Image: Highland Photo Archive

Now housed in a large modern building on the outskirts of the city, Inverness Royal Academy began its days in the centre of town. A building was constructed on New Street in 1792 and was in use as a school until 1895 when it was relocated to Midmills Road. New Street later changed its name to Academy Street.

Much of the funding for the school was done through subscriptions, many of which came from the British Caribbean. A Royal Charter was granted to the school in 1793.

Extract from Thomas Gilzean’s cash book in 1792 showing accounts of the Inverness Royal Academy (Image: Highland Archive Centre)

The school offered a good standard of education to those who could pay the fees. As well as the usual classical, literary and scientific subjects that were taught, the school’s prospectus advised that there would be lessons in ‘navigation with lunar observations, architecture, naval, civil and military, practical gunnery, fortifications, perspective and drawing’.

Highland Photo Archive/AOC Archaeology

The academy was located opposite the entrance to the Markets, now the Victorian Market. There are stories told of the women in large crinoline dresses bending over the stalls oblivious to the Academy boys pinning together the skirts of a couple and then running across the cobbles to watch the fun as they tried to disengage from each other.