings once clung to my shore where people lived and worked and died. They’ve long since gone, and now I see bleak concrete with no civic pride. Churches, their spires reaching up towards the skies, turn a blind eye For down beneath their lofty towers live memories of days gone by. Places of healing, music, song, still line my banks, but for how long? The onward march of sightless greed could wipe away our people’s wealth — and that is wrong. These precious things belong to you Take care my friends and keep them true. Days of violence, days of strife, hardship, courage, joy and tears Yet out of this our heritage came, born from a hundred hundred years. And now those thousand years have gone, surged and rolled towards the sea I’ve done my best to you, my town Dear citizen, please take care of me.

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Images: Scottish Highlander Photo Archive

A thousand years I’ve run my course through hills and glens to meet the firth Through myriad changes twixt my banks of war and famine, life, death, birth. Birth to the town of Inverness, its Castle standing proud above I gave its people life and food They came, they settled ne’er to move.


Around the Crown There is so much to discover when walking the dog; these heads can be seen on the facade of a semi-detached private residence in Lovat Road. Who do they represent?

Identification Parade This early hand-signed portrait by Andrew Paterson is unidentified. He may not be a local either; but possibly a famous personage of the theatre going by the way he is dressed in costume. There is a very light but faded pencil inscription which we cannot make out. It seems to begin as a dedication to Mrs Paterson but is illegible. Does anyone with a good knowledge of stage actors ……………………………………………… of the day recognise his face?

The Forum Christmas Lunch this year will be held on Wed 6th December in the Palace Hotel on Ness Walk, and will cost £16.95 per head. There are one or two places left so if you are interested please contact a Committee Member as soon as possible.

Subscriptions 2017-2018

Some subscriptions are still due. If members of the Forum wishing to pay at the regular talks could place their cheque or cash in an envelope with their name and address on the front it will avoid a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are £10 per single person or £18 per couple.

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered/82 Editor: Adrian Harvey


Convenor’s Report As the new ILHF Committee settle into our new roles, it seems a good time to take stock of where we are. Interest in our Local History has probably never been keener among the citizens of the town (sorry, city) and ex-pats who follow on Social Media. In my day (and probably yours too) Local History was not something covered in school, with the occasional exception such as a passing mention of Culloden. We in ILHF see it as our purpose to bring the Local History of Inverness to the attention of as many people as we can. Hence it is very gratifying to see the level of interest expressed by followers of our Facebook page. Recent articles I have posted online have reached a considerable number of people; for example The Forbes Fountain (over 9,000 folk) and the story of the ill-fated Schooner “Margaret Reid” reached over 7,000 readers.

Talks & Events 2018 7th March Robert Preece will present the story of Scouting around Inverness before the Second World War.

4th April

Ross Martin will talk about the history of the Old High Church through the years. 2nd May To be confirmed. 6th June To be confirmed. ILHF talks are presented on the first Wednesday of each month at 2.00pm in the Spectrum Centre theatre, Inverness.

These and many other “bite-sized chunks” of Inverness Local History can be found at: www.facebook.com/InvernessLocalHistory/

It is so pleasing to be able to share with you all the results of our research, and The Margaret Reid in the Caledonian Canal c1880 (SHPA) to track down old books on the subject of our Local History. It would be nice if the origins of so many of our street names were far better known too; a project I am currently working on. For example, do you know who these streets are named after; MacEwen Drive, Perceval Road, Inglis Street, Rose Street, Grant Street, and Evan Barron Road? Yours aye. Dave Conner, ILHF Convenor MacEwen Drive: Sir Alexander Malcolm MacEwen Kt. (1875-1941), Provost of Inverness 1925-1931. Perceval Road: Eleanor Perceval married Sir Alexander Matheson of Lochalsh in 1860. She was a grand-daughter of Spencer Perceval (1762-1812), the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated. Inglis Street: Provost William Inglis of Kingsmills (1747-1801). Rose Street: The Rev Robert Rose DD (1744-1799), a minister in Inverness. Grant Street: Major Alpin Grant (died 1811) who also ran a hemp factory at the Citadel. Evan Barron Road: Dr Evan MacLeod Barron, editor of The Inverness Courier 1919-1965.


The Inverness-born founder of Australia’s oldest brewery Cascade Brewery is the oldest continually operating brewery in Australia, and the country’s oldest manufacturing enterprise. Based in Hobart, in the island state of Tasmania, it was originally a sawmilling operation, in a partnership between Inverness-born Major Hugh Macintosh and his brother-in-law Peter Degraves. The mills began operation in 1824 and the business later built flour mills, a water supply for the city and Hobart’s Theatre Royal. The brewery was founded beside the clean water of the Hobart Rivulet in 1831 by Macintosh and his nephews Henry and Charles Degraves, while Peter Degraves was in prison serving a five year jail term. Until 2011 the conventional history of Cascade Brewery held that it had been solely founded by Peter Degraves, however research by Australian historian Greg Jefferys indicates that the major partner in the business had been Hugh Macintosh, and that Degraves had falsified the company history after Macintosh’s death. Hugh Macintosh was born in Inverness in late 1776, and his sister Sophia would later marry Degraves. Macintosh became a soldier of fortune and an East India Company officer, a close friend of the Duke of Wellington and the Crown Prince of Persia. He was a veteran and hero of some of the bloodiest battles in British India, including the Siege of Seringapatam. He was also a painter, a violinist, and a fluent speaker in five languages. He emigrated from England on his ship Hope in 1824 with Degraves, an undischarged bankrupt and convicted thief. Degraves was born in 1778, an Englishman of French heritage, who became an ambitious businessman, engineer, architect and mathematician; but he was also a conman. In 1826 charges were laid against him for debts incurred back in England and he was taken into custody until 1832. As a result of Degraves’ arrest Macintosh dissolved the partnership, paid all of its outstanding debts and took over the running of the sawmills with his nephews as well as expanding his farming interests near New Norfolk. In prison Degraves spent his time redesigning the prison buildings for the colonial authorities. After his release he energetically started afresh and was soon on the road to becoming one of the richest and most respected men of the colony. He took over the running and expansion of the brewery on the property owned by himself and Macintosh. 2


Macintosh died on Christmas Eve, Degraves’ birthday, in December 1834 and his half share of the Cascade estate passed to his son William who lived in India. Degraves offered to buy William’s share but never paid his nephew and William died a pauper in 1840, still owed a small fortune by his wealthy uncle. Degraves died in 1852 and is today primarily remembered as the founder of the brewery, builder of a timber mill, flour mill, ship building yard, a large farm and Australia’s oldest theatre. All were financially successful enterprises with the brewery and theatre still in operation today. By the time of Macintosh’s death however, almost everything to do with Degraves’ public version of his life prior to his arrival in Van Diemen’s Land was either a gross exaggeration or complete fabrication. In the years after Macintosh died Degraves was able to rewrite the history of the business, completely removing all mention of his partner. Cascade continued to rise in popularity and became the colony’s premier beer by the 1850s, but eventually the trustees of the estate decided to sell. John Symes, a Scottish lawyer was instructed to reconcile the breweries accounts, but recognising its potential he bought it himself in 1881. Not only was the company a profitable one, but it also had some healthy industrial relations practices that ensured worker satisfaction. It was written in 1894: “...the bell rings at 3.50 for ‘beer time.’ Then work is suspended, and the hands all flock with their billies, and each man has his pint of beer, which he drinks as he smokes until Degrave’s father was the bell signals 4 o’clock. The same programme takes the eye surgeon Dr place in the morning, and at midday and evening the Pierre Degravers, a quack who was once men can each take home a pint of beer to their meals.” But even during the difficult times of the Depression the brewery supplied a free Cascade each afternoon to the unemployed of Hobart, provided they brought their own drinking vessels. Some of the beer mugs that were brought are said to have been very large indeed. Cascade is now owned by the Foster’s Group. Adrian Harvey Elements of the above article first appeared in the winter 2014 issue of The North Magazine. 3

associated with the case of convicted Edinburgh criminal Deacon Brodie. Brodie went to the gallows seemingly unconcerned, but the public didn’t know that he’d made a deal with Degravers, who had convinced him that his medical talents were such that he would be able to bring him back to life after his execution, and he’d been paid a considerable sum in advance by Brodie. However, his attempted resurrection was quite unsuccessful.


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James McCulloch, then 16, found a job as a luggage carter at the Foyers Hotel. In early 1915 he volunteered for military service with the 3rd/4th (Territorial) Battalion and was sent to France shortly after the Battle of Loos. Between March and July 1916, while serving with the 1st Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders, he was severely wounded and evacuated back to the UK. He died of his wounds in the University War Hospital in Southampton on 21st July 1916 and brought home for burial at the Old High Church. Rev Nimmo added: “James McCulloch was 21 years old when he died. He is buried next to his parents and other members of his family in the Old High Kirkyard. “At both the Old High and at St Stephen’s, we have many memorials to those who died in war. On plaques and in remembrance books, there are long lists of names. But behind each name there is a story, like that of Private James McCulloch. Stories of sons, brothers, friends who were taken from their families, never to return.” The Old High Church War Memorial During the course of the First World War the Minister of the Old High Church, the Rev Donald MacLeod and 431 of his congregation volunteered to serve in the armed forces. (MacLeod was decorated with the Military Cross for his work as a front-line chaplain. He died in 1935 and his grave lies near the church’s east door.) After the war the Old High Church set up its own memorial to those of the congregation who had lost their lives. Of the 62 names commemorated on the Thine Is The Victory, May Their Memory Be Blessed. memorial exactly half are Cameron Highlanders. Another memorial is found inside the church, the Martinpuich Cross which forms the centrepiece of the Old High’s Cameron Highlanders corner. The wooden cross is a poignant reminder of the Battle of the Somme, the costliest offensive of the First World War in which over 20,000 British troops were killed on the opening day, 1st July 1916. Four battalions of the Cameron Highlanders took part in the battle, the 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions and the wooden cross was erected at the village of Martinpuich, in Picardy, by the 6th Camerons during the battle. Between 14th-17th September they played a distinguished part in the capture of the village when 190 prisoners were taken. After the attack, and before leaving the line, the battalion pioneers constructed a wooden Celtic Cross and set it up at the 5


entrance to the village. The names of those who had fallen in the attack were stamped on metal labels and added to the cross. In the confusion of battle it was difficult to verify the accuracy of the roll call at the end of the day. The cross bears 37 names but, according to Regimental records, one man who was assumed missing turned up later and had the pleasure of detaching his own name. A cemetery grew up around the cross, and although the village was re-taken by the Germans, the cross was still standing at the end of the war. After the Armistice, the cross was recovered and brought to the Old High Church in Inverness. John McCallum was a younger member of a Glasgow family of six and his name is second from the top of those listed on metal tags on the Martinpuich Cross. John’s parents Mr and Mrs Duncan McCallum, lived in a comfortable red sandstone apartment in the respectable area north of the River Kelvin, at 11 Garrioch Quadrant. A bright boy, on the outbreak of the war he was 23 and John McCallum and the preparing for his final examination as a Martinpuich Cross chartered accountant, but he left his studies to in the Old High enlist in the Scots Guards in September 1914. Church, Inverness. He was quickly earmarked for officer training and commissioned into the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in June 1915. Posted at first to the 3rd Battalion, he was sent to France in March 1916 and transferred to the 5th Battalion, from which he was subsequently posted to the 6th Battalion, a unit which included many Glasgow based Highlanders. On 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, he was wounded at the battle for the Hohenzollern Redoubt, but rejoined his battalion on 15th August 1916. He fell exactly a month later, on 15th September in the battle for the capture of Martinpuich, one of 35 Camerons killed there on that day. However, his body is buried at Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont, along with those of other Camerons, rather than at Martinpuich Military Cemetery. Elements of the above article first appeared in the Old High Church brochure on the Cameron Memorial Area by Lt.Col. Angus Fairrie, and the church magazine by Willie Morrison. 6


Medieval remnant of Inverness Castle for all to see

Defensive structures have stood on the site of Inverness castle since 1057, when Malcolm III of Scotland is said to have built a castle there. The first stone castle was built in the 12th century during the reign of David I. It was sacked and partially destroyed several times until rebuilt in 1411 by Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, at a cost of almost ÂŁ640 and featured magnificent apartments embellished with stucco busts and paintings. The castle was stormed again in 1491 by Clan Mackintosh who garrisoned the castle. The castle was later taken by Clan Munro and Clan Fraser who supported Mary, Queen of Scots when she came to Inverness in 1562. The gates of the castle were shut against her and the Frasers and Munros took the castle for the Queen and the governor was hanged. The castle held out against James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose in 1645, but during the Civil War the castle was defended against Royalists, who took the castle for a short time in 1649 only to be later driven out by parliamentary forces.

Image: Adrian Harvey

It was extended and reinforced by General George Wade in 1725 following the first Jacobite Rebellion. In 1745 it was held by General Sir John Cope, but it fell to Bonnie Prince Charlie the following year, who had it destroyed completely with explosives. The French sergeant who lit the fuse was killed and his dog was blown across the river but escaped with only the loss of his tail.

The castle lay in ruins until 1833. It had over the years become a quarry for local builders and one stone said to have come from the castle was built into the front garden wall of a house in Culduthel Road — it has a large V and the date 1620, and can still be seen today. The present neo-Norman castle was built between 1836-1848. Adrian Harvey 7


Around the Crown There is so much to discover when walking the dog. The old-style road sign at one end of Lovat Road still looks classy compared to more modern versions further up the road; although it usually can’t be seen during spring and summer for hedge foliage.

Identification Parade

Another unknown portrait from the Andrew Paterson Studio in Academy Street taken c1936. Can any of our readers identify the sitter?

Copies of the ILHF book The Fairfield Sundial: The Fraser’s of Fairfield (Inverness) by Anne C. MacKintosh are still available to purchase at £4.00 each.

Subscriptions 2017-2018

Some subscriptions are still due. If members of the Forum wishing to pay at the regular talks could place their cheque or cash in an envelope with their name and address on the front it will avoid a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are £10 per single person or £18 per couple.

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered/83 Editor: Adrian Harvey


Convenor’s Report This year marks the centenary of the end of World War One and although I knew from the inscription on the Inverness War Memorial that “upwards of 5,000 men of the Burgh and Parish of Inverness went out on active service...of the gallant men 717 returned no more”, I was largely unaware of the extent of our town’s involvement in the war on the HOME Front. In addition to that immense contribution (and loss) made in terms of manpower to the front and to the fleet, Inverness also played a very important part in the war effort here at home.

Talks & Events 2018 2nd May Dave Conner will present the history of the US Navy Base 18 in Inverness during World War One.

6th June Annual General Meeting –

followed by David Henderson My Facebook articles tell some of the story of the local presenting a new look at the Joseph involvement; including hosting TWO naval bases of TWO nations Cook Collection. in TWO different harbours. Our own Royal Navy used Inverness Harbour for the transhipment of munitions to the Grand Fleet at 5th September A talk on the work of Invergordon and Scapa Flow, and the town was a clearing house the Academy Street Heritage Project. for Naval manpower and mail. In 1918 however a second nation, the United States of America, established its own base at Muirtown ILHF talks are presented on the first Basin and took over Glen Albyn distillery and the Carse. It also used Wednesday of each month at 2.00pm in the whole length of the Caledonian Canal, and American ships lay the Spectrum Centre theatre, Inverness. at anchor off Clachnaharry. You may have heard old people, particularly those associated with the sea, refer to the stretch of the Firth between Clachnaharry and Chanonry as “the Yankee Channel”; that is how it got that name, from being dredged in 1917 to allow clearance for the American ships. It is this momentous story, largely unremembered, which I look forward to expanding upon in our Illustrated Talk in May — US Navy Base 18. On another note we were recently hit with a substantial increase in the cost of annual rental of our wee office/store in the Spectrum Centre, and to make ends meet we need to revise upwards our Membership Subscription Fees. While we regret the increase to £12 per member (£20 per couple), we have tried to keep it as low as possible, and we hope you will understand we had little choice. Membership Renewal is due at our April Talk, and I’ve already paid my subs! We do hope you will feel that it still gives value for money, especially as we have expanded our quarterly newsletter to eight pages. Thanks again for all your interest and support. Yours aye. Dave Conner, ILHF Convenor The Stars and Stripes over Telford Street


The Inverness Roller Skating Craze of 1909 A copy of the 21st October 1909 edition of the Highland Times has a piece about the opening of a huge roller skating rink in Inverness. In 1908 a rink in Edinburgh had opened with a 40,000 sq.ft. floor with seats for 2,500 spectators; at the time one of the largest in the world. This was well-timed; by 1909 there was a resurgence of interest in roller skating and Scotland was caught up in the craze which swept around the globe. By 1909 there were better roller skates using ball bearings with fibre wheels, and rink floors were of maple wood instead of concrete or asphalt which greatly improved the experience.

J. MacMahon, Inverness

In the 12 locations where theatre chain Moss Empires Ltd. conducted business, 64 skating rinks were established in 1909, seriously affecting revenues. Management viewed the phenomenon as a temporary one and hopefully predicted that business would eventually recover. The Haugh Road Palace of Luxury Roller Skating Rink [SHPA]

As reported in the Highland Times: “The ‘craze’ has caught on in the Capital of the Highlands, and Friday witnessed the opening of the large and commodious rink situated in Haugh Road. It has been aptly described as a place of luxury. The electric lighting installation is a very fine one and consists of six flame arc lamps of 2,500 candle power each — five inside and one over the entrance. Around the sides of the rink and in the retiring rooms are 30 small lamps, mostly of the new metal filament type. For keeping the rink surface in condition there is a motordriven sand-papering machine, which, driven by a 5-hp electric motor through the medium of a flexible cable, runs about the floor polishing it as it goes.” The opening ceremony was performed by Bailie Birnie who said, “Throughout the country the public were manifesting the greatest possible interest in roller skating, and we could scarcely take up a newspaper without noticing the opening of rinks. Now they had got one in Inverness [cheers]. Birnie also announced that G.S. Monohan, the champion skater of the world, would visit Inverness to give exhibitions. A later report noted that the pastime had caught on tremendously, and a visit to the Haugh Road Palace of Luxury on any evening would find Inverness on rollers. “Young people of both sexes and those who are no longer young have succumbed to the fascination of ‘rinking.’ To sit in a corner of the brilliantly-lighted hall watching the merry whirling, laughing, falling, 2


gesticulating throng is an experience to be remembered. Everything connected with the place is suggestive of luxury and enjoyment, and it looks as if the Skating Rink is to be the rendezvous of all pleasure-seeking, health-loving Invernessians.” The world’s champion roller skater had visited and it was “...generally agreed that ‘The Great Monohan’ fully justifies the name by which he is known all over the world.” At his performances Monohan entered the rink “like a streak of sunlight, wearing a tight-fitting costume of golden hue scintillating with medals.” After a few whirls round the track he “performed a feat which it is claimed has puzzled the whole world — that of skating on a rolling barrel. The champion moved backwards and forwards, changing the direction of the moving barrel apparently without difficulty. A task which was even more remarkable from a spectacular point of view was that known as the candle maze. The electric lights were switched off and 16 lighted candles were arranged in diamond shape in the centre of the rink...The candles were placed about 14 inches apart, and on his toes the skater sailed in and out between them to the music of the ‘Merry Widow Waltz.’ “On a pair of ordinary skates he performed the remarkable feat of steeple-chasing over nine chairs placed at intervals in groups of three. Monohan curved swiftly round the rink, gaining a terrific momentum. Nearing the first set of chairs, he steadied himself and cleared them by several inches. The second and third he cleared with the same agility, alighting gracefully on both feet at each jump, the whole operation not taking many seconds.” “Roller skating,” said Monohan, “gives to every muscle of the body more or less activity. There is no extraordinary strain upon any one particular part, but the light exercise afforded every part strengthens the whole body. When the skaters become at home on skates they can execute movements so easy and graceful that they feel almost as if they could fly.” He added his advice for those about to lose their balance was “Let all your muscles go slack and make the floor’s acquaintance as readily and with as little stand-offishness as you can.” It’s now hard to imagine how big roller skating became, but the Moss Empire’s hope that it would be temporary proved to be the case. By 1911, the collapse of roller-skating was happening across Scotland. It had started in such a frenzy in 1909 but proved to be very short lived and the cinematograph which replaced it proved to be more enduring. We not only don’t know where the large Haugh Road Palace of Luxury was located, we don’t know what the building was later used for before it was, presumably, demolished. Do any Forum members have an idea? Adrian Harvey 3


Aultnaskiach Dell given to the local community Aultnaskiach Dell, the secret gem in the heart of Inverness, has been acquired by the charity which was established to maintain the four-acre woodland and wildlife haven. Aithne and John Barron originally bought the land over 40 years ago to protect it from wholesale felling and are now planning to transfer ownership to the charity which in recent years has cared for it by raising funds for tree surgery, training and equipment. The Dell is a 200 year old swathe of mature, broad leaved trees between Drummond Road and Island Bank Road, formed by the erosion of the Aultnaskiach Burn — a tributary of the River Ness. It joins a long escarpment that runs all the way down to Dores and Loch Ness, part of a wildlife corridor running parallel to the loch. The wood was part of the Aultnaskiach House estate, built c1820 for Captain Davidson of Cantray. It was leased to James Robertson, Chief Magistrate of the Burgh and Provost of Inverness, and during the 1820s-1830s Celtic urns, arrow-heads and a stone chest containing the bones of a person were found on the property. It was believed these antiquities pre-dated the Roman period and the spot where they were found was a place of worship in the days of the Druids. The house was converted into flats in the mid-20th century. The surrounding area was once landscaped with wonderful contoured paths running along both sides of the dell, and the fields stretched as far as Heatherley House. The burn itself was once the boundary between the Inverness County Council and the Inverness Town Council. A dairy at Aultnaskiach Road was opened in the late 1870s, and cows grazed in the parkland well into the 20th century. They would pass through the dell, across a wooden bridge that had high buttresses on either side as they made their way to the dairy from the fields where the houses of Glenburn Drive are now. Adrian Harvey On Drummond Road, who walked one time? But two great tourists of a kind, Just turn about and look behind, And you will find the gentlemen. Both standing on the western side, And Aultnaskiach bridge behind, The trees in blossom on each side, In summer time most beautiful. The fifth of June, the day was fine, And after walking for a while, Another tourist came in time, And kindly took their photograph. — Mackenzie & MacCulloch, June 1912 4

© Andrew Paterson/SHPA


A tragic Inverness family This modest headstone in the ancient Old High Church cemetery tells in a few words the tragic story of a family who once worshipped here, and of a sad old father who in the course of his relatively long life lost all his closest loved ones; including three sons to the relentless slaughter of the Great War. It simply reads: Erected by William Robertson in memory of his mother Elizabeth Robertson died in 1855. His brother Alexander, died in May 1887. And his son William, drowned on HMS Ocean Prince Sept 1916. Alexander, 20 Batt. Aust, killed 30 July 1916. George 5th Cam, killed 12 Oct 1917. James, died in infancy. His daughter Christina, died 10 July 1929, aged 29. His beloved wife Annie Maclean died 13 Dec, 1930, aged 77. The said William Robertson, died 25 January 1932, aged 82.

William was a slater, who in 1911 was living with his family at Isleview, 8 India Street, in the town’s Merkinch. (In 1926 the house number changed to 25 India Street.) On the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website, Lance Corporal George Robertson is listed as ‘Son of Mr and Mrs Robertson, of 25 India St, Inverness.’ George, the last of the sons to die, was killed while serving with the Territorial Army 5th battalion of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, aged 24. He lies in an unknown grave, as his name is inscribed on a memorial panel in the huge Tyne Cot War Cemetery in Belgium, where nearly 12,000 of those who perished in the Ypres Salient lie — of whom 8,373 remain unidentified. His brother Alexander, who died serving as a sergeant with the Australian Infantry during the Battle of the Somme, likewise has no known grave, nor is his age given. He is commemorated on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux in Northern France. Mystery surrounds the fate of William, said on the tombstone to have drowned in September 1916, as there is no record of his death with the CWGC, either as a Royal Navy or Merchant Navy casualty. Nor does there seem to have been such a vessel as HMS Ocean Prince. However, a 5,000-ton merchant ship called SS Ocean Prince, owned by the Prince Line of Newcastle was wrecked at Cape Le Hague, Normandy, on the 16th December 1916, en route from Halifax, Canada, for France, with a cargo of grain. A century on from his death, can anyone now cast any light on William’s fate? Or can some distant relative still tell us more about the Robertson family, whose story is all the more tragic in that none of the sons has a known resting place. The three tiny crosses marked with poppies, placed beneath the family headstone for Remembrance Day, are, along with names on a few memorials, all that remind us of three young Inverness brothers who paid the ultimate price in that ungodly slaughter that was called the War to End Wars. Willie Morrison 5


Inverness image: © Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Just after the last issue of Inverness Remembered went to press in February we received the sad news that long-standing Forum member Leonella Longmore had died at her home in Midmills Road.

Consulate General in Toronto, before moving to Italy where she lectured in the European School of Languages in Parma. On their return to Inverness in 1961, Leonella taught Italian and French at the Inverness Royal Academy where, in August 1973, she became Principal Teacher of Modern Language for the next 16 years.

Leonella Ferrari was born 6th April 1935 in Aberdeen; her parents, Pietro and Linda Ferrari having come from the EmiliaToscana area in the Apennines.

Always fashionably dressed, Leonella was a very popular teacher. One of her pupils remembers: “She was an inspirational teacher who not only encouraged her pupils to attain the highest standards but also opened their minds and instilled in them a love of all things Italian; language, literature, art, history, food...”

She was educated in Heatherley School, Inverness and later studied languages at the University of Aberdeen. She met her husband, Bryan Longmore at the University, where he was studying law. After graduation the couple moved to Canada where she worked in the Italian 6


Another girl — now a retired teacher — said: “She was a charming, charismatic lady… at the beginning of lessons, my classmates and I would watch her in awe as she entered Room 15 and walked across to her desk. She had such style and not a hair was out of place and all her clothes matched perfectly. She was the epitome of fashion.”

Highlands, research which culminated in three books on local history published by The Inverness Courier. Her stories were also broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland and Moray Firth Radio. Her final book, published in 2016, was the first to cover the personal history of Italian immigrants who came to Inverness during the last century.

Upon taking early retirement in 1989, Leonella took to exploring the castles and churches around Inverness and the

Leonella is survived by her retired solicitor husband Bryan, and sons Bruno and Marco.

Land of Castles (1993)

Land of Churches (2000)

Fascinating accounts of the history of 16 lesser-known castles around Inverness, including Redcastle, Kilravock, Kilcoy, Rait, Dalcross, Craig, Leod, Inshoch, Erchless, Fairburn, Grant, Lochindorb, Ballone, Muckrach, Invergarry, and Loch-an-Eilean.

Rural churches are the landmarks of a people’s history and many of the Highland straths have their isolated kirks, whether ruinous or still in use. This fascinating book records tales about the parishes and the characters who once lived in them.

From Alien to Italo-Scot (2016)

Inverness in the 18th Century (2001) Once the Pictish capital of King Brude, Inverness in the 18th century was at a time in its history when an age-old way of life changed forever.

As the daughter of Italian immigrants who came to Scotland in the 1920s, Leonella was ideally suited to write of the resilience and courage which immigrant families needed to face and overcome the difficulties of starting life over in a foreign country.

By the end of the century Inverness would be generally acknowledged as the Capital of the Highlands.

With thanks to Sheila MacDonald and Robert Preece 7


Around the Crown There is so much to discover when walking the dog. Beneath the Broadstone Avenue road sign off Kingsmills Road you can still see the stencil-painted words ‘No Bicycles,’ to deter folk from leaving their bikes there when attending football matches, and seen as one approached the turnstiles at Kingsmills Park. It’s believed people left their bikes there in open view to prevent theft while at the football, but doubtless the local residents took umbrage. The only other place they could have left their bikes in open view would have been against the wall of the football park itself – but that would not have been permitted as wee laddies would have climbed them to ‘jupe’ in to the games.

Another unknown portrait from the Andrew Paterson Studio in Academy Street taken in March 1935. Can anybody identify the sitter?

Editorial contributions from Forum members are always welcome. Please send your submissions to us at:

invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com

SHPA

Copies of The Fairfield Sundial: The Fraser’s of Fairfield (Inverness) by Anne C. MacKintosh are still available to purchase at £4.00 each. Errata: Last issue V2N3 contained a typo error on page five. The Rev Donald MacLeod, Minister of the Old High Church, died in 1955, not 1935 as stated.

Subscriptions 2018-2019

If members of the Forum wishing to pay at the regular talks could place their cheque or cash in an envelope with their name and address on the front it will avoid a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are £12 per single person or £20 per couple and runs from 1st April-31st March.

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered/84 Editor: Adrian Harvey


Islands — and so much more that is now gone. Why not sit as the nights draw in and simply type or write up some of your memories?

Yours aye. Dave Conner, ILHF Convenor


In the last issue of Inverness Remembered we presented the story of the roller skating craze of 1909, and the opening in October of that year of the Haugh Road Palace of Luxury, built to cater for the sport. We weren’t sure of its exact location, but Forum researcher Anne MacKintosh has been on the case.

The Inverness Roller Skating Craze of 1909 continued... The Inverness Courier reported on 20th August 1909 that at a special sitting of the Dean of Guild Court, an application by John G. Macrae of the Aberdeen Arcade Skating Rink for permission to erect a roller skating rink on vacant ground behind Murray Place off the Haugh Road, had been granted. It was stated that the premises would be built in wood and iron and cost £2,000 to build.

J. MacMahon, Inverness/SHPA

A plot of land on Gordonville Road, owned by local builder James Macgregor, was taken on a five year lease by Macrae on which to build the large roller skating rink. In addition to the rink the building would contain cloakrooms and tearooms and a band was engaged for the entertainment of the skaters and spectators. The name of the company and the new occupiers was The Islands Skating Rink Co., and the venue was opened by Provost Birnie on Friday 15th October 1909 at 2.30pm.

The Haugh Road Palace of Luxury Roller Skating Rink

The Manager was Mr A. H. Morris, one of the most popular rink managers in the North. The craze however was short lived and by 1911 rinks around the country began to close. By 1913 the Inverness Rink lay vacant and the site put in the hands of George Forrest C.A., (Trustee on the Sequestrated Estate of the late James Macgregor). On 25th September 1913 the following announcement appeared in the Highland Times: “Increased garage, petrol supply, 30 private lock-ups – purchase of skating rink at the Haugh Park by R Macrae & Sons.” Alexander K. Macrae (horse hirer, Beauly) became the new proprietor of the site and a garage was erected, the tenants/occupiers of which were R. Macrae & Sons, Motor Engineers. The Trustees for this firm were Roderick M. and James W. Macrae, sons of the late Roderick Macrae of Macrae & Dick Ltd. In 1911 they had purchased the Caledonian Stables Company in Edwards Court (behind what is now the Filling Station Restaurant) where they set up as postmasters, horse hirers and motor engineers. They remained there until 1915 when the whole of their posting plant and transport enterprise was put up for auction. (Roderick later emigrated to Australia and James to the USA.) It was in 1915 too, that the garage in the Haugh was commandeered by the War Office through Major Kemble of the Rose Street Drill Hall. 2


Anne C MacKintosh

It is not known exactly when the disused skating rink was demolished but it had seen life as a venue for political rallies. In November 1913 Sir Edward Carson arrived from Belfast to continue the series of meetings organised in opposition to Home Rule for Ireland — with about 4,000 people attending. On 12th November T. P. O’Connor M.P. was the principal speaker in support of the Irish Home Rule Bill, and in June 1914 the Right Hon. A. Bonar Law was the chief speaker who addressed a The Territorial Army HQ on meeting which was attended by about Gordonville Road and adverts from The Inverness Courier of 6,000 persons. People came from far 13th December 1909 (left) and and wide and extra trains were run 26th October 1909 (right) with special precautions taken against annoyance from Suffragists, of which there had been about 1,000 present. Alex Macrae was proprietor of the site until the early 1920s, when it was acquired by a Mr Chapman. Around 1939 it became the property of the Territorial Army and the headquarters of the Inverness Territorial Army Association was built in Gordonville Road. This building is now the centre for the 1st Bn The Highlander Cadets Unit and the large new building is the Centre for the 51st Highland, 7th Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland ‘C’ Company.

The Inverness Courier wrote in September 1909: “Inverness simply cannot afford to have one of its most charming walks spoiled and the town will not be true to itself if it fails to take advantage of the last opportunity which is likely to Cavell Gardens in the 1930s occur of securing for its own a piece of land which is so necessary for the preservation of much of its natural beauty.” And so it is thanks to this intervention that we now have the beautiful Cavell Gardens. Anne C MacKintosh 3

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

In 1909 a second skating rink had been proposed nearby on the corner of Ladies Walk, but at a meeting of the Northern Infirmary Directors it was generally agreed that “such a place of amusement so near to the Infirmary would have a prejudicial effect on the welfare of the patients and steps should be taken to oppose the granting.” Concerned citizens succeeded in obtaining possession of the lease which had been granted in favour of the Skating Rink Syndicate. Having also secured an option to purchase the ground for the town, the call went out for citizens to contribute to the fund.


The Forum on Facebook The Inverness Local History Forum Facebook page features over 140 articles on a wide variety of subjects and themes. Researched and written by Forum Convenor Dave Conner, they are a fascinating compendium of the unusual and sometimes forgotten history of Inverness. Here we showcase a few of the articles and their easy direct links.

