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The Invergordon Archive

The Promenade and Beach, Invergordon
The Invergordon Archive
The Promenade and Beach, Invergordon

From Catherine:
"This postcard was sent to my grandmother in 1948."
Picture added on 15 February 2005
This is where the only decent bit of sandy beach in the town was.To get to a decent beach we used to have to cycle to Nigg where there was not only the best beach I have ever seen but a hotel which had no problem selling cans of beer to 14 year olds. I fondly remember my first ever tipple here -Youngers Sweetheart Stout. Ah! I can taste it now!
Added by Bill Geddes on 27 December 2005
Hi, can you remember Eric and Marie the hairdresser? About that time we all used to go to the dances together. I was at the RAF base on the Marine craft.
Added by Eric Holton on 09 March 2006
I remember the beach and Invergordon in the year 1947/8; I was in the RAF Marine Craft section there. The camp - a collection of Nissan huts a short walk away - was a place without many comforts, but the warmth and friendliness of the people of Invergordon made up for its shortcomings - the cafe on the corner making up for the ever hungry young man. There is no reason for any one but me to remember my association with the people of Invergordon. Two young people Cathy and Marie are the only people left in my memory, and to them I wish to extend my thanks for their friendliness.
Eric Holton New Zealand.
If anyone can assist my recollections of those years I would be grateful. My E-Mail is:- holtoneo@clear.net.nz
Added by Eric Holton on 01 April 2007
I find it strange that this is dated 1948. The Austin car in the foreground I'm sure was owned by Jimmy Simpson who worked in Taylors garage (when I was an apprentice there). His wife was handicapped and the car fitted with hand controls and regular as clockwork Mrs Simpson would park exactly as the picture shows beside the old swimming Pool. Jimmy's wife's maiden name was Tuach (from Rosskeen).
Added by Duncan Murray on 01 April 2007
Hi Eric. The Marie you refer to could be Marie Mitchell who worked in the hairdressers on the High Street. Marie was very attractive and I believe at one point ahe was the town Beauty Queen. It was probably after your time but at one point my sister Audrey had a boyfriend at the RAF camp. I only remember his surname as "Mutton" which was the source of many jokes in our house. A further connection is that Audrey worked with Marie and believe it or not, now lives near Wellington (my sister that is not Marie!). I remember the RAF guys well and the truck they used to catch to take them to Alness - it was always refereed to as "the Garry" for some reason. If you have a look at picture #922 you can see Marie Mitchell and decide for youself if she is the same person you refer to.
Added by Bill Geddes on 01 April 2007
Bill, I think the RAF chap you are referring to is Brian Mutton. Please give my regards to Audrey. Duncan I'm sure you are right about Jimmy Simpson's car as his wife (nee Tuach) used to come to my Uncle's shop (Dave Mackenzie grocer) on the High Street, and her messages would be brought out to her.
Added by Rosalie Graham now Samaroo on 02 April 2007
Hi Rosalie! Looking at this picture I remember I used to puzzle about the square holes which were at regular intervals along the sea wall here. I always assumed that at some point there must have been iron railings along the beach front, with perhaps the occasional gap where there were concrete steps down to beach level. Does anyone remember if this was the case or maybe have a picture?
Added by Bill Geddes on 03 April 2007
Duncan, I have the Postcard and 1948 is franked over the stamp.
Added by Catherine MacKenzie(nee Clark) on 03 April 2007
Bill, I don't remember any railings but either they were there at one point OR..... The square holes were made IN CASE railings would be put there..... Anyone else know why?
Added by Rosalie Graham now Samaroo on 04 April 2007
Rosealie, I don't recall ever seeing railings on this stretch of promenade, the square holes ...yes ..but no railings. Down the old RAF Pier were the only "Chain Railings" with square post holes that I recall - some still there today in fact.
Added by Duncan Murray on 05 April 2007
Catherine I accept what you say but the car shown closest..Grey Austin A40 Pre Pinan Farina model was I believe only produced for two years: 1952 to 1954. But it could be a case of mistaken identity by me..perhaps someone more knowledgeable on cars could enlighten me?
Added by Duncan Murray on 05 April 2007
Hi Bill, I remember looking at these square holes, my assumption was that it had something to do with drainage? I also recall some on the face of the sea-wall too, just a guess though.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 06 April 2007
I remember the grey car with the white haired, very smart lady that used to park nearly every day in the lay-by opposite my gran's house Viewfirth (now Foxes Hotel). She just used to smile and I always wondered how she never got out. I didn’t realise until Cathie Rose told me many years later that she was disabled.
Added by Liz Adam (Askew) on 07 April 2007
The nearest car is an Austin Cambridge - they were produced from 1954 to 1957.
Anonymous comment added on 07 April 2007
Maybe there was railings there and when war broke out was cut down for war material.
Added by Gordon Will on 11 October 2012
Everyone notices the cars, does no-one notice the wee guy on the sea-wall's edge? Pretty dangerous and the two other people in the picture are totally unaware.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 12 October 2012
You are right Harry but compared to some of the stuff many of us got up to, I'm sure yourself included, under the deck of the middle pier the wee fella was in relatively little danger. If my mother had known about some of the precarious perches and clambering around on the old wooden beams I would have been skinned alive - even myself looking back now it was crazy but wonderful adventure.
Added by Graham MacKenzie on 12 October 2012
Ha, right you are Graham. Yes I am guilty of hanging around under the middle pier. I remember one time there was 3 or more of us swinging along on a pipe and it let go and we were swimming.

