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The Invergordon Archive

Invergordon Station
The Invergordon Archive
Invergordon Station

A view of the station in days gone by. The old footbridge can be seen in all its glory.
Picture added on 12 May 2004
Comments:
In the fifties there was a paper shop on the South platform.
Added by Bill Geddes on 24 December 2004
I remember the newspaper shop in the station and the lady that ran it was a Macrae, sister of Madge Macrae, do not recall her first name...the station used to be a busy place back then, now I understand it is unmanned, shame, also the old footbridge is no longer there, another shame...
Added by Harry O'neill on 28 December 2004
This looks like around the time that I worked at the station, likely mid fifties....it was kept in a neat and tidy condition as can be seen with the whitewash stripes along the platform....also the gardens on the north side were kept up, red hot pokers, and lupins galore... this was a credit to the men like Jimmy Mackaym, Jimmy Dick, and of course the station master Jimmy Graham whose house can be seen in the background of the station itself.....
Added by Harry O'Neill on 30 December 2004
The footbridge is gone! As for tidiness I think that when I was young a job on the railways was considered to be a good career and as a result I think staff took pride in their work and were regarded as valuable members of the community. My uncle was stationmaster of a small station in Perthshire and I know that competition for the best flower display in the County was intense. My Uncle used to say that Stirling always won the prize because they cheated and bought flowers!
Added by Bill Geddes on 30 December 2004
The station is now derelict looking. Looking up Station Road from the High Street there are no windows and no door. The name of the lady at the newsagents was Joey Macrae.
Added by Catherine MacKenzie(nee Clark) on 21 February 2005
Picture could be dated later than mid fifties??. I say this because the advertising hoardings (Hovis bread etc) have been removed from the bowling club fence at time of pic.
Station master's house on left of pic.
Added by Ronald Stewart on 20 September 2005
I remember the station in 1946 when I was stationed at Invergordon at the RAF Marine Craft Unit - it was neat and tidy. Just outside the station entrance was a piece of land with some goats. There was a particularly large goat which I stroked on the head and he sandwiched my hand between his head and a post breaking my finger. Invergordon was a nice place and the people were friendly. We were billeted at Links camp which was on the hill outside the town on the Wick side. We used to perform the rescue for RAF Station Alness which had Sunderland Flying boats.
Added by Rex Statham on 12 February 2007
Hello Rex, you have confirmed that I was not imagining the goats when I was young! I think they belonged to the town Provost (Mayor) and I used to feed them with paper or anything else I could lay my hands on. A prefabricated Anglican Church was built on the site, I think in the early '50s.
Added by Bill geddes on 13 February 2007
What a nice reminder of how the station used to be. Catherine, you are right, I remember Joey and the little newspaper shop. Bill and Harry, the banks round about were always filled with flowers and the station was always immaculate. It's sad the way the frontage looks now.
Added by Rosalie Graham now Samaroo on 13 February 2007
I have just had another look at this site and I wonder if Links Campis is still there? Also there was a dentist who gave me a filling - his surgery was in a bungalow by the road leading to the camp. I also remember the Royal Hotel and the seaman’s mission near the harbour. We had four German POW's sent to our camp every day and I often treated them to a jug of coffee and a packet of woodbines which was of course unofficial. I have some lovely memories of Invergordon.
Added by Rex Statham on 17 February 2008
Rex, how very interesting. Could you elaborate more on Links Campis, as to its location? - to jog my memory.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 17 February 2008
I too enjoyed this view of the station and recall well the red hot pokers! I also remember Joey Macrae being open for business at the paper stall on Christmas Day even! The land where the goat grazed became the site of the new Roman Catholic church, built when St. Joseph's church tucked away at the back of Taylor's garage fell into disrepair.
Added by Freda Ross on 18 February 2008
Hi Rex, I did not know that there were German POWs in the town but I remember when I was about 13 (1955) there were German workers on local farms. I guess they may have been prisoners who decided to stay? I vaguely remember there being a dentist in one of the bungalows on the Saltburn Road. I don't think his reputation was too good as most people went to dentists in Tain or Dingwall. I avoided all of them! Sadly the Royal Hotel burnt down in the 1960s and was not rebuilt.
Added by Bill Geddes on 18 February 2008
Links Camp was on a hill overlooking the Cromarty Firth. It was probably about half a mile from Invergordon on a side road off what is now the B817. The camp was a collection of wooden and Nissen huts and I think it was at one time accommodation for a Naval Hospital which was nearby. There was a back entrance over some rough ground that led into Invergordon which we were not supposed to use. No officers lived on the Camp, they were accommodated at RAF Alness. The administration for the Marine Craft Section was in what I presumed was a small row of shops overlooking the harbour where the Unit Commander, Squadron Leader Dainty, and his assistant Flying Officer Cook could be located. The workshops were to be found in an old garage or small factory up one of the side streets leading to the harbour. There was also a caravan parked outside the garage where Sgt Tate (an ex Air Gunner) used to make small spare parts on a lathe and a shaper. I do not know much about the Naval Hospital which had been closed before hand as we had to go to R.A.F Alness for medical treatment with the exception of the dentist whose surgery was on the road overlooking the sea shore.
I remember being on a launch looking for some sailors whose boat was lost in a squall and taking part in extinguishing a Sunderland flying boat which was on fire.