Dave Conner

1894 Kessock Ferry Disaster This tragedy is yet another of the forgotten events in Inverness local history. Until fairly recently, very few folk were aware of the disaster, but this omission was thankfully corrected in October 2017 when a commemorative stone on the shore front at Kessock Road between the former Kessock Ferry slipway (the Old Ticket Office) and the former Coastguard Station (Tangle Tower) was unveiled. https://bit.ly/2OMEE6Y

Cook-Massey/SHPA

Cook Collecion/SHPA

Inverness Earthquake A newspaper account from the Inverness Journal of August 1816 about the violent earthquake which hit Inverness at 10.40pm at night. No lives were lost during the ‘concussion’ which lasted about 20 seconds. The Tolbooth Steeple, as the tallest building in the area came off worst with the top several feet completely rent and twisted several inches round, in a direction from the east towards the north-west. https://bit.ly/2MlTNQ2

Cook-Massey/SHPA

Forbes Fountain The Forbes Fountain, a gift to the town and people of Inverness by local benefactor Dr George Fiddes Forbes of Millburn in 1880, formerly took pride of place on the Exchange, outside the Town House. In 1953, under the guise of ‘road widening’ it was dismantled, to be banished to its current out-of-the-way location opposite Bellfield Park. https://bit.ly/2wadEqs

The Soldier At The Station (Cameron Highlanders Memorial) At the front of Station Square (the frontage of Inverness Railway Station where it meets Academy Street), stands Inverness’s first War Memorial. It commemorates the losses sustained by the 79th Regiment – the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders – in two campaigns in Africa, Egypt and the Sudan. The monument was carved by London sculptor George Edward Wade (1853-1933) and local craftsmen made the pedestal and granite base. It was unveiled on 14th July 1893 to mark the centenary of the regiment. https://bit.ly/2vU05wa 4

© Andrew Paterson/SHPA


Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Inverness Royal Academy (Midmills) The building was designed by the architectural practice of Ross & MacBeth and apparently designed in the form of a Roman villa. The two-storey original building was begun in 1893 and opened in 1895. https://bit.ly/2L7a4CR Cameron Barracks Built in the Baronial style, the Cameron Barracks complex consists of four two-storey blocks enclosing three sides of the parade ground. Since about 1810 it had been the site of a tannery. The red sandstone for the buildings was brought from the quarry at Tarradale on the Black Isle, which also provided stone for most Inverness buildings during the 19th century, notably Inverness Castle and St Andrews Cathedral. https://bit.ly/2Bsapkd

Adrian Harvey

Chapel Yard Once the site of a medieval Chapel to St Mary, which has long since gone (apparently to be used, like so many other former religious buildings, in the construction of Cromwell’s Citadel); the Chapel Yard has been used for many purposes, such as religious services, other gatherings, grazing and storage of animals, as well as more recently the largest graveyard in the town centre. https://bit.ly/2wewKMb Adrian Harvey 5

JFM Macleod Collection/SHPA

Tomnahurich Cemetery One of the most beautiful and picturesque burial grounds in Britain. Its Gaelic name is Tom na h-Iubhraich which translates as ‘Hill of the Yew Trees’ – but to most locals it’s known as ‘The Hill of the Fairies’. There is no connection in meaning between Hill of the Fairies and Ballifeary (pronounced ‘Ba La Fairy’), the wee village at its foot. ‘Baile na Faire’ is ‘Town of the Watching’, an outpost settlement erected many centuries ago for sentinels watching for the approach of warring clans from the west, to give the townsfolk of Inverness sufficient warning so as to be ready to fight (or flee). https://bit.ly/2nPlSQV


The new Joseph Cook website

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Death of retired officer It is with the greatest sadness we notify the death of my good friend, retired Detective Sergeant Peter James Home MBE of Inverness at the age of 78 years.

Peter MacLean

Peter, a keen piper, passed away suddenly on the evening of Saturday 14th July at his home in Inverness, having just returned home from a day away playing with Inverness RBLS Pipe Band. Peter joined Inverness Burgh Police on 12th December 1964 and served his entire service in Inverness, retiring from Northern Constabulary as a Detective Sergeant when he reached 55 years of age in 1995. Peter had a life-long involvement with the Boys’ Brigade, and researched the history of his beloved 4th Company (Inverness) from 1908 to present. He was awarded the MBE in 2002 for his service to the Boys’ Brigade. He was one of the finest officers with whom I ever served, and he had a superb sense of humour and a great way of speaking to folk, both of which could take the sting out of any situation. His love of the BB, of motorcycles, and of local history was well known around the North, and he was held in very high regard. Peter is survived by his wife Mary, and their grown-up children John and Mhairi, and four grandchildren. Dave Conner

The 2019 ILHF Calendar is now available BUT SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED * in the City Centre from Mailboxes Etc in Church Street * and at Crown Stores, Kingsmills Road 7


Around the Crown There is so much to discover when walking the dog. This image of Dunblane Station dates from August 1965, and the lamp shown is one of two that eventually ended up in Inverness.

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Adrian Vaughan

These Dunblane Station lamps are both erected in the garden of a private residence in Abertarff Road, but the story of how and why they ended up in the Crown is unknown.

Adrian Harvey

Another image featuring unknown people from the Andrew Paterson Studio in Academy Street. There is no negative reference number so the date cannot be ascertained. Can anybody identify the sitters? The location is problematical too. The reflection in the window on the left shows the castle so the site could be along Ness Walk. There are some entrances with similar pillars today, but they are not quite right.

Subscriptions 2018-2019

If members of the Forum wishing to pay at the regular talks could place their cheque or cash in an envelope with their name and address on the front it will avoid a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are ÂŁ12 per single person or ÂŁ20 per couple and runs from 1st April-31st March.

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered/85 Editor: Adrian Harvey


Dave Conner

Convenor’s Report Please note we now have a cover price. The reason for this is to ensure that members rightly benefit from receiving the newsletter free as part of their membership subscription. From this issue non-members will still be able to obtain copies (for £2) — but it is clearly more advantageous to become a member of the Forum by annual subscription and receive the newsletter for FREE! The Committee continues to seek out speakers of interest for our Talks, ideally on local subjects — if you have any suggestions as to speakers, please do let a Committee member know or email us.

Inverness Burgh Police helmet 1898 (left) and an Invernessshire Constabulary hat post1901 (above). Every historian has a favourite subject, and every ‘favourite subject’ invariably has a ‘brick wall’ as family historians call it; where you get to a certain point and the research material runs out, the track you are following suddenly and abruptly stops, and there is no clue where to go next. Experience suggests that if you reach such a wall, then ASK around — for surely someone somewhere will have an answer/solution. I have such a long-standing ‘brick wall’ in respect of my local Police History research, and perhaps readers can assist? The Inverness-shire Constabulary, like all other police forces in the latter part of the 19th century wore the famous ‘bobby helmet’ — up until about 1890 when that force changed over to peaked pill-box caps. The County of Inverness had by far the largest police force in the Highlands — and yet, although examples of almost all the other, smaller, forces’ helmet badges have turned up (rare though they are) nobody seems to have any information as to the badge which Inverness-shire Constabulary wore on their helmets. Clearly it could NOT have had the name of the force on it — so anybody finding such a badge would have no clue what it was. Do you happen to have a photo of a Highland bobby holding or wearing a helmet — or indeed do you have a large unidentified metal badge which would have belonged to a family member who was a police officer long ago? If so, I would be most grateful to hear from you, in an effort to try to identify what the mystery Inverness-shire badge looked like.

The Forum will be presenting a small WWI exhibition relating to the Old High Church between 7th-11th November inside the church, and a slightly different exhibition at the Highland Archive Centre between 9th-16th November.

My police history email is: NorConMuseum@gmail.com

Forum Exhibition in November

Adrian Harvey

Yours aye. Dave Conner, ILHF Convenor

Talks & Events 2018-2019 7th November

“Information not shared is lost”

Caledonian Canal Heritage Officer Stephen Wiseman talks on the canal’s history and current operations.

5th December Annual Christmas lunch held at the Palace Hotel, Inverness. Tickets still available at £18.

6th February Forum Convenor Dave Conner will talk on the history and development of the Inverness railway.

ILHF talks are presented on the first Wednesday of the month at 2.00pm in the Spectrum Centre theatre.


The Lost Inverness of Gordon Lynn Civil engineer Gordon Lynn moved to Inverness from Edinburgh in 1975, so not being a local, he was amazed one day when he saw an aerial photograph from 1928 which showed all the buildings on the west side of Castle Street, from the Gate House at the top of the hill to the Town Hall buildings at the foot, the latter of which is all that remains today. Over the years vintage photographs of Inverness appeared in various publications featuring long-gone buildings of ornate design and beauty, particularly the old Caledonian Hotel as it was before the present concrete structure was erected. These photos presented views of streets diagonally and of individual buildings, but Gordon wanted to see for himself what these streets looked like collectively – and to scale – in order to produce a true panoramic view to appreciate just what the entire street once looked like.

in Bank Street.

Much more material was uncovered during this research and it became evident that many more buildings, and in some cases entire streets, had long since disappeared. It therefore seemed a natural progression after completing the Castle Street drawing, to move on to the south side of Bridge Street, then on to Exchange Place, Gordon Place and then Bank Street alongside the River Ness. The buildings in Castle Street how they looked in 1928 (top) and the view looking across the river to Bank Street in the same year (below).

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Gordon Lynn

After years of research and sifting through photographs and documents at the Highland Archive Centre, the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments (RCAHMS) in Edinburgh and the Highland Council’s Am Baile, Gordon gathered enough data to be able to Gordon’s research resulted in finished drawings of the long-gone buildings of put together the first pen Inverness, and some that never were. Above shows Exchange Place in 1928, and ink drawing of the Friar’s Lane in 1926, and the never-built original facade of the Theatre Royal west side of Castle Street.


The Lost Inverness website has been home to Gordon’s work since 2015 and some can be seen on the Am Baile website; with a selection 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. View of Bridge Street from the Town Hall to the bridge in 1928.

Gordon’s most recent Moment in Time project was to draw both sides of Academy Street as the buildings appeared in 1920, for the Academy Street Townscape Heritage Project. It took two years to create, and you can see the drawings on their website at https://academystreet.org and the new https://www.highlandexplore.scot website. New drawings of the west side of Church Street include the Caledonian Hotel, the Gaelic Church (now Leakey’s) and the long-gone Technical School.

Davidson/SHPA Gordon Lynn

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 to be put together in more panoramic street views of yesteryear – “a bit like piecing together a large jigsaw,” explains Gordon. 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 in which it has not been seen for many a year.

Church Street from the Tollbooth on the corner of Bridge Street .

Gordon’s current project is for Church Street. He has spent one and a half years on it so far and has completed the west side. If readers can contribute photographs of any of the buildings or shop fronts on the east side, he would be most grateful. Even group photos or images of parked cars would be of use as long there are buildings in the background. Adrian Harvey

Gordon’s art prints make a great gift idea. See more at www.lostinverness.co.uk 3


The Forum on Facebook The Inverness Local History Forum Facebook page features over 140 articles on a wide variety of subjects and themes. Researched and written by Forum Convenor Dave Conner, they are a fascinating compendium of the unusual and sometimes forgotten history of Inverness. Here we showcase a few of the articles and their easy direct links.

Cook Collection

Blackfriars Abbey (Greyfriars Cemetery) In 1233 AD a Dominican Friary was constructed in Inverness on the edge of the Town Centre, directly opposite St Michael’s Mound. The Friary or Abbey (Blackfriars) was disbanded in 1556 at the time of the Reformation, and the building soon fell into disrepair. In 1653 the Town of Inverness sold the ruinous buildings to Oliver Cromwell's local representative for use in construction of the Citadel at Inverness Harbour. goo.gl/8TeyhM

National Library of Scotland

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Kessock and its ferry A ferry has plied across the Kessock Narrows of Beauly Firth between Inverness (South Kessock) and the “Black Isle” of Ross & Cromarty (Kessock or North Kessock) for many centuries, certainly at least from the 15th century, providing an important trading and social link between the agricultural community of Ross-shire and the ever-growing town (now City) of Inverness. goo.gl/rvLg37

Fraser-Watts Collection/SHPA

America in Inverness – WWI Naval Base 18 In 1917 you would not have been able to access what is now Carse Road, as a massive security fence topped with barbed wire would have barred your way. Your presence in the area would also have alerted a man in naval uniform armed with a bayonet-tipped rifle, who would have asked in no uncertain terms as to your purpose. So how did Inverness come to have not one but two Navy Bases — one (Royal Navy) occupying the Harbour of the River Ness — and the other (US Navy) occupying the Carse? goo.gl/BH6Zoz

John Wood’s map and report of Inverness in 1821 John Wood (1782-1847) was a Yorkshire cartographer who travelled far and wide on his expeditions, mapping urban areas in Northern England, Wales and Scotland. The plan of Inverness in 1821 was only one of a series produced over several years. In 1828 he produced an Atlas of at least 48 of these plans along with an accompanying book. This truly must have been a labour of love, as it appears to have taken him a whole decade to accomplish his work. goo.gl/jqzY2b

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© Andrew Paterson/SHPA


http://tuckdb.org/

Cook Collection

Inverness’s first ‘new town’ — the Crown Nowadays we tend to consider the Crown or Hill District as one of the older parts of Town but as two Ordnance Survey maps show, the difference in the landscape in the Crown (generally considered as that part of the plateau east of Kingsmills Road, and of Barnhill (i.e. west of Kingsmills Road) is considerable in only 33 years, the first map being dated 1870 and the second 1903. goo.gl/BwUSZB Inverness postcards of 1905 The six postcards featured were a series published by the producer of all kinds of postcards and ephemera, Raphael Tuck & Sons of London. This series was first issued 113 years ago — but, as paintings by one of their extremely talented and renowned, “staff artists” — Frederick William Hayes (18481918) — they were paintings of photographs already in the Tuck system so the original photographs predate 1905. goo.gl/BnuPJv

Adrian Harvey

Old High Churchyard killing fields Two gravestones in the Old High Churchyard were used in the summary execution of Jacobite prisoners in the days after the Battle of Culloden on 16th April 1746. Presumably the charge was treason but no court cases were held. One stone is where the Government soldier lay using the ‘V’ in the stone as a rest for the barrel of his musket; the other stone was used to prop up The captive Jacobite suspect. goo.gl/XS83xV Adrian Harvey 5

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Big guns at the castle Period photographs and postcards of the Castle frontage show old cannon and field-guns standing guard at the main door of the building, just behind Flora MacDonald’s statue. In 1861 the cannon were mounted on cast-iron carriages which were produced by Rose Street Foundry, and which bore the words ROSE STREET FOUNDRY INVERNESS on the sides. The funds to provide these carriages were raised by donations to a fund started by the Provost of the time for the purpose. Other field guns, German pieces captured by the Camerons during WWI, were also exhibited outside the Castle and proved of interest – especially to the town’s youngsters. goo.gl/nDTRRk


Election Fake News — 1842 style

Cook-Massey Collection/SHPA

The Municipal Elections of 1842 excited more than ordinary interest, with the main question being the ‘Sale or no Sale’ of Town Lands. The result clearly showed that nearly the whole of the electors were decidedly opposed to the reckless measures of the town council. It seems Bailie John Macandrew was for the selling of the lands but all the successful candidates were against. Two candidates in the Second Ward were ironmonger John Ross and bookbinder Donald Urquhart, who in October had posted a flyer supposedly containing a “variety of passages injurious to the character” of Macandrew. The flyer had been undersigned by several people, including shoemaker William MacGregor, who later published the above, repudiating his support of Ross and Urquhart and their sentiments. (Ross and Urquhart both later won the Second Ward.) 6


Sound familiar? “This year, during the summer months (June, July, and early August) seagulls of various species have been exceedingly numerous in the town, even in the higher parts — Crown Drive and neighbourhood — swooping down on backyards and roadways like flocks of tame pigeons, and perching at intervals on chimneystacks, whence they address each other and the general public in gull language, with the fluency and profundity of municipal councillors.”

“The gull has become an omnivorous bird by force of circumstances. He has not only degenerated into a scavenger, but has actually become a bird of prey. Mice, young rats, eggs, and young birds are all equally welcome to his ‘impartial’ maw… About three weeks ago my attention was drawn to the peculiar behaviour of two gulls, in flight, quite near my house. One was carrying a rather large object in his bill, and the other was following up and attacking viciously for possession of it. As they came nearer, the large object was seen to be a chicken — probably snatched from a neighbouring farm-yard.”

New Forum Book Published Soon Jeannie Cruickshank (1899-2003) was a language teacher at Inverness Royal Academy who lived in three centuries and through two World Wars. Originally from Insch in Aberdeenshire she had a 33-year teaching career at the IRA, and was involved with many activities including the British Federation of University Women. Her memoirs were taken down as part of a social assignment in the 1980s, and the Forum has compiled them into an interesting volume complete with photographs. Former journalist and Forum committee member Willie Morrison has described these memoirs “as an important piece of 20th Century Scottish rural and academic social history.” The book is in the final stages of preparation and its publication date will be announced on the Forum Facebook page.

The 2019 Calendar is now available * in the City Centre from Mailboxes Etc in Church Street * and at Crown Stores, Kingsmills Road 7

Adrian Harvey

Some things never change, (apart from the bit about the chicken). Both the above comments are taken from separate letters to The Inverness Courier during September 1925.


Around the Crown

There is so much to discover when walking the dog.

What at first glance appears to be a Celtic motif is actually the year the house was built, in 1893. It adorns the facade of the house where Jeannie Cruickshank, long-serving German teacher at Inverness Royal Academy, lived in Broadstone Park.

Adrian Harvey

Adrian Vaughan Two Dunblane Station lamps, one shown here in August 1965, ended up in an Inverness garden and featured in the previous issue. Forum member David Henderson advises us they were brought here about 25 years ago by a man who inherited the house and lived there for several years.

We might have a result from issue 83. This Paterson portrait from 1935 has been tentatively identified as Scottish sculptor Alexander Carrick (18821966). He was one of Scotland’s leading monumental sculptors responsible for many architectural and ecclesiastical works as well as war memorials executed in the 1920s. Carrick also sculpted in bronze, and two of his soldier figures can be seen locally in Forres and Dornoch.

Subscriptions 2018-2019 If members of the Forum wishing to pay at the regular talks could place their cheque or cash in an envelope with their name and address on the front it will avoid a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are £12 per single person or £20 per couple and run from 1st April-31st March.

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered/86 Editor: Adrian Harvey

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Another image featuring unknown portraits from the Andrew Paterson Studio in Academy Street. Can anybody identify these two little girls dating from around December 1930? As the bonnets and tops look the same, could they be twins?


Delicia Chisholm — The Inverness poetess honoured with a piping tune

Robert Paterson Collection

The piping tune Miss Delicia Chisholm was a very popular tune with Scottish pipe bands for many years. Although interest seems to have waned these days, it is a regular feature of ceilidh bands for the Gay Gordons set. It was written by W. Fraser for an Inverness lass who in 1919 married an Australian soldier and emigrated there after the First World War. Delicia’s father Joseph (John) Chisholm was a railway fitter with Highland Railway who married Mary Ann Paterson in the early 1890s. Their first daughter Annie (Nan) was born in 1894 and Delicia followed in 1898. Delicia grew up to be a popular singer and prolific writer of poetry and contributed verses of exceptional merit to the Highland Times over a four-year period between 1915-1919.

early 20th Century Inverness and her own extended family in Australia.

In 1918 she joined the WRAF and was stationed near Stonehenge when she and Stacey Taylor married at the Savoy Hotel in London in February 1919. Delicia Chisholm died in 1983, but in 1974, while living in Adelaide, South Australia, she corresponded with North Kessock man Robert Paterson, a distant relative, covering her memories of

“In my youth, Kessock (N) was a village of very old people. There were only three children, all little boys. Craigton was a lonely little village in those days... I used to go along to the little church some Sundays, and can recall that they had a ‘precenter’

Delicia Chisholm by photographer Andrew Paterson. — a dreary fellow who used to lead (?) the singing. “I even remember the ‘capes’ my sister Nan (Annie) and I wore as children. Nan’s was a navy cape lined with red. In those days we called them ‘Highland cloaks’, — mine was of shepherd-tartan, and being made of the real old Scottish tweed, weighed a cwt on my young shoulders. Continued on page 2

Talks & Events 2019

“Information not shared is lost”

6th February — Tim Honnor on the history of printing and Inverness printers 6th March — Lawrence Sutcliffe on the early Inverness cinemas 3rd April — Remember this? Ross Martin reminiscences of 1950s Inverness 1st May — Sinclair Browne on Inverness Harbour past, present and future 5th June — David Henderson presents more from the Cook Collection (& AGM) Forum talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month at 2.00pm in the Spectrum Centre theatre.


Miss Delicia Chisholm “First the fairly straight coat, with pockets and buttoned up close to the neck, had two capes fitted over the shoulders, also buttoned up, and a hood (of the Santa Claus variety) attached to the back, and fitted round the face with elastic. In case we children should feel the cold, after all this was adjusted, we were armed with thick knitted gloves, and fur muffs, (clutched under the capes), to say nothing of buttoned up boots, heavy knitted stockings, which went so high they must have been the grandmothers of today’s ‘panty-hose’, and a variety of undergarments (all thick) that would take half a page to describe. “Mercifully the winters in those long-past days were real winters, with heavy snowfalls banking up everywhere, — skating and sledging the order of the day, (how I remember Loch na Sanais... and the joys of tobogganing). I can still see in my mind the patient draught Clydesdale’s of the coal-men’s carts plodding along with bags on their hooves, to help them kept on their feet, and the grand old engine puffing into Inverness station with snow-ploughs on, and covered in glittering white, as though sugar-coated.

Highland Times 03.01.1918

“Happy memories, Robert, and up until WWI, I think my life was completely joyful, — a time of buttercups and daisies, with the heavy old bumble bees droning in wild rose hedgeways. I have never ‘been back’, — and your recent snaps sent to me of the old place, would not wish to go now, since the modern atrocities in steel and chromium erected in modern times completely obliterate a view of the castle. I don’t suppose you’d have any really old postcards nowadays of Inverness in pre-war days, but I’ve always longed to have some, and indeed regretted the care-free way in which we accepted such penny novelties in the past, and as carelessly discarded them! “I do remember the elderly MacDonald’s you mention, Johanna and John — which reminds me of my dear dad, and the aforesaid John MacDonald. The latter worthy considered himself something of a ‘city slicker’, and was wont to look down on his country relations as peasants. “Even as small children, my sister Nan and I disliked him intensely. He was too effusive with children, and would grab us up, and insist despite our struggles on kissing us, and keeping us on his knee.

James Taylor

In the Andrew Paterson portrait above left, Delicia stands behind two soldiers; the one seated at right is W. Fraser who penned the ‘Miss Delicia Chisholm’ tune. In the centre is Delicia with her older sister Annie. At right she is with her husband Stacey Taylor, the Australian soldier she married in London in 1919. 2


“Fancy ‘Wullie Petheron’ becoming a ’bobbie’ and an Inspector at that. Good luck to ‘oor Wullie’, I can remember him, son of a retired Captain, as a gangling youth of teenage, who was then too shy to even speak to an Inverness lassie! *

Robert Paterson Collection

(In fact the type of man who would be viewed with deep suspicion today), and I can well remember my sister Nan, then around 10 years old, at the time of the ‘Fair’, saying to me:- “Let’s go and hide behind the gooseberries, Dot, — the Glasgow keelies are coming today.”

“I have had seven children, Robert, — the first, a son, Chisholm, and the last a daughter, Grace, did not survive, but I am truly blessed in the five spared to me; Marigold (Mari), Rosalie (Ros), Mark, John and Joseph (Joe). No children could be better, but they should be, as their dad was a very fine man, and in his obituary (eight years ago) was referred to as “one of nature’s gentlelmen.” “He was of course, an Australian (a dinkum Aussie) whom I married in London, in 1919 while on war work with the WRAF in South of England, coming out the same year to Australia, where I went straight into ‘the bush’ and learned to live and work the hard way. We always had a very happy life together, and even now, though as I said the children are scattered far away, the call of ‘home’ is very strong in them all, and when trouble strikes they are with me. “I had the old family Bible at home, until I left Streaky Bay last week, when my eldest son took it back to Sydney, to enter in a few later births and marriages, — I can remember the first entry was in my late Grandpa Chisholm’s copper-plate writing, — his marriage to Delicia Williamson, in 1819, — exactly 100 years from when Stace and I were married in London. “My late sister Nan married, with only one son, now a dour bachelor of 47, but I myself have built up quite a heritage in the family line, with children, grandies, and great-grandies, and their partners numbering over forty. Through over half a century of living, we have had only three infant deaths (two stillborn) and of course my dear Stacey passed away in ‘66. “I can still sing the old Gaelic songs Granny Paterson [Ann Noble] used to sing to me as a bairn, and her favourite hymn in her last days:- Take Me As I Am. So will close this for now and wishing you all the best. Scotland for ever! “Yours, Del Taylor”

Adrian Harvey With thanks to Robert Paterson, North Kessock; and James Taylor, Delicia Chisholm Cottage, Cygnet, Tasmania

* Delicia is referring here to William Paterson (1901-1976), who became chief constable of Inverness, and was Robert Paterson’s cousin. His father was Daniel Paterson, captain of the Ban Righ out of North Kessock. 3

Andrew Paterson Collection

Delicia’s poem at right from the ‘Highland Times’ dates from April 1917. The Andrew Paterson photograph of the Lavatera in Moray Firth was taken during her First World War service. The drifter was built in 1913 and had a displacement of 84 tons. Hired by the Admiralty in March 1915 she was armed with one 3-pounder gun before being returned to her owners in 1920. She was again requisitioned in April 1940 and initially served as a BBV, (Barrage Balloon Vessel) and later as a HSV, (Harbour Service Vessel). She was again returned to the owners in July 1946.


100th Anniversary of the Dead Man’s Penny and the documents of Private Alexander Gunn Campbell

The plaques, at12cm in diameter, began to be made in 1919 and continued to be issued into the 1930s. Cast using 450 tons of bronze, 1,355,000 plaques were eventually issued. The design had been the winning entry in a public competition, which was won by the sculptor and medalist Edward Carter Preston. It includes an image of Britannia holding a trident and standing with a lion.

Thomson Bros. Edinburgh/Winnie Maclellan

The Memorial Plaque issued after the First World War to the next-of-kin of all British and Empire service personnel who were killed as a direct consequence of the war came to be known as the ‘Dead Man’s Penny’ or ‘Death Penny’ because of its similarity in appearance to the much smaller contemporary penny coin. The plaques and scrolls were produced to commemorate those who gave their lives and acknowledge their sacrifice, and was intended to provide the close family a tangible memorial of their lost loved one.

In her outstretched left hand Britannia holds an olive wreath above the rectangular tablet bearing the deceased’s name cast in raised letters. Below the name tablet, to the right of the lion, is an oak spray with acorns. The name does not include the rank since there was to be no distinction between sacrifices made by different individuals. Around the picture the legend reads “He died for freedom and honour”, (or for the six hundred plaques issued to commemorate women, “She died for freedom and honour”). The plaques were issued in a pack with a commemorative scroll from King George V. Printed on high quality 27cm x 17cm paper, the plaque committee found the choice of words very difficult and asked for advice from many well-known writers. The final version was written by Dr Montague Rhodes James, Provost of King’s College Cambridge (with a few changes). The plaque and documents shown here belong to Inverness woman Winnie Maclellan, and relate to the uncle she never knew, Private Alexander Gunn Campbell. Campbell had been born in Laid, Durness in 1893 to George Campbell and Williamina Gunn, their third and final son. Sisters Catherine and Margaret were to follow, and Catherine became the mother of Alexander’s niece, Winnie. Alexander worked on the family croft at Laid on Loch Eriboll before joining the 4th Seaforth Highlanders in late 1916 or early 1917. He was stationed in the North Camp at Ripon by mid-January and in February was part of the BEF in France. 4


According to the documents he was stationed at Roclincourt, a village east of the road from Arras to Lens, just within the British lines. It was from Roclincourt that the 51st (Highland) and 34th Divisions advanced on Easter Monday 9th April 1917. The first assaults were successful; the Hindenburg Line was pierced and 5,600 Germans taken prisoner. Almost the whole of the German front line trenches were overrun in under an hour, part of the success coming from a new artillery procedure — the ‘creeping barrage’ — devised by Brigade Major Alan Brooke. The German third line however, was better fortified and held fast against the assaults hurled against it. British tanks, intended to be at the forefront of the infantry, fell behind them with mechanical faults and by being trapped in the mud.

The Memorial Plaque for Private Alick Campbell (actual size).

© Andrew Paterson/SHPA

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The horse-drawn gun carriages also had unexpected difficulty in crossing the captured German trenches, an obstacle never previously experienced by artillerymen as they had never had to take their guns beyond the front line before. It was during this maelstrom that Private Campbell was shot through the head by a German sniper. He was 24. The ‘Killed in Action’ document is dated 1st May 1917, and would have been delivered to his mother by the local postman, who would have cycled the eight miles from Durness to Laid.* Alick Campbell is buried in the Highland Cemetery in Roclincourt near Arras, and his name is on the War Memorial in Durness village square.

Adrian Harvey With thanks to Winnie Maclellan, Inverness

Winnie’s granddaughter Kathryn visited the Roclincourt War Cemetery in 2016. * These days the sad news is delivered in person by Casualty Notifying Officers. The CNO is then replaced by a Visiting Officer (VO), whose job is to help in tasks such as making sure the loved one’s possessions are recovered, helping out with repatriation of the body and funeral arrangements. Until the late 1960s the policy was that personnel who died overseas were buried close to where they fell. Now the remains may be repatriated if the families choose. They almost always do.

The memoirs of Jeannie Cruickshank Jeannie Cruickshank (18992003) was a language teacher at Inverness Royal Academy who lived in three centuries and through two World Wars. Originally from Insch in Aberdeenshire she had a 33year teaching career at the IRA, and was involved with many activities including the British Federation of University Women. Her memoirs were taken down as part of a social assignment in the 1980s, and the Forum has compiled them into an interesting volume complete with photographs. Former journalist and Forum committee member Willie Morrison has described these memoirs “as an important piece of 20th Century Scottish rural and academic social history.”

Available for £5.99 at the ILHF talks or from Committee members. 6

Winnie Maclellan

It is interesting to note that the acknowledgment return slip at the bottom of the document which accompanied the British War Medal and Victory Medal in January 1922, was never sent by his parents.


Convenor’s Corner Despite having lost some lovely old buildings (and some not so lovely) in recent times, the fact remains that our town (city) is still blessed with many fine structures. It is sad however that so few folk seem to know the history behind so many of these surviving buildings. It for this very purpose that Inverness Local History Forum exists — to research, record and inform of the history of our local buildings, and of course of institutions, other structures and places, traditions and our people too.

More articles will follow as and when I find time and suitable subjects to report upon. Now here’s a wee bit of food for thought for all of you — have you ever considered jotting down (or typing up) some of your own memories of Inverness in times gone by? It does not need to be a full-blown autobiography, just a few lines or an article or two about people, places, events and the like when you were growing up. The Forum would love to hear from any of you who might find some enjoyment in writing (or typing) some of your memories to while away the dark winter nights. A few folk have already done it and enjoyed the nostalgia it brought. So why not have a bash — and feel free to share your memories with the Forum, for posterity. Obviously, anything you produce would be a great resource for the Forum, and worry not — we would not contemplate publishing anything without discussing the matter with you first. You can email us on: InvernessLocalHistoryForum@gmail.com As we enter a new calendar year, I am pleased to report we have obtained the services of a number of speakers for our monthly Illustrated Talks. As ever the subject matter is varied, and we do try to keep the topics ‘local’. We do hope you can manage to come along to our Talks — at 2.00 pm on the first Wednesday of the month (excluding July and August) in the Spectrum Centre. Feel free to bring a friend or two with you — the charge for nonmembers is very reasonable! With every good wish for 2019, and thank you for your support of the Forum. Yours aye. Dave Conner, ILHF Convenor 7

William Mackay LLD.

Dave Conner

I recently put together an article on Facebook concerning the various uses to which a local hotel (the Craigmonie) has been put, and a wee bit of the story about its first two owners, William MacKay LLD — founder of a local law practice, and who built it as his family home in 1880 — and the Honourable Mrs Ida Merry who bought it in 1931 after Mr MacKay’s death, for use as the Bowmont Centre and Ida Merry Maternity Home. Many an Invernessian of a certain age first saw the light of day in that establishment. It is so encouraging that so many folk found the article of interest — 11,000 views as I write — and it was lovely to see that Mr MacKay’s great grand-daughter and Mrs Merry’s great grand-son both appreciated the article. This is but one of many articles — on a variety of local subjects — which feature on the ILHF Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/InvernessLocalHistory


Around the Crown

There is so much to discover when walking the dog.

Adrian Harvey

Drain pipes are usually held in place with brackets affixed to the outer wall, however on some buildings the pipe brackets were an architectural feature built into the facade. At left is the corner building on Argyle Street and Denny Street. The pipe has long gone on the Denny Street side, and an electrical cable runs through the feature. On the right is an exterior wall on Ardconnel Street with one pipe in situ while the other is missing. More images featuring unknown portraits from the Andrew Paterson Studio in Academy Street. Can anybody identify these people?

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Subscriptions 2019-2020 If members of the Forum wishing to pay at the regular talks could place their cheque or cash in an envelope with their name and address on the front it will avoid a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are ÂŁ12 per single person or ÂŁ20 per couple and run from 1st April31st March.

Was this issue ever addressed?

