INVERNESS – CAPITAL OF THE HIGHLANDS
The former royal burgh of Inverness lies close to the mouth of the River Ness at its confluence with the Moray Firth. Developing on the east bank of the river at successive crossing points, it was situated at a junction of major early routes: north to Dingwall, Sutherland and Caithness, east to Nairn, Forres, Elgin and Aberdeen, southeast to Perth, southwest to Loch Ness and the Great Glen and west to Skye. This junction was dominated by the royal castle on a hill at the southern end of the burgh.
The medieval burgh was founded by David I and in 1179 William the Lion commissioned a moat or ‘fosse’ around the burgh. To the northeast this followed the present line of Academy Street. Initially laid out in 1758, Academy Street was known as New Street until the construction of the Inverness Royal Academy in 1792.
The coming of the railway to Inverness in 1855 changed the face of Inverness with Station Square on Academy Street becoming a focal point in the town. There was much development in the area including the construction of the railway’s own offices and the Station Hotel along with other hotels, shops and offices being established near the station. It was also at this time that Union Street, running from Academy Street through to Church Street, was created.
A large number of warehouses were built in the nearby Eastgate area to house dry goods and groceries; livestock markets were also located here, and the Falcon Foundry was established close to the railway so that its goods could be moved by rail.
Over the years, the street has played host to schools, churches, theatres and cinemas, pubs and hotels and a variety of businesses all with a story to tell.