Added by Rex Statham on 18 February 2008
The dentist was Ross by name. Are we surprised? The surgery was in his house - one of the Admiralty cottages on Saltburn Road. He struck fear in our hearts as he approached the waiting room walking along the corridor on his wooden leg.
Added by Freda Ross on 18 February 2008
Ross the Dentist stayed in the house known as Duncraggie on Saltburn Road. He had a wooden leg, and the sound of him stamping along the corridor towards the room, which served as a surgery would strike fear into even the bravest. His wife was a very frail looking lady, who used to drive around in a Humber Hawk car accompanied by a bad tempered peke dog, as I remember, she smoked 100s of Du Maurier cigs, as I was a message boy, and had to deliver a couple of packets nearly every night.
Added by Gordon Peterson on 18 February 2008
Further to my last comments the sailors who got drowned were from RNAS Evanton (HMS Fieldfare) who were on a boat-pulling exercise. I think their bodies were washed up a few weeks later. Another event which I remember occurred one Saturday lunch time - a former RAF aircrew sergeant who had a few drinks caused rather a panic when he came out of the Royal Hotel and decided to take a Post Office van for a spin. Of course he did not get very far before he pranged it and was arrested by the local police. Every Saturday we could buy a railway ticket from the RAF admin office and travel to Inverness for 6d (two and a half pence in todays money). There are many other thing which I could tell you about - some very amusing - possibly I will later.
Added by Rex Statham on 18 February 2008
Harry, would I be right in saying that the area where the Invergordon Distillery was constructed was called the "Links"? I seem to recall some old buildings there relating to the RAF in the early fifties or am I getting mixed up? There was another wartime camp but it was up behind Pitmaduthie farm outside Kildary.
Added by Duncan Murray on 18 February 2008
Getting back to the station photo, I think it may be much more recent than 1900. There are no enamel advertisements noticeable and the fencing in the foreground looks modern. White dashes on the platform are also a relatively recent thing? When I was very young the fence on the Cromlet side of the station was made up of vertical railway sleepers. They were covered in ivy. I have a vivid recollection of this as I was passing by one day and the ivy had been cut off the sleepers. Sadly it was nesting time and there was hundreds of baby sparrows fluttering around. I can remember trying to catch as many as I could to take them home with tears pouring down my face. My mother was not happy....
Added by Bill Geddes on 19 February 2008
Commenting on Duncan Murray's remarks he may possibly be right. I obtained a satellite picture and from this I think Links Camp was where what looks like oil storage tanks. At the end of the tanks there are some long shed like buildings at right angle to the shore line and I think that could have been where the entrance to the camp was. There has been so much alteration since I was there in the 1940s it is difficult to determine where things actually were.
Another thing springs to mind was a man who used to have a small motor boat which he operated as a ferry to Cromarty. He used to take us some Wednesday afternoons together with our cycles. We used to cycle to various farms to purchase eggs to take home when going on leave. I remember the cafe which looked over the slip where we used to land - we always purchased tea cake and sandwiches whilst waiting for the ferry back.
Added by Rex Statham on 19 February 2008
Hi Rex and others, there were quite a lot of Nissen huts on the left, if you were coming from Alness, situated between Rosskeen and Invergordon. I seem to recall a story (true?????) of a man walking along the railway line going back to the camp when his foot was severed by a passing train!!!!! Also there was a small garage which was used by the RAF for making small parts, belonging to Mr. Andrews on the corner of Clyde Street and the lane leading to Outram Street which I, as a child used to visit very frequently and pick up the "curly" pieces of metal to play with (what a toy!!)
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 19 February 2008
Duncan, yes you are correct. There were numerous Nissan huts there up until the 1950s. I also think the camp referred to here was just east of the cottage brae around the hospital, but the only back way into Invergordon was in the area that you mention. Perhaps Rex could be more specific as to the location in relation to the hospital.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 19 February 2008
Gordie, is this the same Ross the Dentist that practised in Oakes Villa across from Taylors garage? I somehow am thinking they moved along to the "Villa", perhaps Freda can help on this one as she stayed very close to there.
Added by Duncan Murray on 19 February 2008
Who could forget Ross the Dentist. You used to wait in his waiting room and, like Gord says, you would hear his wooden leg hitting the floor, then the door opening, and him saying "Next" knowing that you were. Then following him down the hall to his surgery at the back of the house with a view of the garden. The first thing you noticed was the old black dentist chair. When you were finished you left the same way with the other waiting patients staring at you in horror. I was usually in pain for two days later.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 20 February 2008
I am sure that Ross the dentist always worked from his house, Duncraggie. The dentist who worked out of Oakes Villa came only for a few days per week from Conon, I think. My! Who would have thought we would all be reminiscing about Ross the dentist's wooden leg 55 years on?!
Added by Freda Ross on 20 February 2008
Duncan, the other Ross the Dentist used to practise in Clyde Street, somewhere near Willie Ross the Butcher, before moving to Oakes Villa, and I think he was Bill Smith the teacher's father-in-law.
