The image above shows the Inverness Ragged School’s parade in Station Square sometime prior to 1875. The Ragged Schools were charitable institutions dedicated to the free education of destitute children and, according to one school report from 1852, intended for the very dregs of the community. As you can see, the buildings now occupying the left-hand side of the square have not yet been built.
New offices for Highland Railway were built in 1875, on the opposite side of the station square from the Station Hotel. Inverness architects Matthews and Lawrie provided a classical design with pediment and cornice. On Academy St the facade was recessed with arches between Corinthian columns. Carved decorations included three decorative wheel spoke designs above the windows. The ground floor was let as retail premises.
A memorial was erected in the square in 1893 to commemorate the raising of the 79th Cameron Highlanders. It commemorates the Cameron Highlanders who had died on service abroad since Inverness became the home of the Regiment under the Army Reforms of 1881. Before the modern re-development of the Eastgate, the focal point of Inverness was the Railway Station, where the great majority of visitors to the town arrived. The Provost in 1893 was Alexander Ross, a distinguished architect, and he and the Town Council selected the prominent site for the Memorial in Station Square. The Directors of the Highland Railway gifted the ground. The statue was carved from Portland Stone by the London sculptor Mr George Wade, and local craftsmen made the pedestal and base.
The memorial was unveiled on 14th July 1893 by Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Lord Lieutenant of Inverness-shire, and Chief of Clan Cameron. After Lochiel’s stirring address, the Officer Commanding the Regimental Depot, Major JM Hunt, handed over the Memorial to the Provost and Magistrates ‘into their custody for all time to come’. In 1993, on the Bicentenary of The Cameron Highlanders, the Inverness District Council refurbished the statue. The eroded names were re-carved, and the railings around the Memorial restored.
The square has been used as a focal point for all sorts of occasions from soldiers leaving for and returning from war to Santa arriving in Inverness.
Station Square continues to be used as a portal to Inverness and a gateway to the Highlands.