From a Council meeting report in The Inverness Courier 02.06.1914

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered/87 Editor: Adrian Harvey


Joseph Cook Collection

Between 1890 and 1940, a wooden sailing ship named the Success was exhibited in Australia, the UK, and North America. She was promoted as the oldest ship afloat in the world at the time, and the last of the fleet of Australian convict ships. It became a magnet for paying customers and by 1930 it was claimed she had been visited by 21 million people. In the 1890s she spent several weeks in Inverness during the British tour, and many locals paid to see around her and the displays featuring dummy convicts, the collection of balls, chains, handcuffs

The ‘Success’ moored in Muirtown Basin, Inverness 1890s. and fetters, and the armour worn by bushranger Ned Kelly. Souvenir books and pamphlets were sold on board, the contents having been “compiled from Government records and documents preserved in the British Museum and State Departments in London.” The publications stated the Success was built in 1787-1790 in Burma. Her early voyages were as a trading ship between England and the Indies, but in 1802 she began “carrying condemned unfortunates Continued on page 2

st

“Information not shared is lost”

Talks & Events 2019

1 May — Sinclair Browne on Inverness Harbour past, present and future 5th June — David Henderson presents more from the Cook Collection (& AGM) 4th Sept — tbc 2nd Oct — Gill Bird on The Highlanders’ Museum at Fort George 6th November — Anne-Mary Paterson on Joseph Mitchell, the Patersons and the Highland Railway Forum talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month at 2.00pm in the Spectrum Centre theatre.


The convict prison ship Success to their doom in the newly established penal settlements in Australia.”

In 1890 the Success was sold to a group of entrepreneurs who fitted her up as a convict museum ship with wax effigies of convicts languishing in their cells and examples of prison paraphernalia such as whips and balls and chains, and exhibited her in Melbourne as a grim relic of the convict system. In 1891 she was towed to Sydney and exhibited there for several months.

The convict ship ‘Success’ moored in Hobart.

J.W. Beattie, Hobart, Tasmania

In 1852 she anchored at Melbourne “with her usual cargo of convicts on board” but the crew deserted and went off to the goldfields. Due to an increase in crime and overflowing prisons, the Government of Victoria purchased five large sailing ships to be used as prison hulks, the Success being one of them; and she was designated a punishment prison with cells to accommodate 120 prisoners. She served as a prison hulk until 1858, and subsequently as a reformatory and dormitory for boys, and then as an explosives stores vessel on the River Yarra.

A former prisoner on the ship when it was a hulk, Harry Power, (the bushranger and mentor to Ned Kelly), was employed as a guide for her first commercial season in Sydney Harbour in 1891, before she caught fire and sank. After re-floating and a thorough refit she was taken on tour to Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, New Zealand, and back to Sydney before heading for England, arriving at Dungeness in September 1894. She toured the coast of Britain for the next 18 years. In 1912 she was purchased by an American and crossed the Atlantic to New York. She was exhibited along the eastern seaboard of the United States and later in ports on the Great Lakes. In 1917 she briefly returned to commercial service as a cargo carrier, but sank after being holed by ice in the Ohio River. Re-floated in 1918 she resumed her museum ship role and was a star attraction at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. However, despite ongoing repairs the vessel was becoming un-seaworthy. She was towed to Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio to be dismantled and sold as scrap, but was destroyed by fire set by arsonists while berthed alongside the Lake Erie Pier in July 1946. She had lasted just over a century, of which more than half was spent as an exhibition ship of the convict era. She earned her owners a considerable fortune, but few if any of the millions of visitors would have realised that she was a hoax. The Success had been exhibited around the world for 50 years as “the last of England’s infamous felon fleet.” Millions of people paid money to see an exhibition based on fiction in an extremely successful and profitable hoax. She was not an 18th century ship, had never carried convicts to Australia, and most of the dramatic claims and tales in her souvenir booklets were untrue or exaggerated. She had been built in Burma in 1840, just as the convict system was coming to an end, as a merchant ship of 621 tons. After initially trading around the Indian subcontinent, she was sold to London owners and made her first voyage with emigrants to Fremantle in 1843. Between 1847 and 1852 she made several further voyages to Australia. In 1852, she did arrive at Melbourne but with free emigrants rather than “her usual cargo of convicts”, and the crew did desert for the goldfields, where-after she became a prison hulk. In 1890, she was purchased by the group of dodgy entrepreneurs to be refitted as a museum ship featuring the horrors of the convict era, tricked up with tall tales about how she was the oldest ship afloat (she wasn’t), how she had transported convicts to the colonies (she hadn’t) and with stories of the Kelly gang, who were never aboard. (The Kelly armour on display was also a fake.) Booklets and brochures which were sold aboard the ‘Success’ to the thousands of visitors who toured the convict ship. 2

Adrian Harvey


The son of Inverness who became the ‘Gentleman Bushranger’ When it was a prison hulk, the Success was once the place of incarceration for bushranger ‘Captain’ Melville, the predator of the Victorian goldfields, who came from Inverness. Francis McNeish McNiel McCallum was born, according to the Tasmanian Convict Description lists, in Inverness in 1823. He had some schooling but began stealing at about 11 years of age. Precognition against him and an accomplice for the crime of theft by housebreaking, resulted in an Edinburgh High Court trial in 1833. Documents in the National Archives of Scotland show he lived at the time in Kinloch’s Close, High Street, Edinburgh, with his smithy father John McCallum. There were other precognitions against him for theft in 1834 and again for theft by housebreaking, habit and repute in Fife in 1836. The record indicates he was at this time also using the alias Edward Melville. It is noted he was an apprentice shoemaker with his grandfather Crawford Robertson, of Stockbridge, Edinburgh, and he lived in the home of his mother in Shore of Leith. In the Perth Court of Justiciary he admitted to serving four sentences totalling 22 months before October 1836, and so at the age of 15 he was sentenced to seven years’ transportation for housebreaking. From Sheerness he was sent to Hobart Town in Van Diemen’s Land, aboard the Minerva. He arrived in September 1838 and in October was placed at Port Arthur in the Point Puer establishment for juvenile convicts. The convict description book states his origin as Inverness, five foot in height, with a pale complexion, grey eyes, small nose, reddish light brown hair, and a small blue mark on the inside right arm and scarring on the back of his right hand.

Archives Tasmania

His record in the convict conduct register shows he was almost immediately in trouble receiving 20 lashes for absence and insolence and a further 36 lashes for repeated insolence. Between 1839 and 1848 he came before the police magistrate 25 times. In 1841 his sentence had been extended by two years for felony in February and to life for burglary in July. In September he was sent to the main penal settlement at Port Arthur for five years. In 1846 he was recommended for a year’s probation but absconded and lived with the Aboriginal natives for a year. After his recapture he was given nine months’ hard labour in chains, an experience he repeated in January and again in August 1850. How McCallum made his way to Victoria is unknown but he appears to have arrived in October 1851, calling himself Captain Francis Melville and posing as a gentleman. By December that year he had turned bushranger. He claimed leadership of the Mount Macedon gang, a large band of bushrangers on the roads in the Black Forest between Melbourne and Ballarat, and gained a folkloric reputation through both the boldness of his outrages and the chivalry he showed to many, especially women. He was almost trapped by the police near Mount Arapiles where he had a cave hideout. The ‘caves’ are a collection of huge granite boulders sitting on the top of a massive granite tor in the Kooyoora State Park. It is the spaces between these huge boulders which form the ‘caves’ or ‘cavities.’ However, they are in fact a series of large fissures which have formed in the weathered granite. Melville is thought to have used the caves as a camp and vantage point owing to their elevation which provides excellent views over the flat plains to the south, along which gold-bearing coaches travelled. Melville conducted raids at numerous points throughout western and south-western Victoria and once made off with five billy-cans full of gold dust. Never recovered, they are thought to be still buried somewhere on Mount Arapiles. In December 1852 Melville moved into the Western District. At Marida Yallock he ordered the Mackinnon girls to entertain him, singing and playing the piano himself before leaving. On the 18th with William Roberts he held up 16 men in the Wardy Yallock sheep station and ransacked the house and stole horses. Continued on page 4 3


Next day the bushrangers robbed Thomas Warren and William Madden of £37 but returned them £10 for travelling expenses. In Geelong they put up at Christy’s Inn, where Melville’s boasting about himself and about the £100 reward offered for his apprehension induced a woman to warn the police. Alerted, Melville smashed a window and climbed into the street. He knocked down a policeman, but was met by Henry Guy riding a horse. As he tossed Guy from the saddle the horse escaped; Guy wrestled with him until two policemen arrived. The drunken Roberts had already been arrested and the bushrangers spent Christmas in South Geelong gaol. Charged under the name of Thomas Smith, he and fellow bushranger Roberts eventually faced Judge Redmond Barry at the Geelong Circuit Court on 3rd February 1853 on three counts of robbery. Barry sentenced both men to 12, 10 and 10 years on each count, respectively — in Melville’s case to be served consecutively. Imprisoned in the hulk President in Hobson Bay, Melville attempted on 4th June to bite off a sergeant’s nose; he was beaten by the warders and given 20 days’ solitary. In January 1854 he received another month solitary for “inciting the prisoners to mutiny.” In June he was transferred to the hulk Success in Port Phillip Bay but allowed to work ashore in the Point Gellibrand quarry. Melville behaved himself and was allowed to spend three days a week allegedly translating the Bible into the Aboriginal language, when in fact he was planning with a former ship’s captain, Billy Stevens, to seize a cutter and sail to Gippsland; their eight accomplices included Harry Power, who would later ‘mentor’ Australia’s most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly. In October 1855 they captured the tow boat, took Constable Owens as hostage and rowed down Hobson’s Bay with Melville yelling “Goodbye at last to Victoria.” As the water police and guard boats closed in Stevens smashed Owens’s skull and leapt into the sea to his death. When captured Melville is credited with saying: “I would sooner die than suffer what I have been subjected to in these hulks in the past four years.” A Citizens’ Committee engaged a Dr Mackay to plead the convicts’ case but Melville conducted his own defence in November 1855. He was charged as Thomas Smith, alias Frank McCallum, alias Captain Melville and in crossexamination upset police claims that he had murdered Owens, but the judge ruled that all were guilty when a man died while attempting to escape custody. Melville argued that he had been charged as Thomas Smith (a name he claimed he had never used); that he was sentenced to work on the roads, not imprisoned in a hulk; that a warrant for custody in a hulk did not extend to a quarry; and that treatment in the hulks was degrading. He and two other conspirators were sentenced to death but the case was referred to the Full Court. For the trials the Citizens’ Committee briefed R.D. Ireland, who called the three condemned men as witnesses and secured acquittal of the six. The Full Court concluded that the Crown had not produced a warrant for Melville’s transfer from the President to the Success and thus failed to prove that he had tried to escape from legal custody; the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, to which Melville replied “Well, you’ll be sorry for it.” Melville was transferred to Melbourne gaol where he had outbursts of fury and warders were warned not to excite him. In March 1857 the Inspector-General of convicts was killed in another uprising at the quarry near Williamstown. Although Melville had been transferred to the Melbourne Gaol a short time before the uprising, everybody rightly suspected that he was involved in organising the general mutiny and in July he made a savage physical attack on the Governor of the gaol. At dawn on 12th August 1857 a warder found him in his cell strangled by a red-spotted blue scarf. It was never revealed what happened: a suicide, or strangulation by jailers who wanted to get rid of him and his unpredictable paroxysms of violent attacks. The general opinion was that he was like a wild beast and was better dead than alive. When he died, Melville had been in custody for more than four years. The notoriety that had surrounded his career as Victoria’s most wanted bushranger had long since subsided, but he had created a legend of the cultured gentleman of good address and scholarship turned highwayman, considerate to those whom he robbed, courteous and charming to women, and a nineteenth-century Robin Hood. Yet in reality he was a swaggerer, a skilful confidence man, courageous behind a brace of pistols but who was eventually destroyed by both the penal system and his own unbalanced character.

Adrian Harvey 4


John Mackenzie — Inverness cinematographer One of the pioneers in colour moving film was Invernessborn John Mackenzie. An expert cinematographer, he was born in 1861 to local watchmaker and jeweller William Mackenzie and his wife Elizabeth Ferguson. He first followed in his father’s footsteps and became a master jeweller, optician and photographer with a highly successful business in Inglis Street, and had taken medals for artistic photography. He became a touring magic lantern operator, then graduated to motion picture cameraman in 1897 on the introduction of the cinematograph as a means of public entertainment. A juggler had come to Inverness with one of the primitive ‘blinkers’ showing American actress and modern dance pioneer Loie Fuller in a skirt dance. In an interview with The Moving Picture World magazine in 1915, Mackenzie “...admitted he was hopelessly inoculated with the cinematograph virus on the first contact. Undeterred by the possession of a growing family and uninfluenced by the ominous shaking of heads of his older relatives, he raised what funds he could and started out to secure a projector. In his search he went as far as Brussels. Finally in London he purchased what he was after. When he returned to Inverness he caused it to be known he was going to give a show. His fellow-townsmen rallied round him with a unanimity that bespoke their pride in a pioneer. On his first night’s exhibition he took in a sum sufficient to recoup him for his outlay in London. On his second night he was money ahead.” In a short time he was recognised as one of the best public entertainers in this line. At that time Fuerst Brothers in London was the only place that sold film stock. The same firm also possessed a camera about which it was very secretive, and which was used to take local moving pictures around London. Mackenzie enquired about the possibility of purchasing it and was told £1,000 could not buy it. Mackenzie was not to be stopped. Being an optician he was an expert mechanic and he proceeded to build his own camera, and with it became the first man in Scotland to take local moving pictures. His business grew until he was clearing a profit that averaged £1,000 a year. Then came the winter of the belated coronation of Edward VII, the ceremony which was postponed on account of the King requiring an operation. Mackenzie had booked for the showing of the coronation the most expensive halls in Scotland. But he carried out his schedule, exhibiting at such a loss that at the end of the season he was £3,000 down. Forced by his losses to make a fresh start, in 1902 Mackenzie joined the Charles Urban Trading Company in London, at a time when that pioneer manufacturer had only one cameraman. For Urban he travelled all over Europe, North Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and America, specialising in black and white silent travelogues, including a notable trip with journalist Harry de Windt to the Balkan states in 1907.

Moving film of Loie Fuller inspired John Mackenzie.

The series Bonnie Scotland was filmed by Mackenzie between 1905-1906. Filmed all over Scotland, with Inverness and the Highlands playing prominent parts, they featured vignettes on local life and representations of iconic scenery and buildings.

In September 1908 the Highland Times reported “Mr Mackenzie has, since going to London, executed some important commissions necessitating long Continental journeys. Only last week it was noted that he had been selected by his employers to go to India to obtain some important pictures, and we understand he is now on his way to our Eastern Dependency.” He returned with early footage of a tiger hunt. 5


Charles Urban began using George Smith’s Kinemacolor process, the first colour films being projected in 1909 at the Palace Theatre in London. The technique only used two colours: green and red, which were mixed additively. (Subsequently, in 1916, the Technicolor technique arrived.)* Urban and Mackenzie exhibited Kinemacolor to 1,200 invitees at the Madison Square Garden in New York City and in 1911, Mackenzie accompanied Urban to New Delhi for the Delhi Durbar — the Coronation of King George and Queen Mary as the Emperor and Empress of India.

Urban himself later recalled: Charles Urban and his camera crews at the Delhi Durbar in 1911. “We had the choicest of all possible positions; the officials afforded us the best of protection. They had heard rumors that rival film companies were bent on damaging or destroying our pictures and inasmuch as the King expected to see these pictures in London, it was up to the Army to see that we got them safely there. Each night we used to develop the negatives exposed during the day, and bury them in cases dug in the sand in my tent with a piece of linoleum and a rug on top — my bed on top of them, a pistol under my pillow and armed guards patrolling our camp.” John MacKenzie moved to Canada prior to World War One and later to Hollywood, shooting many of the earlier productions that demonstrated the Kinemacolor system around the world, including the first Kinemacolor films made in America. During the war the new Canadian National Railway commissioned Mackenzie to film a travelogue of the CNR’s trains and scenery. He spent a year and eight months at the Kalem Glendale Studio, and in October 1915, The Moving Picture World magazine featured an interview with Mackenzie, after a recent holiday back to Inverness. “Stopping over in New York on his way back to resume his duties at the Balboa studio in Long Beach, California, John Mackenzie favoured the staff of The Moving Picture World with a call on Tuesday. With him was his second son, Ian Mackenzie, Biograph cameraman. His elder son, Gerald, is a cameraman at the Selig Edendale studio at Los Angeles. Mr Mackenzie had just returned from a visit to his old home in Scotland. His stay in the British Isles lasted five weeks. “It is a many-sided personality, that of Mr Mackenzie’s, and an all-round interesting one. For twenty years he has operated a motion picture camera — for fourteen of these in the continuous employ of Charles Urban — in the course of his professional work he has travelled all over the world; he has met men of all kinds and in all conditions. He has been a keen observer. Added to the gift of observation he is blessed with a wide vocabulary, a ‘fine nick’ of descriptive language. He has written of his experiences in books and in magazines. Among the former is Rambles in Many Lands.” Published in 1910, Rambles in Many Lands documents his exploits as a cameraman for Charles Urban. The Border War is the name given to the series of military engagements which took place in the Mexico-United States border region during the Mexican Revolution; the height of the conflict coming in 1916 when revolutionary Pancho Villa attacked the American border town of Columbus, New Mexico. John Mackenzie found himself filming in the thick of it. The Highland Times of 15th June 1916, under the heading “Our ‘Movie Man’ in Mexico — Mr John Mackenzie Out West” publishes a letter from Mackenzie in Fort Bliss, Texas, about his time there. * It was in 1901 when the first colour film in history was created. Directed by photographer Edward Raymond Turner and his patron Frederick Marshall Lee, they used black and white film rolls, but had green, red and blue filters go over the camera individually as it shot. To complete the film, they joined the original footage and filters on a special projector. However, both the shooting of the film and its projection suffered from major unrelated issues that, eventually, sank the process. 6

Luke McKernan/www.charlesurban.com

There were several film companies out there filming, but only Urban’s camera team were filming in the Kinemacolor process (as well as black and white footage). When the other companies returned to Britain, Urban stayed behind after sending his mono footage back. Luke McKernan, Urban’s biographer wrote: “He was seeing things beyond the news, and felt that so precious were the films that his team has captured that there was danger of their being stolen or damaged by his rivals.”


“Readers will be pleased to know that Mr John Mackenzie, our very own ‘movie man’, has been taking pictures among the wild men of Mexico. Accompanying the punitive expedition sent by the United States, he seems to have had quite exciting times. We reproduce a photo of him in his latest rig, which, with the following letter...arrived safely in Inverness (after being suspiciously nosed by the Censor), a few days ago:-

“I am here ‘for the pictures,’ those everlasting ‘movie’ pictures for which the cinematograph man goes everywhere. “My work in Mexico, and along the border, with the gallant boys of the United States’ army has been most interesting. Danger of actual war between the US and Mexico would now appear to be averted. I was much interested in General Alvaro Obregon, Mexican hero and war minister, of whom at his conferences with General Scott, I have made many pictures within the past few days. Having concluded my ‘war pictures’ program, I expect to leave for the East — New York — in a few days now.” John Mackenzie died on 5th April 1944 in Orange County, California age 82 years. He had married Euphemia Callum in Inverness and had several children. Son Gerald became a leading figure in the Technicolor laboratories, and Ian (Jack) also became a cameraman with many film credits to his name.

John Mackenzie/Highland Times 15.06.1916

“Sir, — As I know you like to hear of the doings of Invernessians, I am dropping you a few lines from this most Western military post of the USA. I have been down in Mexico with the ‘punitive’ expedition, not fighting — I’m too old for that or I would, ere now, have been fighting for ‘the home country.’ For Britain, if not indeed Scotland, will always be to me ‘the home country,’ though my home and my household have, for years now, been in America.

Adrian Harvey

Convenor’s Corner Dave Conner

THINGS ARE LOOKING UP! Although Inverness has lost a number of fine (and some not-so-fine) buildings over the years — a trend which continues — we are still blessed with many fine structures, especially in and around the Town (City) Centre. Granted, some of them could do with the removal of their ‘roof garden’. Nonetheless, the craft of the stone mason is still widely displayed — albeit you usually need to look up. Shop fronts are shop fronts, and their main purpose is to display the shop’s wares — but by raising your eyes to first floor level and above, you will see some really bonny stonework — and intricate sculpture/carving that most folk have never noticed. A wander around the Town (City) Centre will reveal many examples of stone artwork and design and so many carved heads too. There is much to enjoy and appreciate about the place — but you do need to LOOK UP to appreciate it fully. Yours aye. Dave Conner, ILHF Convenor

Dave Conner

7


Around the Crown There is so much to discover when walking the dog.

Are you interested in the local history of Inverness? Cook-Massey Collection

Adrian Harvey

Do you like meeting people?

On the building on the corner of Ardconnel Street and Hill Street you can still make out the old street sign from when Ardconnel Street was named Ardconnel Terrace (West).

Why not join our team of volunteers who show people around the Old High Church in Inverness. You will be paired with an experienced member of the Congregation and given plenty of information on the history of the Church. If you can spare two hours a week during summer (June-Sept) contact Sheila MacLeod on 01463 220435 Sessions are either available at 10am-12pm or 2pm-4pm on Tuesday and Friday.

Esquire

Identification Parade

The unknown group portrait in this issue was submitted by a Forum member, who found it inside a packing box, lying flush against the side, in her new house in Overton Avenue c1999. Can any members identify these people?

Subscriptions 2019-2020 If members of the Forum wishing to pay at the regular talks could place their cheque or cash in an envelope with their name and address on the front it will avoid a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are ÂŁ12 per single person or ÂŁ20 per couple and run from 1st April - 31st March.

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered/88 Editor: Adrian Harvey


Alexander Dallas/Joseph Cook Collection

The Black Bridge of Inverness Vale Sheila Mackay

The Old Wooden Bridge, the predecessor of the present Waterloo Bridge, was originally called the New Bridge, but it latterly became known as the Black Bridge due to the colour of its timbers. Originally built from fir obtained from the forests of Strathglass, much of the timber had to be replaced in 1817 due to deterioration. The reference ‘black’ may have been due to the fact that it had been in a state of decay caused by numerous flooding, fungal growth or discolouration of the oak caused by the reaction of ferrous fixings (nails) on the restored timbers. At the beginning of the 19th century Inverness began to ‘grow’ as did trade, a large proportion of which was carried on by sea. The building of a new pier was discussed and two far-seeing citizens of the town saw the probability in the direction of the Thornbush. These gentlemen were Mr Lockhart Kinloch, Sheriff-Clerk and Mr Peter Anderson, solicitor, who in 1804 leased the lands of Merkinch from Mr Alexander Fraser of Torbreck for a period of 300 years. Desirous now to bring the lands of the Merkinch within the extended royalty of the burgh and connect them with the town by means of a bridge, Anderson and Kinloch, together with Mr Richard Gilbert (a feuar; one who holds lands in feu), approached the Town Council.

ILHF

This view from Shore Street over the river to Gilbert Street, showing the original timber Black Bridge, was taken by watch and clock maker Alexander Dallas of Church Street.

Our AGM every June marks the end of the Inverness Local History Forum’s year and 2019 was no exception. However this year our last meeting was the first time the Forum had met since the passing of Sheila S. MacKay OBE, the founder of the Forum and our Honorary President, on 20th May 2019. Sadly, this bereavement was followed by the loss on 15th June 2019 by another of the Forum’s original founders and our Honorary Member, Kay MacKenzie. Our sincere condolences go out to both Sheila and Kay’s families. Without their contribution and dedication to the history of Inverness much of the story of ordinary Invernesssians would be lost to future generations.

Vale Kay MacKenzie

Continued on page 2

Continued on page 4

Talks & Events 2019

“Information not shared is lost”

4th September - Willie Morrison presents vintage images from his collection 2nd October - Gill Bird on The Highlanders’ Museum at Fort George 3rd October - WWI Northern Barrage One-Day Conference 6th November - Anne-Mary Paterson on Joseph Mitchell, the Patersons and the Highland Railway Forum talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month at 2.00pm in the Spectrum Centre theatre.


The Black Bridge of Inverness In 1806 the Magistrates, Town Council and the principal feuars of the Merkinch came to an agreement that a bridge be built at the tenants’ own expense, or aid obtained by voluntary subscription or otherwise. When completed it was to be handed over to the Provost and Magistrates, so that in virtue of an Act of Parliament to be obtained by them, perpetual toll would be collected. Although the Town Council were not involved in the actual erection of the bridge, they agreed to take it over when finished. The bridge was built near the old quay, with access to it on the south side achieved by the demolition of properties between the Grey Friars and the Maggot, and a connection was made with Church Street. Work began in 1807 and the following year it was completed. On 25th July 1808 by Order of the Town Council, a gate and toll bar were erected and a levy of a halfpenny was imposed. It appeared a fragile looking structure and over the years it became an expensive affair requiring constant fixing. It is written in 1834 to have originally cost about £2000 with a further £2500 spent on repairs. In 1809 the embankment of the river was formed from the bridge to Douglas Row and soon afterwards Gilbert Street and Anderson Street were created, named after Richard Gilbert and Peter Anderson, (the solicitor who was also responsible for setting up the Thornbush Hemp Manufactory near the Thornbush Pier and which in 1828 was converted into the Thornbush Brewery).

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Grant Street originally known as ‘New Bridge Street’ was subsequently renamed after Major Alpin Grant, (son of Patrick Grant VIII of Glenmoriston and Isobel Grant) who lived at the Citadel, Inverness where he managed the Inverness Hemp Factory. His great-granddaughter Isabel Harriet Grant Anderson, who wrote An Inverness Lawyer and his Sons and Inverness Before Railways, was the daughter of Peter Anderson (son of the solictor Peter Anderson) and Agnes Shaw Grant. Agnes’s mother Isabella, was the daughter of Alpin Grant. The Anderson family are buried in the Chapel Yard, Inverness. The ‘New Bridge’ was in 1817 found to be in a state of disrepair; the supports were in a terrible condition and the flooring and railings rotten. Advised to use oak planks from old ships to renew the rotting timbers, these were duly purchased by the Town for £400 and transported from London at a cost of over £112.

‘New’ Waterloo Bridge crossing the River Ness to Grant Street in the 1930s. The empty land in the background is now residential housing and the Carse Industrial Estate.

Heavy flooding continued to have its toll on the bridge and in 1823 it was again found to be in a decaying and dangerous condition.

Ross-shire Journal

Under threat of closure, Provost James Grant of Bught was asked to contact Mr Thomas Telford as to the cost of an iron bridge. Telford recommended a stone bridge with five cast-iron arches and was to have estimated the cost together with plans, but this it seems was never executed. The Magistrates, therefore, made a decision to have the necessary work carried out. Continual flooding over time compelled the Council to borrow from the Guildry funds and the strengthening of the bridge prepared it for the great storm and flood of 1829, which destroyed many roads and bridges all around. On the morning of Thursday 25th January 1849, the old Stone Bridge crossing the Ness was completely washed away in a disastrous flood. A violent storm of rain, wind and lightning throughout the region caused the level of Loch Ness to rise dramatically and part of the banks of

Ross-shire Journal 28th February 1896 on the opening of the new Waterloo Bridge, built by the Rose Street Foundry at a cost of £7000. 2


Joseph Cook Collection

View of the Black Bridge looking toward Inverness, taken between 1893 when the Free North Church was completed, and 1896 when the bridge was replaced. the Caledonian Canal gave way above the regulating lock at Dochgarroch, resulting in an increased volume of water pouring into the River Ness. Fortunately the bursting of the canal banks below Loch Oich, which admitted a great quantity of water into Loch Ness, did not occur until some time after the breaches had taken place at Dochgarroch. From the Castlehill the view was devastating, the swollen river flowed furiously onward and it was said “Ness House [demolished c1870] was like a lighthouse standing in the middle of a lake”. Property on either bank lay in five to six feet of water and the residents were taken from their homes to places of greater safety. They were accommodated in the Poor House, the Bell’s School, the Northern Meeting Rooms and the Gaelic Church; the Exchange Reading Rooms were also made available. Fearing further destruction to the canal banks the people of the Merkinch were ordered more than once to flee for their lives, which many of them did and a great number took refuge on the slopes of the Leachkin. More destruction followed with the sole remaining bridge at the Ness Islands being wrenched from its piers. The raging torrent carried it towards the ‘New Bridge’, where it struck one of its wooden pillars, but fortunately it passed through and was cast upon the Capel Inch. Anxious for the safety of the now tottering bridge, barricades were erected so only one person could pass at a time; and horses and vehicles were prohibited. The water had affected the embankment on the north side making the bridge unstable, and Harbour Engineer Joseph Mitchell instructed that large quantities of quarried stone be deposited around the bridge supports, then closed for a week to allow additional piles to strengthen it once the waters had abated. With the bridge now secure it was opened to all heavy traffic until the opening of the new Suspension Bridge in 1855, built on the site of the previous fallen structure. In between times the Town Magistrates had approved the erection of a temporary wooden footbridge, close to this site, at a cost of £460. Following the opening of the new Suspension Bridge the ‘New Bridge’ then became known as the 'Wooden Bridge’ and continued to serve the public up until the middle of 1895. Continuous flooding caused extensive damage to the embankments and supports, and in May 1894 the Town Council made a decision to build a new steel girder bridge. This is the bridge that spans the river today— the Waterloo Bridge aka ‘Black Bridge’. It was built at a cost of £7000 by the Rose Street Foundry and the Chief Engineer had been John Mackenzie. It was opened on 26th February 1896 by Mrs Macbean, wife of Provost William Macbean.

Anne C. MacKintosh 3


1939-2019

Willie Morrison

Sheila S. MacKay OBE — In Memoriam

Sheila MacKay addressing the Inverness Local History Forum civic reception in the Town House on 18 th September 2012. Sheila was born in Inverness on 5th January 1939 at the Royal Northern Infirmary to Simon and Isabella Grant. The family lived at 13 Burn Road, just round the corner from the home where Sheila later lived with her family on Culduthel Road. She was there until her illness meant a move to the Cameron House Nursing Home where Sheila passed away peacefully on Sunday 19th May 2019. One of my favourite memories of Sheila in recent years has to be from the afternoon we visited her and her fellow residents at Cameron House. We showed a wee selection of old photos and played some of our oral history recordings. Sheila was sitting with her husband Ian when an old photo of the dancing in the Ness Islands in the 1950s came up on screen. Ian shouted out, “That’s where we met!” She looked delighted and a glimpse of the Sheila we remembered before illness overtook her shone through. Sheila and Ian married on 18th August 1957 in the Hut which stood on the proposed site of the Hilton Parish Church of Scotland. At the time Ian was working for British Telecom and Sheila was a clerkess in ‘Riggs’ the Butcher Shop in Eastgate — and many stories she had to tell about her time there; but then Sheila always liked to tell a good story!

August 1957, Sheila Grant and Ian MacKay after their wedding in the Church Hut.

One of her civic duties included a spell as the Depute Provost of Inverness, a role which she was very proud of and carried out with great dignity.

Sheila MacKay

Sheila MacKay

In the 1980s Sheila decided to stand for election as a Councillor in her local area and for many years, until the Council reorganisation of the 1990s, she represented the Hilton area.

Inverness Depute Provost. 4


Inverness benefitted greatly from Sheila’s time on the Council in many ways but as she herself was often heard to say: “This is when I realised that people, especially the older generation, had so much to share about their childhood, schooldays, work and life in Inverness”. This gave Sheila the idea of actually recording local folk and the result of this work is an archive of over 100 hours of oral history and two volumes of Inverness Our Story, Mind Thon Time. Without Sheila and her dedicated group of fellow interviewers (and interviewees of course), transcript typists and technical ‘experts’, Inverness would be missing a valuable archive relating to the social history of Inverness. The tapes contain details of the things we tend to forget; childhood games, housing conditions, local dance halls, Christmas past, schools and our teachers, going to the pictures and so much more — without Sheila this would all be, with every passing generation, quite simply gone. (I did ask her one time why many of the original cassette tapes ended with a few seconds of Country and Western music. Her answer, “Well Ian would never have missed them...”) Phil Downie

What is even more poignant for us here at the Forum are the recordings of Sheila herself talking about her early life and childhood in Inverness; they are of course peppered with her inevitable laughter when remembering the more amusing stories of an Inverness childhood. Sheila with the first volume of Inverness, Our Story, published in 2004. The Forum newsletter, Inverness Remembered, has been published since January 1997.

That said however she was also keen to point out the material differences between life in the 1940s-1950s compared with today.

The start of the Inverness Remembered Project and the Oral History recordings led on to the formation of the Inverness Local History Forum organisation which continues today. With Sheila’s guidance and enthusiasm for all things Inverness we have gone from strength to strength — monthly talks, conferences, exhibitions, books and booklets all with a common theme — Inverness. Hopefully we are still achieving what Sheila set out to do by recording, preserving and sharing our history. We’ll never forget that it all started with one person, a flat bed cassette recorder, some re-cycled music cassettes and a passion for her home town.

Dave Conner

Sandy McCook

Maureen Kenyon

Sheila at the launch of Farraline Park — More Than Just a Bus Station in December 2014, with Forum committee members and Provost Alex Graham. 5


Kay MacKenzie — Honorary Member

1938-2019

We were saddened to hear that our friend and Honorary Member of the Forum, Kay MacKenzie, passed away on Saturday 15th June 2019.

Maureen Kenyon

As many of the long time members will know, Kay had been one of the founders of the Forum and served for many years as our Secretary. No organisation, large or small, can function without people like Kay in the background; she was always a great support to all of us. With many ingenious ideas for our exhibitions, projects and fundraising and with keyboard skills that transcribed hours of oral history recordings, her enthusiasm for all things Inverness shone through. Kay always volunteered to be on duty at our onetime regular spot in the Clan Tent at the Inverness Highland Games, where we annually sited a small exhibition on the history of Inverness. There was nothing she liked better than telling tourists and locals about ‘her town’. Kay knew more about the history of Inverness than most of us and she loved to chat about what life was like when she was growing up and of her experiences working in Inverness. Kay had a fantastic memory for even the smallest of details — the everyday things that bring a story to life.

She was born in Inverness on 18th October 1938 when the family lived in Abban Street. Her father had been a grocer in the Co-op in Lochalsh Road before the war but on returning home from the services he drove a lorry. They moved ‘out of town’ in the 1940s when her father took up a post at the Town Reservoir, Culduthel, where the water from Loch Ashie and Loch Duntelchaig supplied Inverness. She attended the wee school at Culduthel and one of her memories was of being sick and the headmaster sticking her head under the outside tap! Changed days. But on a more positive note his influence and teaching gave Kay her love for poetry. She went on to the High School in Inverness and her family moved shortly afterwards to a house in the Dalneigh area.

Northern Exposures

From 1956 Kay worked as a telephonist in the GPO and was persuaded by some of her colleagues to join the Royal Auxiliary Airforce as a volunteer in the underground bunker that they operated from. It was situated in what is now the Raigmore Housing Estate. She passed the necessary exams and became one of the few female ‘radar operators’ on the team. Kay’s obvious enthusiasm for her role in this and later as a volunteer warden in the local Civil Defence comes through in the recording I made with her in 2012; her memories of this period in her life were so clear and accurate. They were roles that she enjoyed and as I have discovered over the years, volunteering is what Kay did. We could always rely on her to take a leading role in everything the Forum was up to and this ranged from welcoming folk to our exhibitions, to selling our books and taking part in our ‘dig’ up at Auld Castle Road in 2004 organised by our then Convenor George Christie.

Digging for evidence of MacBeth’s Castle in Auld Castle Road. Kay is third from the left.

Being an Invernessian and of a similar age Kay was a great friend of Sheila MacKay and many a laugh and story they shared whenever together — 'Mind Thon Time' (or man or woman) was a phrase that started many a hilarious chat during our Committee Meetings. In June 2011 the Forum held an exhibition on the history of Farraline Park. Both ladies were delighted to be asked to formally declare the event ‘open’ and they spent many hours there meeting and greeting the hundreds of visitors who attended during the three day event. In 2012 on the 20th Anniversary of the Forum both Kay and Sheila came along to the La Scala cinema in Eden Court to watch an especially commissioned film show by the Scottish Screen Archives as part of our celebrations during the Inverness Film Festival. The film clips focused on local events, parades and royal visits, given the chat and exclamations coming from their seats it was a special couple of hours for both ladies — a chance to re-live a few memories of days gone by. Kay was delighted to become one of our Honorary Members several years ago. This was around the time her health deteriorated and she was unable to attend committee and other meetings but she was always glad to hear about the goings on of the Inverness Local History Forum.

Maureen Kenyon 6


New life for Abertarff House

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

It was recently reported that planning permission has been granted to create retail and café space on the ground floor of Abertarff House, allowing owners the National Trust for Scotland to bring new life to the Church Street building. The house, once located within Abertarff Close off Church Street is the oldest surviving secular building in Inverness. Commonly misnamed Abertarff House, it was begun in 1592 and for years was hidden by the buildings in front of it which had been erected towards the end of the seventeenth century. The house in the close was in a ruinous condition before the front houses were removed and it was opened up to Church Street. Constructed in the 16th century for the Fraser of Lovat it fell into a state of disrepair, and some 350 years later was gifted to the Inverness Town Council before being transferred to the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) in 1966. In an effort to meet rising maintenance costs, NTS lodged plans with the Highland Council to transform the existing exhibition space on the ground floor into a small commercial unit. Approval was granted for the new use by Highland Council, subject to two conditions; that cooking, heating and reheating within the application site should be limited to the use of a coffee machine, microwave and soup warmer only, while the other condition related to storage of refuse.

Abertarff House is a prime example of the domestic architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries. Building began in 1592 and was completed the following year, making it one of the oldest houses in Inverness. At the time Church Street was the main thoroughfare of the town, leading from the castle to the parish Continued on page 8 7

Paterson Collection/SHPA

According to the planning application, Abertarff House was described as a beautiful but under-utilised building and stated there was a strong opportunity to build a ‘boutique visitor experience’ to explore the diverse and vibrant history of Inverness, and deliver small-scale events programmes while providing opportunities for commercial engagement. Additionally, the first floor will house a small meeting room that could be used for community events.


church and only the previous year the Great Charter of 1591 had confirmed “all previous charters and defined the properties and privileges of the burgh,” declaring the status of Inverness as the most important town in northern Scotland. The building is of a rectangular two storied design with a semi-circular stair turret in the centre of the south side, surmounted by a square cap house. A marriage stone in the end of the crow-stepped gable bears the letters AS HP. The initials are also replicated on an interior fireplace lintel. Built as a town house and meeting place for the Frasers of Lovat it was later the residence of Colonel Archibald Fraser of Beaufort and Abertarff, son of the Lord Lovat who was executed in 1747 for his part in the Jacobite Uprising. Convicted of treason against the Crown, he was the last man in Britain to be beheaded on Tower Hill in London. Abertarff House remained Fraser property until the mid-1700s. It was later acquired by the Commercial Bank of Scotland who remained the owner for about 100 years. In 1963 the then proprietors bequeathed the building to the National Trust for Scotland, who completed its restoration in 1966, helped by the people of Inverness and other benefactors. The restoration was marked by a Civic Trust Award. In 1985 the National Trust for Scotland moved its Highland office into the house but over the years it has housed many other enterprises including An Comunn Gàidhealach (organisers of the Royal National Mod), a gift shop, a dental practice and an office space.

Abertarff House and the road to preservation

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

For many years the house was hidden inside Abertarff Close by the buildings in front of it. It was in a ruinous condition and on 4th October 1935, The Inverness Courier ran a piece about the gathering momentum of the movement to preserve the oldest building in Inverness.

Abertarff Close after being opened up to Church Street by the demolition of the buildings facing the street next to the Commercial Bank (now Hootananny’s).

The Courier article of 1935 reads: “All interested in the retention and preservation of the few remaining architectural antiquities in Inverness will be pleased to observe that at a meeting of the Town Council on Tuesday, Provost Hugh Mackenzie agreed with the view expressed in the leading article in the Courier that the Council had already accepted the gift of the old house situated in Abertarff Close in Church Street, as well as agreeing to the conditions on which the gift was given by the Commercial Bank...

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

“The old house has for many years been occupied as dwelling-houses, and it is now the only remaining example of a style of architecture at one time common in Inverness. The houses facing the street were erected towards the end of the seventeenth century, the date 1697 being still visible on the adjoining property belonging to Mr Tulloch but the house in question which is behind the latter is undoubtedly considerably older...

“The main interest in the building in question, however, is that it shows a particularly fine specimen of an ancient turnpike stairs with projecting turret. Captain Burt, writing from Inverness about 1727, says: — ‘In this town the houses are so differently modelled they cannot be brought under any general description, but commonly the back part of one end is turned towards the street, and you pass by it through an alley into a little courtyard, and ascend by stairs above the first storey.’ “Houses of this sort were admirably suited for defensive purposes in case of street fighting...It may be pointed out that the house in Abertarff Close has for many years greatly interested visitors and its preservation, as one of the few remaining architectural antiquities in Inverness, is greatly desired.” 8


The movement to preserve the house had been highlighted two months previously in a speech by the General Manager of James Walker Sawmills, Mr Joseph Cook. Cook was a well-known and respected speaker on vintage Inverness, who would illustrate his lectures with lantern slides from his voluminous photographic collection. The following report is taken from the www.cookcollection.co.uk website. In August 1935, on the occasion of a Rotary Club meeting about the preservation of the house, Joseph Cook said: “We are privileged to live in a very old and beautiful town, the history of which is lost in the passage of time. Underneath the ground, if anything is discovered that dates back to Culloden days, we fondle it as a treasure and invite the Sassenach to visit our museum. Old prints of Inverness are of a general interest. Did not the great Turner paint the picture of Inverness from the other end of the stone bridge, an engraving of which appeared in an early edition of Tales of a Grandfather? Old books on the Capital of the Highlands are eagerly bought up when offered for sale, and in many instances now fetch three or four times their original value. “But there is another side to the picture. We as a community — as a Highland community — have lost much. Some of our old institutions have been destroyed unmercifully. Where is the old fair we used to have twice a year, when one could only squeeze their way through between the stalls at the junction of High Street and Petty Street, and right down Inglis Street, and bargain with the hucksters over candy or cheap jewellery, or perchance to see the tail end of a row [fight] opposite Mr Smith the Barber’s?

“We are now at the stage when we should preserve what we have got. Hidden away in an old court in A boarded-up Abertarff House and historian/lecturer Joseph Cook. Church Street there stands a building weathered with age, a beautiful relic of Old Inverness, built in the Scots baronial style — the last of its kind in Inverness. At one time there were many such buildings. A very good example once stood on the Castle Wynd, but it has long since been done away with.

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

“The Cheese market is unknown to modern Inverness, and the younger generation would look askance if you told them that the Sacrament service of the old Free North Church used to be held among the tombstones in the Chapel Yard.

“The house of which I speak stands in Abertarff Close, Church Street, next to the Commercial Bank, and belonged at one time to a Mr Suter, wine merchant, who bought it from Mr Warrand of Warranfield. A son of the famous Lord Lovat of the ‘45 was very anxious to buy the house for a very interesting reason. He lived in dread of a French invasion of the town, and as this house had a pathway and steps leading to the river, he thought that if ever the time came, he could easily make for the river and pull round to Beauly in his boat. He employed his factor, Mr Lockhart Kinloch, to carry out the purchase, and Mr Suter, thinking the house was for the factor himself, let him have it cheap, the price being £500 or £600. When Lovat heard of the sale and the price paid, he said. ‘The man was a fool to sell it at that price.’ “But that is all past history, and what we are confronted with today is a generous offer whereby this old property can be acquired by the town, on certain conditions.* If accepted, the offer would result in an improvement that would enhance the beauty of the town, and would ensure the preservation of at least one old building to let present and future generations know what kind of dwellings the people of Inverness lived in when Wade made his roads and when Prince Charles Stuart led out the clans to try his strength against the Duke of Cumberland. “If you look at the old Dunbar Hospital, you will find there a fine example of what can be done to preserve pictures of the past. Many of us remember when that building was fast crumbling into decay, but when put into the hands of the architect it was preserved for not a few generations to come. Continued on page 10 9


“If the subjects in question were properly treated, and something brought back of the old atmosphere, it would mean a bit more added to the interest of our town, which is woefully lacking in so far as historical buildings are concerned. “The question has to be asked, what will the town have to do with it when the suggested alterations have been carried out. Preserve the building and a use will be found for it. Perhaps most people have seen the book of old Inverness prints by the late Mr Delavault. Here they had a Frenchman so enamoured with the old burgh that he puts in colour — and that very beautifully — most of its interesting places, and among them is included the old Abertarff House. After all, should it require a stranger to point out to us what we ought to cherish around our own doors? “Old Inverness is almost gone, its manners, its customs, its institutions; let us try to preserve what we have left, and let it not be said of us that when an opportunity arose to improve the amenities of the town, we were found wanting.” The audience replied with enthusiastic applause, and one wonders if today that the sentiments of Joseph Cook’s words from over 80 years ago, echoing down the years, still have meaning to the residents of Inverness today? * The conditions on which the Commercial Bank were prepared to hand over the property in Abertarff Close to Inverness Town Council, recorded in the May 1933 minutes, were: (a) that it be used as a museum or for some other public purpose. (b) that the block of shops and houses also belonging to the Bank facing Church Street be demolished to lay the old property open to the street, and that the ground be laid out as a garden or pleasure ground. (c) that the expense of carrying out the whole scheme be borne by the town. (d) that the property not be used other than as above; if at any time the building and grounds should cease to be so used the whole subjects were to revert and belong to the Bank.

Adrian Harvey Remember, the ILHF Joseph Cook Old Inverness 2020 Calendar is available for only £7.00 at the Forum talks in the Spectrum Centre, or at the Mailboxes.etc counter in Church Street.

Convenor’s Corner Since our last newsletter, we have experienced the whole spectrum of emotions — especially sadness at the loss of our Founder and President, Mrs Sheila MacKay OBE, closely followed by the passing of her ‘right-hand lady’ in the Forum, Kay Mackenzie. Both ladies worked tirelessly to get the Forum off the ground and keep it going, resulting in the successful organisation we now have. Their commitment over such a long period of time, serving to inform Invernessians and to research and preserve so much of our local history, has been invaluable. We, the present members of the Committee, are committed to continue the excellent work that Sheila and Kay put in. God bless them both. Purely by chance, Sheila’s funeral was set for the same date and time as our last Committee meeting. Needless to say, that meeting did not go ahead; along with so many folk we attended the funeral service which was a great celebration of the life of one of Inverness’s finest daughters. We did however re-arrange our Committee meeting, which we needed to hold to prepare for our forthcoming AGM. Unfortunately (fortunately?) Maureen Kenyon, one of our Vice-Presidents, was unable to attend, which enabled me to obtain the support of the other Committee members to propose Maureen as Forum President. This, I am delighted to say, was ratified unanimously by the Membership, and Maureen succeeds the late Sheila in that role. A protégé of Sheila, Maureen has also volunteered her time in copious amounts for the Forum, and kept it from going to the wall. Her efforts in producing the book Farraline Park — More Than Just a Bus Station were immense, and that’s just one of the many and varied tasks she has undertaken for the Forum. Truly we have made an excellent choice, as illustrated by all the work she has done to arrange our forthcoming Conference — and associated book — which will be done in conjunction with our sister organisations in the Beauly/Cromarty Firths area (and beyond), on the presence of the US Navy in the region from 1917 to 1919. That time seems to be a forgotten — indeed almost a secret — history, although we have done much to publicise it recently. The US Navy had posts as far afield as Fort William, Kyle of Lochalsh and Kirkwall (Orkney) in support of Mine Bases 17 (Alness) and Base 18 (Inverness), and it is a delight that we and our colleagues from Invergordon, Alness, the Black Isle, and Ardersier will at last have the opportunity to tell the story. To achieve this, Maureen has worked tirelessly to organise the event, and to successfully obtain funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Inverness Common Good Fund. We relish the challenge of acting as host for the Conference, and as co-ordinators for the forthcoming (2020) book. 10


As a bairn in the late 1960s I lived in Telford Street (opposite Bumbers Lanie/Caley Park), totally oblivious to the fact that, half a century before, the ‘Stars and Stripes’ had proudly flown only a few buildings along the road as HQ of one of the most impressive naval undertakings of the First World War. Now, a further half-century on, we can finally tell the story of the US Mining Squadron. What a shame that the whole area where US Naval Base 18 once stood has since been flattened and turned into a Retail Park and Industrial Estate.

Yours aye. Dave Conner, ILHF Convenor

Fraser-Watts Collection/SHPA

Thankfully, despite photography being effectively banned in the area, due to the whole North of Scotland being designated a Prohibited Area, the Americans in particular managed to take a wealth of photographs, as well as several US naval officers writing books on the subject. So the story will finally be retold, such as when the playing field of Merkinch School (where building of the new school is currently well under way) was a maze of railway sidings, all crammed full of sea-mines, each one containing 300 lbs (136kg) of TNT.

Coming in October Coming this October

The Northern Barrage Conference The US Navy in the Highlands during WWI

The conference will take place during the Highland Archaeology Festival in October, where the various research projects will present their results.

The US Navy entered WWI in 1917, in part due to concerns about shipping losses, and set about assembling and laying mines between Orkney and Shetland in a hugely ambitious project known as the Northern Barrage. A one day conference on Thursday 3rd October in the Spectrum Centre, Inverness, will present several illustrated talks covering the American experience in Inverness, Invergordon, Ardersier, Alness and the Black Isle.

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Fraser-Watts Collection/SHPA

11


Doors Open Days —

Around the Crown There is so much to discover when walking the dog.

Northern Meeting Park

These sculpted heads can be seen above the door of the recently sold Cairn building at 30 Old Edinburgh Road. Who do they represent?

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Adrian Harvey

Part of the Northern Meeting Park building was open to visitors for Doors Open Days on Saturday 31st August. A display on the history of the Park was presented by the NMP Committee and featured information and photographs contributed by the Inverness Local History Forum. This edition of Inverness Remembered went to press before the Open Day weekend, so we hope the attendance queues looked something like this...

Identification Parade At left from issue 82 is actor Frank Forbes Robertson (1885-1947) in costume as David Garrick. Bottom left from issue 83 is author Ronald MacDonald Douglas (1896-1984). He had been tentatively identified as sculptor Alexander Carrick (18821966) – who is now shown at bottom right.

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Above is Kay Grigor, wife of Provost James Grigor, with her father. Can anyone provide us with his name?

Subscriptions 2019-2020 If members of the Forum wishing to pay at the regular talks could place their cheque or cash in an envelope with their name and address on the front it will avoid a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are £12 per single person or £20 per couple and run from 1st April - 31st March.

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered/89 Editor: Adrian Harvey


Base 18 and the Northern Barrage of WWI The US Navy entered the First World War in 1917 and set about assembling and laying mines between Orkney and Norway in a hugely ambitious project known as the Northern Barrage. A one-day conference hosted by the Forum was held in October in Inverness, where presentations were made by several local groups including the Alness Heritage Society, Invergordon Museum, Groam House Museum Rosemarkie, and Petty & Ardersier Community Heritage SCIO. (A report on The Northern Barrage Conference is on page six.) Read on for a potted history of the US Navy Base 18, stationed in Inverness.