Added by Gordon Peterson on 20 February 2008
I can try to tell you where the hospital was although it is difficult without a map but if one stood outside the guard room there was an unmade road opposite and the hospital was at the end of that road, the building could be seen from links camp but as I previously said it was not used any more. If one was to walk along that road and over the rough ground at the side of the camp you could get to Invergordon. Does the name Mckenzie come to mind? Was that the name of the chemist shop or was it a shop that sold grocery which was on the opposite side of the road to the chemist, only further down the main street (going south). Commenting on Rosalie's comment: to get to links camp from Alness one had to go right through Invergorgon and along the road to Saltburn for approx half a mile. That is the best I can tell you. Concerning the demon dentist, I can remember looking out onto the garden and being terrified. A number of RAF men went to him for treatment because there as no service dentist available. I think you have got the right garage, can you remember the WD pattern caravan workshop which was parked outside? Does anyone remember the american cruiser USS Houston paying a visit? We were invited on board and we had the best meal we had for years.
Added by Rex Statham on 20 February 2008
I thought that Ross the dentist had his practise on the corner of King St and Clyde St above Jock the barbers. His wife, if I can remember right, also was a dentist and took over when he had too much to drink.
Anonymous comment added on 20 February 2008
Bill, the wall on the side opposite the station was stone and only changed to sleepers about opposite where the booking office was. By the way, when I took on as porter in 1947/8 most of the site was covered in weeds and brambles and I had the job of clearing it all especially at the tennis court end of the platform. This must be an old picture because between the footbridge and the main office building was the coalshed and a little room where I used to keep all the cleaning kit and the pictures for the big boards which had to be changed regularly. Also there was a waiting room on the North side of the station just about where the bottom left corner is in the picture.
Anonymous comment added on 20 February 2008
Rex - my parents (Alex and Cathy) had the Grocer's shop across the road and down from the Chemists - this was from about 1952 to 1964/65 when Rhind’s moved up into the premises from their shop down in Bank St. It was on the corner of the High St and Bank St, the grocery was on Bank St and the front was a drapery. Today it is the Council Locality Office.
A picture of my father and his younger brother Roddy who ran the Electrical Shop on the High St was posted on this site recently by Roddy's daughter Margaret - it will be in the recent photos.
Added by Graham Mackenzie on 21 February 2008
Yes, reading about Ross the Dentist brought some (not happy) memories back. I was familiar with the impending doom signalled by wooden leg on floorboards. On one occasion, booked in for a filling, I lost my nerve and did a runner! I eventually lost the tooth, but that was preferable to the torture of his 3 revs/minute drill. His surgery was in an Admiralty house on Saltburn Road.
Added by Fraser Dryden on 21 February 2008
Rex, from your recollection of the guard room at a guess I'd say you were about the top of what is now the Cottage Brae. I can recall a sort of dirt track leading towards the hospital up behind what is now Westwood. There was a shortcut (perhaps still there) leading from the top of the Cottage Brae into the town up above Saltburn Road behind the houses from where one had a continuous view of the Firth. This came out at the top of Seabank Road between "Clark the shoe shop" house and Kenny the Piper. The Links Camp was then where the current Distillery is now.
Added by Duncan Murray on 21 February 2008
Hi Rex, yes I think Duncan is correct re the location. Do you remember the war memorial? It would lead the way up to the camp. The only garage I can think of that was near the shore would have been Angelo’s garage located up Ross Lane. The ferry to Cromarty would have been run by a Watson who ran it for years. There are a few pictures of him and his ferry boat on this site.
Bill, re the station: I would put it around 1960 as, like Douglas says, the coal shed is gone and it was still there in ‘58. The white lines on the platform edge were there in the 50s; this I know as it was one of my jobs to keep them clean and visible.

(Thanks Harry, the date of the picture has now been updated - Site Admin.)
Added by Harry O'Neill on 21 February 2008
Gordie, it's coming back now - all the different parts make a clearer picture. Above Jock the Barbers with a Clyde Street entrance, his wife also was a Dentist. They certainly moved to Oakes Villa as I remember my mother going there to Ross the Dentist. Sure you're right about Bill Smith..in fact did he not move into Oakes Villa at one time?
Added by Duncan Murray on 21 February 2008
Hi Rex, Duncan and all. You are right about the location for the camp, Duncan, now that I've had time to picture it. About the dentist, again, Duncan you are right. Ross the dentist is precisely where you describe. Also Rosa Ross was married to Bill Smith.
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 22 February 2008
Hi Duncan and Harry. I cannot really remember the War Memorial but I can remember a monument with water around it in the centre of the road near the police station - was there a pub called the Steps somewhere not far away? There was another pub called the Harbour Bar which we used but mostly our drinking was confined to the Sgt's mess. The garage taken over by the RAF I feel sure was at a corner of a road in Clyde Street. At about 10am every morning we all used to make for the Seaman’s Mission for tea and sandwiches which were usually paste but they also sold those large biscuits which were poplar with the chaps. I never went to the barber in Clyde St, we used to get our hair cut by someone on the camp.
Added by Rex Statham on 22 February 2008
Rex, regarding the grocer's shop also mentioned by Graham. My great uncle David Mackenzie had a grocer's shop almost opposite Ogilvie the Chemist on the High Street and Graham's parent's shop was almost opposite Legge the Chemist also on the High Street but further down towards the Town Hall (the Picture House) Rex, see my comment above, you are right about the location of the garage used by the RAF.
