The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

High spir­its for land­mark restora­tion,

Over £900k grant will help ren­o­vate for­mer city’ s foundry of­fices

- BY ALIS­TAIR MUNRO Arts · Inverness · Tonga · Iceland · Austria · United Kingdom · English Channel · France · Belgium · Manchester City Football Club · Architecture

A land­mark build­ing in In­ver­ness – which played a key role in winning World War II and un­til re­cently was on the brink of de­mo­li­tion – has re­ceived a near£1 mil­lion fund­ing boost to help its trans­for­ma­tion into a pub and restaurant re­de­vel­op­ment.

It is 125 years since 96 Academy Street was built, orig­i­nally the flag­ship head of­fice of the once-fa­mous Rose Street Foundry and En­gi­neer­ing Com­pany.

“Turn it into a pub and restaurant, fully restor­ing its fabric”

It was at the fore­front of help­ing en­gi­neer the UK rail­way in­dus­try in the 19th cen­tury, but it was dur­ing World War II the ded­i­cated work­ers came to the fore, help­ing con­struct pipelines un­der the English Chan­nel to France as part of Op­er­a­tion Pluto, feed­ing much­needed fuel to al­lied troops, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the DDay Land­ings of 1944.

In the 1960s the build­ing passed to AI Welders. When the firm moved in 1988 the ground floor op­er­ated as sev­eral pubs – in­clud­ing Deano’s – but the vacant up­per floors were left to be­come derelict.

The In­ver­ness Town­scape Her­itage Pro­ject yes­ter­day an­nounced a grant award of £960,000 to­wards the costs of the full restora­tion.

The B-listed prop­erty is now owned by Cairn­gorm Tav­erns, and they have am­bi­tious plans to turn it into a pub and restaurant, fully restor­ing its fabric and her­itage, in­clud­ing unique dec­o­ra­tive mo­saics which de­pict foundry men at work.

Their pro­pos­als will bring all floor space back into use and pro­vide a show­case in the city for Cairn­gorm and Loch Ness Brew­eries.

The devel­op­ment rep­re­sents the first ma­jor in­vest­ment by the Town­scape Her­itage (TH) Pro­ject, a part­ner­ship re­gen­er­a­tion pro­ject fo­cus­ing on Academy Street.

Chair­man and In­ver­ness coun­cil­lor Richard Laird said: “We are de­lighted that Cairn­gorm Tav­erns are com­mit­ted to the restora­tion and use of this his­toric build­ing, and they are to be com­mended for their commercial vi­sion to un­der­take this ma­jor devel­op­ment.

“This pro­ject alone brings over £2 mil­lion of wel­come in­vest­ment, and will give a big boost to the re­gen­er­a­tion of Academy Street.”

Coun­cil­lor Jimmy Gray, chair­man of In­ver­ness City Her­itage Trust, fondly re­mem­bers the his­tory of the build­ing, which has also been the base for a pow­er­ful en­gi­neer­ing union of which he was once con­vener.

He said: “The AI Welders Build­ing is one of the most im­por­tant build­ings for lo­cal res­i­dents in In­ver­ness.

“It is a pop­u­lar her­itage land­mark for In­ver­ness lo­cals, many of whom have strong con­nec­tions with it.

“As the cur­rent build­ing con­di­tion con­tin­ues to de­te­ri­o­rate, it has been a ma­jor devel­op­ment ob­jec­tive for ICHT.”

 ??  ??
 ?? Pho­to­graphs by Sandy McCook ?? AM­BI­TIOUS: Ar­chi­tect Neil Sutherland with Cairn­gorm Brew­ery’s Sa­man­tha Fair­cliff.
Pho­to­graphs by Sandy McCook AM­BI­TIOUS: Ar­chi­tect Neil Sutherland with Cairn­gorm Brew­ery’s Sa­man­tha Fair­cliff.
 ??  ?? AI Welders’ Sam Hunter Gordon, left, and Jim Sin­clair, right, with cabi­net min­ster Stafford Cripps, cen­tre
AI Welders’ Sam Hunter Gordon, left, and Jim Sin­clair, right, with cabi­net min­ster Stafford Cripps, cen­tre
 ??  ?? De­bris covers the floors in­side the derelict build­ing
De­bris covers the floors in­side the derelict build­ing
 ??  ?? An ad­vert for AI Welders from a post-war mag­a­zine
An ad­vert for AI Welders from a post-war mag­a­zine

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK