Inverness traders are getting a rare glimpse into the historic origins of their businesses to mark the regeneration of one of the city’s busiest streets.
Businesses along Academy Street are being presented with signature line drawings depicting how their buildings would have appeared 101 years ago.
More than 40 drawings have now been printed, mounted and framed by the Inverness Townscape Heritage Project (ITHP) to mark the final stage of restoration works on the bustling street.
It is hoped the drawings will leave a lasting legacy for each operational business on how their building looked over a century ago.
Rich craftsmanship of Academy Street
The drawings were created by Gordon Lynn, a civil engineer who painstakingly researched the buildings through photographs and resources held by organisations including the Highland Photographic Archive and Am Baile.
Mr Lynn said: “Inverness Townscape Heritage Project and the businesses and building owners on Academy Street have done some great restoration and conservation work over the past few years. And it’s been an honour that my drawings have been some part of that.
“I hope the drawings will continue to serve as reminders of the craftsmanship of the buildings and the rich and interesting history of Academy Street for a long time to come.”
Origins of city centre businesses
Research found Coyote’s at 21 Academy Street was formally a music saloon.
David Brown, owner of Coyote’s, said he was delighted to learn the history of his city centre business.
He said: “It’s really special to be presented with Gordon Lynn’s drawing of our building and learn some of its history, including that it was once a music saloon! Thank you to Inverness Townscape Heritage Project and Gordon Lynn for this reminder of our building’s past.”
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Meanwhile, nearby Craigdon Mountain Sport was home to a grocers and wine merchants.
Owner Colin Lyon is thrilled to be able to honour the previous occupiers of the city centre premises.
“It’s lovely to have this piece of history for our shop at 25 Academy Street,” he said.
“The building was once home to Mitchell & Craig Grocers and Wine Merchants, so it’s nice to be able to honour them and other previous occupiers with Gordon Lynn’s drawings.”
Inverness Townscape Heritage Project (ITHP)
The six-year multi-million project on Academy Street drew to a close in March.
A total of £1.75 million in grant funding was awarded to support the major city centre development.
Several buildings including Blackfriars Bar and the former Rose Street Foundry were renovated and brought back into use as stonework was lovingly spruced up.
Sarah James-Gaukroger, ITHP assistant project officer, presented the drawings alongside artist Gordon Lynn and Alison Tanner.
She said: “I’m thrilled that we have been able to present these wonderful drawings to the businesses on Academy Street.
“Gordon Lynn’s work has been a great asset to our work as Inverness Townscape Heritage Project, as we set about restoring and preserving the history and heritage of Academy Street.
“Being able to gift these drawings is a very special way to end the project.”