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 23 February 2008
Hi Rosalie (Graham). Many thanks for your reply, I remember the shops in question very well. There was a cottage near the harbour with a little front garden that had a fence and a little wood gate. I am sure there was rather a nice looking young lady who lived there with her parents. Her name if I remember correctly was Christine and she was friendly with a warrant officer - I think his name was Reg Howe although I am not sure. He used to get upset if he thought you made advances in that direction so one kept well clear; I wondered if they ever got married. One never kept in contact when we were posted away and we very rarely ever saw those people again so I would not know. Rex
Added by Rex Statham on 24 February 2008
Rosalie, I remember McKenzie the grocers fine. It was more opposite Tommy Ross’s, with Clark’s shoe shop in the same building and next shop west was Eric Urquhart’s shoe shop. The lane that separates the two buildings escapes me. Today the building that housed the shoe shop and MacKenzie’s is a Somerfield’s supermarket and Urquhart’s shoe shop is a Chemists.
Added by Duncan Murray on 24 February 2008
Rex, Harbour bar must have been the Caley and the Steps must have been the Commercial.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 24 February 2008
Dave MacKenzie was a lovely man! I used to go in his shop with my mother when I was a toddler. He would insist that I sang my party piece "You are my Sunshine". In return I always received a treat, sometimes chocolate biscuits, in those days of rationing, much appreciated. At that time you were served from behind the counter and in front of this were rows of biscuit boxes from which you could buy loose biscuits. I seem to remember there was even a broken biscuit box where you could buy half a pound for 3 pennies (old money). Dave was fond of a dram and was a regular in the Royal Hotel Lounge Bar near his shop. He used to sneak me in there for an occasional lemonade. Before the modern days of child abuse paranoia it was perfectly acceptable for a male adult to be friendly to children. It’s sad that this is no longer possible. There was a woman who served in Dave’s shop who I also liked very much but can't remember her name, does anyone else? Dave lived as a lodger in a house owned by a lady called Emma (I think). The house was on the corner of Munro Street and High Street directly opposite the main Dockyard gate, my family lived behind this house in a but and ben. Another lodger here was Frank(?) who worked in Tommy Ross’s Ironmonger shop. Both Emma and Frank also supplied me with treats - no wonder I was a bit chubby!
Added by Bill Geddes on 26 February 2008
Hi Duncan, it's always good to see your comments on this site. You are right about Dave's shop. I remember he and Tommy and Nonnie always used to meet each other for a chat (usually at Nonnie's). Good old days. I remember your mother well. I used to deliver her messages when I worked as a message girl for the Co-op. I can't believe how many years ago that was. Certainly before I was an ice cream girl at the picture house !!!
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 26 February 2008
Hi Folks. Can anyone remember the severe winter 1946/47? I would be delighted to have your comments concerning that. Rex.
Added by Rex Statham on 26 February 2008
Sorry Folks, I had a senior moment, the winter in question was 1947/48, not 46/47. Rex
Added by Rex Statham on 26 February 2008
Hi Bill, there were three women that I know of who worked in Dave's shop ......Isobel Murchison who worked in the office, Jessie Moir (wife of Davie), and oh I can't remember her name, she was from Alness and is the wife of "John the Chip". Rex, your entries have really stirred the memories of we Invergordonians. Maybe Douglas knows of "Christine" who lived in the cottage. As for the winter of 1947, well, that was really a bad one. I remember opening the front door of my Granny's house to be met with a "door" of snow which we had to push through before we could venture out. The school was closed and the winter seemed to last forever, not that we children minded but it must have been an awful strain on parents as there were a lot of shortages.
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 27 February 2008
Hi Rosalie. That particular winter most of us were sent home on indefinite leave when the fuel ran short because of the difficulty of keeping the camp heated and serviced. I think there was only a care and maintenance party remaining who occupied the guard room. I can remember before leaving most of us were given shovels, pieces of board or anything that could move the snow from the huts etc. I was on leave for a few weeks and my pay sent by cheque. Eventually I received a telegram to return to Invergordon. Rex
Added by Rex Statham on 28 February 2008
Hello Folks, unfortunately I clicked onto thing. Please keep sending me your e-mails - I really enjoy them.
Rex
Added by Rex Statham on 03 March 2008
Hi Rosalie, I think John the chippies wife was Jenny Beaton. Does anyone remember Gabriel the old Jew who had a shop on High Street? I remember he sold little round blocks of ice cream wrapped in a sort of cardboard(?). Was it Lyons ice cream? Regards to your sister Jeanette.
Added by Christine MacKay (nee White) on 09 March 2008
Hi Christine, you are right, it was Jenny Beaton who worked at Dave's shop. I remember Gabriel's well. I think it was Lyons ice cream that he sold. The smell of cigar smoke just hit you as you walked into the shop. It's good to hear from you on this site. I will pass on your regards to Janette. I am going to see her and Hec and family in the summer, when I come home.
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 10 March 2008
Christine, Gabriel is discussed elsewhere on the site. It was Lyons ice cream, generally considered to be better than Walls or Eldorado (The other two major brands at that time, the latter was sold in the Picturehouse.) I think the little round ice creams were designed to fit into special cones which Gabriel never had. Do you remember the pungent smell of cigars in his shop? It would be interesting to know what his history was and how he ended up in Invergordon. I seem to remember he had a strong East-european/Jewish accent, so he must have come a long way to Ross-Shire!
Added by Bill Geddes on 10 March 2008
My strongest memory of Gabriel's shop is the fragrance of his cigar smoke. I also remember the ice cream but had fogotten about the wrapping. Another source of delicious ice cream was the window of a Polish family's house on High St., opposite Taylor's house/garage - but that was only served through the window on the warm days of summer which were not very numerous. The husband in that family was an expert at French polishing. We were very fortunate to grow up with people of such different backgrounds - Mr. Appel the jeweller, the Polish chimney sweep in Saltburn, the Krefta family encouraging their chickens with radio music to lay better......
Added by Freda Ross on 10 March 2008
Hi Rosalie. I remember Gabriel who had a shop in the High Street. The RAF chaps used to laugh about him because we always said there was a lot of competition with him and the other shop keepers. If I remember correctly he used to open for business on Sunday. Please forgive me I clicked onto the wrong thing again. I must get some new specs but, at 85, mistakes become frequent. Please keep sending me E-Mails, apologise for for any annoyance caused. Rex
Added by Rex Statham on 10 March 2008
Hi Christine, yes Gabriel is well remembered and has been mentioned on this site. The most remembered thing about him was his thick glasses, and the Bentley that he drove. He actually used to bite the coins to make sure they were real.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 10 March 2008
Talking about cold winters, I can vaguely remember ice floes floating in the sea by the old slipway. Cannot remember the year, maybe somebody else can remember them.
Added by Doug Will on 10 March 2008
Looking at the picture of the station what is the building just to the right behind the stationmasters house? It is just about there that there was a tall chimney with a large boiler beside it. I think it may have been a sawmill or something like that. I can remember that is was still there in 1950/51.
Added by Doug Will on 10 March 2008
You have a great memory, Rosalie, I see you writing lots of things here. It is a wonderful site.
Bill Geddes, give my regards to your sister, I hope she remembers me - I remember you as a little boy! Don't know much about Gabriel although I can still almost taste these ice creams! Yes, the cigar smell was a bit strong, I was always a little bit afraid of him but the lure of the ice cream overcame that.
Added by Christine MacKay (nee White) on 11 March 2008
Hi Rosalie. The more E-Mails I read the more memories come back. As I said in my previous E-Mail I remember Gabriel with his accent (we always said he was the one that escaped), also the musky smell in the shop, I cannot however remember a woman there. I well remember the chemist shop, I purchased teeth whitening sticks from there - these were all the rage with us RAF chaps, in fact I was in the attic a short time ago looking in a box of bits and pieces: there was a piece of one of these sticks together with my old RAF cap and badge. If my memory is correct they used to say the chemist was a bit funny. I cannot remember a cinema in Invergordon, we went to Inverness at the weekends for such entertainments. In Inverness we used to go to a dance hall which was on a road alongside the river (I believe there was a castle not far away from there if my memory is correct); also there was a shop converted into a forces canteen on the road near the bridge over the river where we could have some food. I really enjoy reading peoples comments, keep them coming.
Rex
Added by Rex Statham on 12 March 2008
Christine, I'm still a little boy! (but with a bald patch). I will be in touch with Audrey soon so will remind her. Freda, you are spot on about the people who came from afar to live in Inverg. They gave an added interest to life and seemed a bit exotic. Having lived in London for many years you become blase about foreigners; your comments remind us all of how life can be enriched by newcomers.
Added by Bill Geddes on 12 March 2008
Rex, the cinema was next door to the post office; at times they used to hold dances there. The pub in Inverness was one of my drinking spots when I was stationed in Cameron Barracks before joining the Argylls in Hong Kong (1951).
Added by Doug Will on 12 March 2008
Freda, I remember the ice cream from the house opposite Taylor's garage, but wasn't that the house belonging to the Stevens (or Stephenson) family? I think one of the sons married Seonaid Macdonald. That was good ice cream too.
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 12 March 2008
Rex, the Inverness dance hall would have been the ballroom of the Caledonian Hotel. I used to go there regularly in the 60s when I lived in Inverness. The Ballroom was at the back of the hotel facing the river with a car park in front of it. It's probably still there. The other Inverness dance hall was a short distance away: "The Northern Meeting Rooms". This was a more historic building, sadly swept away in development sometime in the 70s.
Added by Bill Geddes on 13 March 2008
Rosalie, what was the name of the tearoom cafe opposite Taylors garage? I've got a vague recollection of the Son who was called George???
Added by Doug Will on 13 March 2008
Hi Doug. Yes, I remembered the cinema once you mentioned the Post Office; on reflection I have been there although I never went there dancing. Also some nights it was closed was it not?
On to something else - am I right in saying there was a hotel in Inverness called the Caledonian? I am sure sometimes we used to go to their bar on Saturdays before we caught the train back to Inverg. Having been a railway enthuast since I was a boy, one Saturday night I got talking to the driver of the train (as I frequently did) and managed to get a footplate ride back. It was an experience I will never forget. I looked for that driver many times afterwards but I was never lucky enough to see him. There was a gun shop in Inverness not far from the station - the window display was fascinating, all sorts of guns - I always had a look in that window. I think there was a tea room over that shop or somewhere near because if I went to Glasgow for a long weekend I had tea there before catching the train.