Carse Road in Inverness is today a quiet wee street, running from Telford Road between the terraced Council houses on one side and the old Merkinch School playing field on the other, down to the Industrial Estate and Telford Retail Park.

Six months on from that, however you simply would not have been able to

Not only that but your very presence in the area would have alerted a man in naval uniform armed with a bayonet-tipped rifle, and he in an unmistakable American accent would have asked in no uncertain terms as to your purpose. So how did Inverness come to have not one but two Navy Bases — one (Royal Navy) occupying the Harbour of the River Ness and lots of other parts of the town too — and the other (US Navy) occupying the Carse?

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Continued on page 2

Talks & Events 2019-2020

“Information not shared is lost”

6th November – Anne-Mary Paterson on Joseph Mitchell, the Patersons & Highland Railway 4th December – Members’ Afternoon Tea, Spectrum Hall (1.30-4.00pm) 5th February – Matthew Withey, IMAG and Highland Folk Museum curator 4th March – Sinclair Gair on Alexander Battan Grant (1856-1942), Invernessian fiddle maker and famous angler Forum talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month at 2.00pm in the Spectrum Centre theatre.

May Fraser (Fraser-Watts Collection)

In June 1917 it would have been even quieter, just a dirt track lane between fields on both sides, leading to the Sawing and Bobbin Mills at the back of the Glenalbyn Distillery and thence to Carse Farm, whose fields occupied all of what is now the Carse Industrial Estate.

access what is now Carse Road, as a whacking great security fence topped with barbed wire would have barred your way.


US Navy Base 18 Inverness

The German war machine however decided that any vessel found at sea in the Atlantic Ocean was fair game and duly declared that its U-boats would engage in unrestricted Ships moored between North and South Kessock. submarine warfare beginning 1st February. Then on 17th March, U-boats sank three American merchant vessels, and as a result the USA declared war on Germany in April. Prior to this vessels of neutral countries had generally been left unharmed by the U-boats. The US Navy was keen to participate in war effort where the immense resources of American Industry could be brought to bear. This meant the opportunity to achieve a major project that the Royal Navy would have liked to complete but had neither the resources nor the personnel to undertake — to create a huge minefield stretching across the North Sea from Scotland to Norway to deter the German U-boat fleet from reaching the Atlantic Ocean. Thus there was now the potential and wherewithal to actually undertake this grand plan. The problem however was — where could the Americans be based? Ideally it really needed to be in the Highlands somewhere but it was not as straightforward as it looked at first sight. It was quickly concluded the ideal scenario would be to supply mine parts to the west coast of the Highlands where there were facilities to transport materiel overland to the East Coast. There was the Caledonian Canal, and also the Dingwall & Skye Railway (Kyle line), both of which were greatly underused due to the war. In addition, other industrial facilities on the east coast were identified for use — they were also in mothballs for the duration of hostilities, and so could quickly be utilised for construction of the mines — and were also close to existing deep water harbours already used by the Royal Navy.

May Fraser (Fraser-Watts Collection)

So it was that the distilleries at Dalmore (at Alness, and very convenient for Invergordon — Base 17) and Muirtown (Inverness — Base 18) were chosen as the locations for the US Navy in receiving, assembling and out-shipping the mines.

In the case of Base 18 the whole of the Carse and the Muirtown Basin became part of the USA, and the whole of the Caledonian Canal from Clachnaharry to Corpach (Fort William) came under Royal Navy Naval brass band outside the distillery. control. The Royal Navy's part was to convey the mine parts on lighters the length of the canal, and on arrival at Muirtown Basin the US Navy unloaded and transferred them to railway wagons. The mines came across the Atlantic partly assembled but were completed and made ‘live’ at the Bases before shipping out to sea. Needless to say, the whisky was immediately removed from the distilleries for safe keeping and the Navy occupied the buildings as dormitories and for other purposes necessary for the running of a military base. The main buildings — huge sheds — required for assembling the partially-constructed mines were made in the USA and conveyed over in sections. Even fire engines for use at the Bases arrived from the States. The Carse area had been rapidly set up as a construction base complete with its own railway system, based upon the single line branch from the North Line to Muirtown Basin. The amount of railway tracks installed was phenomenal, especially given the short time-scale involved, and covered the whole of what is now the Industrial Estate with a string of holding sidings stretching along Carse Road and taking up all of what later became the school playing fields. 2

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

The United States of America was neutral for the greater part of the First World War, but assisted the Allies in many ways — including a considerable amount of supplies and foodstuffs being shipped across the Atlantic.


Andrew Paterson/SHPA

When the mines were assembled on the production lines in the Base 18 sheds, they were then placed in trainloads in the holding sidings until needed, and then returned by rail to the Muirtown Basin. They were then loaded back on to lighters/barges and taken via the Clachnaharry sea lock into the Beauly Firth where the Mine-laying Squadron awaited. To ensure that these big ships could safely navigate as far as possible up the Firth, and enable transhipment off Clachnaharry, the Firth had been dredged from Chanonry westwards — hence the term still used locally to refer to the stretch of water from Fort George to Clachnaharry as ‘The Yankee Channel’.

Sea mines being loaded onto a barge.

The US Navy meanwhile worked on devising a new style of sea-mine; the new design being necessary because of the considerable depth (and variation of depths) involved in the North Sea. The Americans came up with the Mark IV mine which featured a long antenna hanging down from the line. Contact with that wire, at whatever depth, would detonate the mine, and likely also set off others around. It was not totally fool-proof and with care a U-boat might manage to avoid one but the idea was deter them from trying, or at least damage and bring them to the surface. The first American staff and equipment arrived at Inverness about the beginning of January 1918. The Base HQ was initially the Distillery Manager’s house on Telford Street, where the Stars and Stripes was ceremonially raised in April 1918. Thereafter the Base Management acquired a large house in Fairfield Road as their office accommodation. The staff eventually formed a US Mine Force of over 1,000 officers and men. The Glen Albyn distillery housed accommodation and the Muirtown Hotel, alongside Muirtown Bridge was taken over as the base sick bay.

There was a considerable amount of getting together, between the local military bosses and public and the Americans, and locals were frequently entertained by various bands raised from the naval personnel. Base 18 being so handily located right across Telford Boiling the kettle at an outdoor picnic with American officers. Street from the Caley Park, and the naval hierarchy being keen to have their men let off steam on the sports field rather than in the local pubs; some previously unknown (to Invernessians anyway) sports were played there, doubtless to the amazement of the locals. When the war ended, the Americans left Inverness for demobilisation — but before long (in 1919) the US Navy returned, although probably few of those returning had been on the first trip. The return was to deal with the minefield which in peacetime was now a considerable hazard to shipping. Although much more dangerous, the removal/destruction of the mines proved a quicker exercise and the Base itself was dismantled and much of it taken back to the USA (although there are possibly still souvenirs around the town). And then the Carse returned to its previous tranquil existence, once the fences and barbed wire came down. The area which had been a hive of industry for a year or so was now quiet again, and most of the signs of the Base's existence are long gone. Even the Canal Branch railway line has gone although it did continue in use (albeit only occasionally) up until the 1960s. Its memory lives on however, as the line of the former trackbed forms the curve which marks the western extremity of the land on the Carse. The distilleries are also now only memories, as is the Caley Park — in fact the only buildings still standing in the area which were there in 1918 are 90 Telford Street (the former Muirtown Hotel) and the two distillery cottages on Carse Road (next to the rear of the Co-op Supermarket).

Dave Conner 3

May Fraser (Fraser-Watts Collection)

So what effect did the American Navy have on Inverness? Well, most young Inverness men were away fighting and it was a fertile location for the young American matelots, both those working in Base 18 and those serving on the Mine-layer squadron which were based in the Beauly Firth. Their very presence attracted many local ladies, and many a romance began — some of which culminated in the ladies becoming ‘GI Brides’ and subsequently moving to the USA.


Pierre Delavault’s Inverness Pierre Delavault was born in Paris in 1859, and came to Inverness as the Art Master at Inverness Royal Academy in 1890. A book published in 1903 featuring his watercolour paintings of Inverness scenes is an important source of information on buildings which have since disappeared.

After the death of the incumbent, Outside the Town Hall on the corner of Castle Street c1867. Delavault accepted the post of Art Master at the Inverness Royal Academy in 1890. At the time he also held the position of art teacher in the private Raining’s School, until that institution was taken over by the School Board.

Pierre Delavault

Delavault received his art training in Paris and as a student was accomplished enough to have his work accepted as an exhibitor in the Paris Salon. He came to Scotland in 1888, and first took up residence in Aberdeen where he became a teacher in a private school.

After coming to Inverness, he became a naturalised British subject and later married a Miss Vincent of Hingham, Norfolk, the sister-in-law of Clifford Smith, the Classics teacher at the Academy. Delavault had become a Freemason before leaving France and on coming to Inverness was affiliated with St. John’s Lodge, in which he afterwards held office. He was also a member of the Royal Arch Chapter.

Pierre Delavault

Delavault was well liked by his fellow teachers and pupils in the Academy. He did excellent work there and on the annual prize day, the exhibition of paintings and sketches by his pupils were admired by all who visited the school. In later years his sphere of operations were Greyfriars’ Churchyard. considerably extended when he taught large classes of teachers in drawing and French phonetics. He also designed the cover of the school magazine, The Academical.

SHPA

He fully identified himself with the teaching profession and joined the Educational Institute of Scotland where his artistic skill was displayed in the renovation of old and damaged pictures belonging to the Town Council of Inverness, in the execution of portraits of Inverness’s leading citizens, and in the interesting series of coloured paintings of Old Inverness, which he prepared for a book published in 1903 by The Inverness Courier.

Pierre Delavault.

Cottages in the Crown area at the corner of Midmills Road.

Pierre Delavault

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Pierre Delavault

Dunbar’s Hospital on Church Street. It was these works which made him one of the best known and widely admired of all those who came to the Highland capital and made it their home. The coloured prints found their way into the homes of many Invernessians over the years, some of which were reprinted in book form in the late 1960s, and as a series of prints and calendars in the 1980s and 1990s.

Pierre Delavault

Friars’ Street looking towards Friars’ Lane and the Old High Church.

Mandi Munro

Pierre Delavault died tragically young aged 48 on the morning of 10th January 1907 in his home at Braehead in Old Edinburgh Road.

Pierre Delavault (1859-1907) at He had been taken ill during rest in Tomnahurich Cemetery. the autumn of 1906 with a heart condition which, despite medical attention and nursing, proved fatal. He was survived by his wife and child, and his parents who were still living in Paris, and is buried in Tomnahurich Cemetery.

Adrian Harvey For more on Pierre Delavault visit www.lostinverness.co.uk 5


Convenor’s Corner In 1919 the US Navy packed its bags and left the Highlands of Scotland after a stay of almost two years, in which time its presence saw one of the most ambitious and largest maritime operations ever undertaken. This almost forgotten era in local history was largely unknown until recently. Not so now though, as local history groups have conducted much research and location searches to identify what remains of the presence of the American Navy. This information was presented in most interesting form by several groups — Inverness Local History Forum, Alness Heritage Society, Invergordon Museum, Groam House Museum (Rosemarkie) and Petty & Ardersier Community Heritage SCIO — who came together with Highlife Highland, Historic Environment Scotland, and Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH) to present a comprehensive one-day Conference on The Northern Barrage in October 2019.

Adrian Harvey

The Northern Barrage was the 250-mile minefield which the Allied navies created in the North Sea between Orkney and Norway to deter the German U-boats. The Americans utilised 7,000 sailors to convey, assemble and ‘plant’ the mines, and a considerable number of USA suppliers to make the components in extreme secrecy. Once over the Atlantic the partially assembled mines were unloaded by US Navy ratings at Kyle of Lochalsh and shipped by train via the Kyle Line on to Dalmore (Alness) or Corpach (Fort William), and taken by barge up the Caledonian Canal to Muirtown Basin Inverness. At each location, using a distillery already cleared of its product, the mines were fully assembled by the sailors and stored in trainloads ready to go out to the minelayer ships. It would have taken much more than one full day to recount ALL of the history and stories which have been so far uncovered, so the Conference could do no more than give a flavour of the effect of the American presence in the area, and all those who attended went away with far more information than previously.

Particular thanks are due to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Inverness Common Good Fund for their financial support, Inverness Deputy Provost Graham Ross for officially opening the conference, Allan Kilpatrick (HES) for his co-chairing the event and providing such a thought-provoking and informative evening talk, Dr Susan Kruse MBE of ARCH for her chairing and being a prime-mover in the arranging and organisation of the event, Maureen Kenyon (ILHF President), Allan Cameron (ILHF Vice President), Adrian Harvey (ILHF Vice-convenor), Anne MacKintosh and all the other ILHF Committee and members for all their hard work in organising the successful event.

Dave Conner

It is to be hoped that Highland Council will in due course commemorate the achievements of our American friends in some way, perhaps by commissioning a series of information boards/plaques at the various locations used by the US Navy during their work on the Northern Barrage. Yours aye. Dave Conner, ILHF Convenor

Top centre; Co-chair Allan Kilpatrick begins the Evening Lecture, summarising all that had been discussed during the Conference. Above; some of the different group displays. 6

Dave Conner

Inverness Local History Forum wish to express our sincere gratitude to all those who contributed to the Conference by speaking on their local ‘specialist subject’ and who staged excellent exhibitions of photographs and plans, all of which were greatly appreciated by those who attended the Conference, Exhibition or Evening Talk.


Around the Crown

There is so much to discover when walking the dog.

During the Second World War the owner of the Daily Express, Lord Beaverbrook, who was variously Minister for Aircraft Production and later for Supply, put out the call for the public to donate their cast-iron railings for armament production. This national scrap drive saw many sets of iron railings across Britain hack-sawed off at the base; and the stubs may still be seen outside buildings and on top of stone walls where they have never been replaced. However, the collection of aluminium pots, pans and railings to provide scrap metal for munitions during the war was largely a propaganda exercise intended to give civilians a feeling of having contributed to the war effort. It was a public relations exercise rather than any practical use and although metals such as aluminium and copper were indeed scarce and presumably recycled, cast-iron was of little value and vast quantities of decorative ironwork railings were secretly dumped.

Anne MacKintosh

Fading Away

SHPA

An old street name which is slowly disappearing from view is Tanners Lane. Now called Alexander Place, it runs from where Young Street and Tomnahurich Street meet to Ardross Street, directly opposite Inverness Cathedral. The sign is on the corner of MacDonald House.

Forum Archives contribute to the Northern Meeting Park display

Anne MacKintosh

Adrian Harvey

There are many stone walls outside properties in Inverness that never had the railings replaced. Most railings were cut off level with the wall, although the railings outside Provost Hugh Mackenzie’s residence (also once the home of ex-Provost Alexander MacEwen) in Annfield Road retained an even level of the base design along the full length of the wall, and the wall on the corner of Kingsmills and Damfield Road has some irregular length remnants still extant.

Part of the Northern Meeting Park building was open to visitors on Highland Doors Open Days held on Saturday 31st August. A display on the history of the Park presented by the NMP Group featured information and photographs provided by the Inverness Local History Forum and 25 from the Andrew Paterson and Joseph Cook Collections of the SHPA. 7


Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Cook Collection/SHPA

Do you know anyone interested in the local history of Inverness?

Get them to join the Inverness Local History Forum.

Sail into 2020 with the Joseph Cook Old Inverness calendar from the ILHF. Available at the Forum monthly talks or Mailboxes.etc in Church Street.

The forum collects and records the history and stories of Inverness and its people, with an ever-growing series of articles published on Facebook. We hold an Illustrated Talk on the first Wednesday of the month (except January, July, August, and December) in the Spectrum Centre, with speakers covering a range of topics relating to Inverness and the surrounding area. We also publish Inverness Remembered, an informative illustrated newsletter four times a year.

Bring them along to our next scheduled Talk to join.

Identification Parade At right is a wedding party from c1931; however the chap seated at the far right is Compton Mackenzie, author of Whisky Galore and Monarch of the Glen. So who were the happy couple? Below is a woman dressed for a pageant at the Northern Meeting Park in the 1930s.

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Andrew Paterson/SHPA

Subscriptions 2019-2020 If members of the Forum wishing to pay at the regular talks could place their cheque or cash in an envelope with their name and address on the front it will avoid a queue forming at the signing in desk. Your receipt can be picked up at the following meeting. (You can also send a cheque to the office with a note of your name and address.) The membership rates are ÂŁ12 per single person or ÂŁ20 per couple and run from 1st April - 31st March.

The Inverness Remembered Project is a sub-group of the Inverness Local History Forum, Room 2, Spectrum Centre, 1 Margaret Street, Inverness IV1 1SL Email: invernesslocalhistoryforum@gmail.com Inverness Remembered/90 Editor: Adrian Harvey