Added by Rex Statham on 13 March 2008
Rex - There was a tearoom upstairs which was called Burnetts where you got lovely afternoon teas. The other restaurant near the Station was The Carlton and was run by two sisters. You got brilliant meals there, their steaks and mixed grills were particular favourites.
Added by Christine MacKay (nee White) on 13 March 2008
Rex, yes there was a hotel called the Caledonian. You were lucky getting a footplate ride back to Inverg. I worked on the railway and it took me ages before they would let me on the footplate.
Added by Doug Will on 13 March 2008
Hi Doug. I know this was a long time ago so it's possible I may be a little confused but if the Caledonion was near the river, what was the name of the bar where we used to go prior to returning to Inverg - this was near Inverness Station? Nice to hear from an former railway man, my father and his brother were footplate men starting as cleaners and working their way up. My dad was with the Midland Railway, later the LMS. His brother who lived in Ilford was an LNER man. The rivalry was fantastic. Rex
Added by Rex Statham on 14 March 2008
Hi Doug, with the help of my family, I can say that the wee teashop opposite Taylor's Garage was owned by Stevie Mackenzie who used to be a bus driver. One of his sons was called George and another was called Steve who was married to the late Seonaid Macdonald. Freda, contrary to my previous comment, Stevie also sold ice cream from the window of his teashop.
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 14 March 2008
Hi Christine, many thanks for your reply. I would think it must have been Burnetts, I guess that's where I got the taste for toasted tea cakes which were like a large fruit bun served hot and spread with butter. The people in that part of Scotland looked after us RAF chaps well during those difficult times.
Added by Rex Statham on 15 March 2008
Rex, there were several bars in the old Eastgate which was near the station. There was the Crown, the Plough, the Albert, and the Lochgorm. They were all demolished to make room for new developments.
Added by Catherine MacKenzie (nee Clark) on 15 March 2008
Hi Rosalie, remember my Granny taking us youngsters on bus trips and Stevie was always the bus driver. Seem to think he had quite thick glasses.
Anonymous comment added on 15 March 2008
Hi Rex, sorry but I cannot remember the name of the bar, maybe one of the others can tell you. I was a porter signalman on the railway - was in the process of starting my exams etc but was called up on National Service and I'm afraid I never went back and ended up signing on for 22 with the army.
Added by Doug Will on 15 March 2008
Thank you for that about George Mackenzie. I used to pal about with him. Can vaguely remember the ice cream thing - think it was one of these Lyons boxes with the dry ice stuff in it to keep the ice cream cool.
Added by Doug Will on 15 March 2008
Inverness is intruding a bit but I can't resist advising that the bar directly across Academy Street from the station was the "Imperial". I have good reason to remember as a night here when I was 15 nearly had me kicked out of my digs. Inverness is a good deal bigger than it used to be but the centre is largely unchanged apart from the Eastgate area which has been substantially redeveloped. I think the tea room was "Stewarts". It was upstairs at the pointed end of a triangular block of buildings and just over the road from the Playhouse cinema. The cafe had large stained glass windows and was very popular for high tea.
Added by Bill Geddes on 16 March 2008
Hi Folks. Here is a bit of nostalgia about Inverg. Does anyone remember the boat that used to check the mooring buoys in the Cromarty Firth? I have an idea that it was possibly an old Naval pinnace. It had a civilian crew of about four men and its purpose was to lift those large mooring buoys with derrick bringing them back to the jetty for painting and removal of barnacles etc. Those men were - heroes they worked in all types weather clad in oilskins. When the buoys were being lifted the boat was almost down to the gunnel, how they were not swamped is a mystery. They were not young men (they may have been Naval pensioners) but their seamanship was of the highest standards - we all took out hats off to them. I would think these days Health and Safety would never permit this sort of activity.
Added by Rex Statham on 16 March 2008
When Stevie Mackenzie had the cafe opposite Taylors garage I think it was called the Cosy corner cafe. I knew the daughter Shirley Mackenzie. I remember taking a bowl to get the ice cream and even although I lived quite close by the time I got home it had near enough melted.

Added by Janet Shoosmith nee Macpherson on 16 March 2008
Rex, working on the buoy boat was a dangerous job. I can remember an accident where the cable snapped and cut one of the crew in half; this would be later though early 50s.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 17 March 2008
Hello Rex. Think you might be getting the old harbour launch and the mooring boats mixed up. The boat that used to pick up the buoys was I believe the Moorflower, one of a group of the same name. She was equiped with a frame on the bow for lifting the buoys, also a large crane (for her size anyway), also she had diving capability as well. These boats made regular calls to Invergordon. I think there is actually a photograph of the center pier with one of them alongside, but I can't find it just now. Don't want to comment on the age of the guys on the harbour launch, suffice to say, they were younger than I am now, but back when I helped out they seemed a lot older.
Added by Eddie.trotter@shell.com on 17 March 2008
Hi Eddy, have we got the same vessel? I am talking about 1946-48 time, this boat was a semi diesel and the engine man used to warm up the cylinder with a large blow playing into a bowl on the cylinderhead. If I remember correctly it had a single funnel . I well remember the state of some of the buoys covered in mussels which they scraped off. Did they use a blow lamp for doing this? I cannot remember. I did not know she had diving equipment but thinking about it if she did not how would they have been able to unshackel the bouys for lifting. Love to see one of the pictures. Did these men live in Inverg.?
Look forward to your comments.
Added by Rex Statham on 18 March 2008
Thank you for that Eddie. I also remember the mooring boats with the frame on the bows. In actual fact they were also used to lift the crashed seaplanes and take them in and drop them at the end of the ferry slip where they were then dragged up and cut up for salvage.
Added by Doug Will on 18 March 2008
Yes, I remember these mooring boats - was there one called the 'Moorland'? I particularly remember getting a trip out on the pilot boat to meet her, and once aboard the skipper asked me if I wanted to take the wheel and dock the boat. I seem to remember that I did, and was mightily relieved when the skipper/pilot took over and brought us in. That must have been late 50s, and I don't think current H & S Regulations would allow this today!
Added by Fraser Dryden on 19 March 2008
Hi Doug. Further to your E-Mail, all the time I was a Inverg I can never remember a Sunderland flying boat crashing although there must have been. Do you remember the fire trials which were carried out? At one stage things got a bit out of hand and we thought the flying boat would blow up taking us with it. The whole exercise took much longer than anticipated and it was, to my knowledge, never repeated. The Sunderland was struck off charge before the exercise began and it was later towed to the slip and cut up. The whole thing was watched by two high ranking R.A.F officers from launch; also pictures were taken of the event. Has anyone got any of them? Rex
Added by Rex Statham. on 25 March 2008
Rex, I can remember at least two or three Sunderlands crashing, one burst into flames and burnt down to the water line. I can remember the remains of the plane being taken in to the beach by the slipway where it was cut up. Can also remember when a Sunderland landed in the water on the inside of the deep water marker and hit a sandbank which was very fortunate as otherwise it would have either hit the ferry slip or the 1st pier (RAF pier). Nobody was killed but I bet there were some very shocked aircrew. There was also a Sunderland which took off with, I think, the radio operator hanging on to the tail-plane. He had been out adjusting the aerial. Can you remember the Lerwick seaplanes? They were always crashing and they kept the air-sea rescue boys busy. Our house was on the shore front and every time a seaplane took off the house would shake and ornaments would dance over the sideboard. One morning we woke up to a scraping noise from the shore side of the house and when we looked out there was a Sunderland floating in on the tide and rubbing along the seawall. It had broken its mooring and just drifted in.
Added by Doug Will on 27 March 2008
Hi Doug. Yes I can remember the Lerwick's. I can remember they had a large canvas curtain behind the pilot and these curtains were much sort after by our chaps for making holdalls etc. Come to think I can remember a Sunderland bursting into flames although I did not take part in that particular rescue. I have on a few occasions been involved when F/Bs had broken away - that could be tricky especially at night. It was not at all pleasing to get called out in the middle of the night, when a gale was blowing and maybe rain was pouring down, to collect one of those F/Bs or one of our boats which had come adrift. I am off the air for a week but there are other things I will tell you about later.
Rex
Added by Rex Statham. on 28 March 2008
The RAF camp at Invergordon was where the distillery is now. When I was little we used to walk around there every Sunday with parents and over the level crossing to Mackenzie Blackpark's farm and along the road past the tip onto what is now the Academy road. Sometimes because there were only two trains a day we walked along the railway lines.
Added by Liz Askew on 09 May 2008
Rex, can you remember the offices or control tower which was between the first pier (RAF Pier) and the ferry slip? Behind that they had a repair shop for the smaller boats, also the small boats that had lights on them for the flare paths. One of the men down there made a model of a Sunderland in brass for my younger brother Leslie who sadly died just after getting the model. I still have the plane yet pretty heavy but missing the floats but otherwise in good order.
Anonymous comment added on 10 May 2008
Hello, yes there was control tower by the first pier but that was off limits to us. I can remember the small pram dinghies which marked the flare path, although I did not have a lot to do with these. I well remember when a Sunderland used to take off we would be about half way along the flare path going flat out so that when the aircraft eventually lifted off we were hopefully clear of the wash. When the reverse took place one usually got a bumpy ride. The boat used mostly for this job was known as the crash boat and was a Power 100 launch. It was a lovely launch powered by two meadows 8-28s engines. She carried crash equipment including fire extinguishers, axes etc. If for any reason it was unavailable a GP pinnace was used which was slower but again a beautiful boat. Did any one ever come across the Trawler H.M.A.F.V Adastra? - this was moored alongside the middle pier. I went onboard her a couple of times.
Added by Rex Statham on 11 May 2008
Hello, I do like image 280, one can get a glimpse of the roadway to the station and the spare ground where the goats were kept. I recall during 1947 I took a box that I wanted to send home to Luton to the station but because this wood box was rather large I had a furious argument with the station master/porter. He did eventually accept it. I think a few of our lads had dust ups with him at various times. I was looking through some of your other images and I certainly remembered the chemist from the picture. Rex
Added by Rex Statham on 12 May 2008
Reg, if I can remember right there was more than one trawler that used the middle pier. I can remember going down there one Sunday selling papers and one of the crew asked me if I wanted a fish to take home. Of course I replied yes and he gave me the biggest cod I have ever seen and told me: you want it you carry it. I managed to get it off the trawler and once on the pier I hauled it over my shoulder and dragged it up King St to our house on Outram Street and gave it to my mum. It was a very welcome extra food supply but by the time it was eating we were gie sick of fish as you can imagine.
Added by Doug Will on 12 May 2008
Hi Doug, as I have said the trawler which flew the RAF ensign was named Adastra; the skipper was Flt/Lt Hogarth (or Hogart). The vessel was kept in light steam so it could put to sea in about an hour. It's purpose among other things was to recover torpedoes used by training aircraft which would float nose up when their fuel was spent. These torpedoes had their nose ends painted red to make then easily visible. I do not know if the skipper lived on board but most times he could be found in the Royal Hotel. I went on board once or twice but, other than looking at the engine, visiting the boiler room, also the galley for a cuppa and chatting to a crew member, I cannot remember much else about it.
Added by Rex Statham on 13 May 2008
I understand from family history that my great uncle was the station master at Invergordon and lived in the station house - this was William Beange 1853 to 1933.
A very important job I am told. My father stayed with his uncle at the station when he was a child and always had happy memories.
Added by Mandi Stewart on 11 April 2009
Hello Folks. Has anyone got any pictures of the present day station at Invergordon. I would be interested in seeing them? When I was at Invergordon, the station was reasonably busy and well kept. At the weekends for the price of 6 pence (6d old money) you could buy a forces-only return ticket to Inverness.
Added by Rex Statham. on 12 April 2009
Rex, the station is now part of the Mural trail that Invergordon has; it depicts the Seaforth Highlanders (I think) and is actualy a great piece of artwork. I thought there was a photo on the site but can't seem to find one. I have a couple of photos that I keep meaning to send in - if I get the chance I'll take a couple of pics and send them in.

(The picture of one of the station murals is shown at picture #1134 - Site Admin.)
Added by Jillian B on 14 April 2009
Rex, try this link, you will find some more pics on here.
www.invergordonoffthewall.co.uk/image-library/index.asp
Added by Peter Legge on 14 April 2009
Casting my mind back to the trawlers, these in actual fact were converted into minesweepers and had an old 6lbr gun mounted on the bow area. Most of them were fitted with what I take to be something like a barrel fixed over the bow most probably for magnetic mines. Can anyone remember the troopships docking at the middle pier and loading up with troops from the camps outside Invergordon? They used to make a right racket marching down King Street with their army boots crunching on the cobble stones.
Added by Doug Will on 15 April 2009
Hi Jillian. The mural of the Highlanders is good. Is this outside the station or on one of the platform walls? It certainly makes a difference to what normally is a drab setting.
Please inform Peter Legge so far I did not have much success with the the site he mentioned - I'll try again.

(Rex, the site is at www.invergordonoffthewall.co.uk - At the front page select 'Murals' in the left hand column, and then choose 'The Long Goodbye' at the bottom of the list. - Site Admin.)
Added by Rex Statham on 16 April 2009
I was reading Doug's article about converted trawlers. A friend of mine was on minesweeping trawlers - I will be seeing him within the next few days and maybe he will be able to tell us something about the fixture placed on the bow of these vessels. I still have not had a lot of success with ‘invergordonoff the wall’. Will keep trying.
Added by Rex Statham on 17 April 2009
Hi Peter & Jillian. Pleased to say I cracked it and got the pictures of the murals. I think they are really good. I especially like the one of the tug of war. They're certainly a credit to the painters. Many thanks for your assistance. Well done to all who gave their time and effort.
Added by Rex Statham on 17 April 2009
Hi Doug. Regarding your query about the mine-sweeping trawlers, the barrel like object fixed to the bow was a hammer box used to explode acoustic mines in front of the vessel by causing a noise more loud than the vessels propeller. Not all trawlers were fitted with this device but it is said those that were were usually in front of a sweep.
Added by Rex Statham. on 20 April 2009
Thanks for that Rex. Thought it was something to do with acoustics but wasn't very sure.
Added by Doug Will on 21 April 2009
Just thought I would put something in here. I used to live at station house in the late '80s. I was the child of Mike and Jill Jackson and the grandson of Thelma Haile who still lives in Inverfordon. I have not been back there for about 20 years.
Added by Dean Jackson on 22 April 2010
The picture of the station does bring back memories - leaving the station walking up the wide road to Links camp carrying my kit because there was no transport available. Believe me it was quite a long walk. I also remember the unfriendly goat in the field outside the station which caused me some distress when I tried to stroke it. A fried of mine and his wife visited Invergordon last autumn whilst on a cruise around the British Isles. They thought it was a nice little town.
Added by Rex Statham on 22 April 2010
I note from one of the comments that the station at Invergordon is boarded up and in a sorry state. The line to Wick is still open I presume?
May I say that despite being a long way away I follow Ross County. I had a friend in Luton whose son was a bank manager in Dingwall and he was most surprised when I told him I knew that town.
Added by Rex Statham on 23 April 2010
Ah Rex, we Invergordonians (or from Dingwall) are everywhere. I had to attend a Speed Awarenes 4 hour course (which meant that I wouldn't get a ticket - oops!) and the man taking the course was from Muir of Ord. Good for you for following Ross County!!!!
Added by Rosalie Graham (Samaroo) on 23 April 2010
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