Graham I was saddened to hear about Lucille passing away, I still am.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 12 October 2012
This was a lovely stretch of promenade and I remember one or two cars which landed on the beach after being left in the car parks with their hand brakes off...and yes I was so sorry to hear about Lucille, my thoughts to her family.
Added by Liz Taylor nee Askew on 15 October 2012
So sorry to hear of Lucille's passing. She fought a good fight. My thoughts and prayers to all of her family.
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 03 November 2012
My gran lived at Westwoods, Winnie Mauchline, does anyone remember her and her family? I have some great memories of my holidays there.
Added by Suzanne Monteith (Nicol) on 03 November 2012
I remember the Mauchline family well and often was in their home. A lovely family.
Added by Rosalie Graham (Samaroo) on 09 November 2012
Good to hear that someone else has fond memories of my nan's house, thanks for replying.
Added by Suzanne Monteith on 10 November 2012
Message for Suzanne Monteith (Nicol): Suzanne, could you contact me - I grew up in Westwood, know you all very well, been searching for you all for years.
Added by Kate Bell on 13 December 2013
My aunt Janet (Poppy) Tuach did in fact marry Jimmy Simpson but long after 1948 and did park up along what I believe is the Saltburn Road.
Added by Diana (Tuach) Derrick on 05 June 2014
Marie Mitchell trained as a hairdresser at Leslie's on the High Street and the Cathy you remember Eric was Cathy MacDonald. Marie went on to marry John Ross and had a barber shop next to the Caley bar where she worked for many years. Many of the RAF boys went to have their hair cut and sent Christmas cards when they moved on. She had two daughters Lesley and Elaine. Unfortunately in 2001 whilst she was on a cruise she fell ill and died at San Carlo Puerto Rico. She had never had a days illness previous to this and her death came as a huge shock to us and all who knew her. It is suspected she suffered a DVT due to the 10 hr flight required to join up with the ship.
Many people have very fond memories of her and she has left a huge void in our lives. She loved to dance and spoke often about the ones she went to in the Town Hall and various locations in the town. Obviously back in the day when Invergordon was thriving and there was lots to do.
Added by Elaine Maclellan (Ross) on 02 August 2016
Lovely to read all the memories the folks have of the town, seems we had more here then than now. Looking at the picture Westwood (where I was born) had not even been built then. Elaine I can't believe it is that long since your mam passed, missed by many.
Added by Kate Bell (Bell) on 02 August 2016
Fond memories of your Mum both in King George Street at your Grans when Lesley and I were little and as a hairdresser and friend of my parents. Hope all well with you.
Added by Liz Taylor nee Askew on 02 August 2016
Lovely to hear from you Liz, it's been a long time. My father will be 85 on 13th August.
Thank you Kate hope you are well.
Added by Elaine Maclellan (Ross) on 03 August 2016
Kate are you sure Westwood isn't in the photo, I see low houses and beside them what I imagine would be the woods at the hospital field. I walked along as far as our old house a few weeks ago and see the posts are still there on the beach but no benches to sit on until you are at the old swimming pool area. It might be nice having a board there showing the pool and how it was before the bypass with the dockyard etc.
Added by Liz Taylor nee Askew on 03 August 2016
I think that would be a lovely idea Liz. Few remember how it was or remember the lovely town that used to be. The High Street was so wide and bustling with people. So many little shops thriving and in the summer the pavements were awash with holiday makers. The caravan park would be busy and many would be heading to stay at Portmahomack for the Glasgow Fayre. Bill Leslie's shop was a wonder with it's gift shop and the outside stand under the canopy with the buckets and spades. Not forgetting the lovely aroma that wafted from the hairdressers beside it. It certainly used to be a Grand old town to be proud of. My daughter Emma works in the Port Authority building in front of where my grannies house used to stand and if I pick her up I smile to myself at the memories of Lesley and I playing on the patch of sandy beach in front of her office. The navy had been in one time and myself and granny went for a paddle in the sea only to discover when we came out that our feet had turned black with leaked oil and we had a tide mark where the water came up to. After the scrubbing it was off to Etta's shop for a lucky bag or Jock the barbers or Slaters for a cream cookie. Their rolls were the best.
Added by Elaine Maclellan (Ross) on 03 August 2016
How sad to read about Marie Mitchell. The Mitchell family were all lovely people,very friendly and good fun. Jock Mitchell was a truck driver (I think he worked at the bone mill) and he had a cocker spaniel called Rex who loved Jock so much he used to lie under the truck and rush out to guard it if anyone came near.
Added by Bill Geddes on 03 August 2016
Hi Liz, Westwood wasn't built until the '50s. My late brother Hec Bell was born in Invergordon in '54. Then shortly after that mam and dad were allocated a new house in Westwood so would have been late '54 early '55.
Added by Kate Bell on 03 August 2016
Liz, Westwood wasn't built until the '50s, my late brother Hector Bell was born in the town, and shortly after that mam and dad were allocated a new house in Westwood, so I would say about late '54 early '55. Yes we had a busy wee town back then, I loved going into Leslie's on a Saturday, and especially at Christmas, it was like Hamley's to us ha ha. I remember being taken into town for the switching on of the Christmas tree lights. I remember the lovely cream cookies we got from Slaters and getting to go upstairs in Jock the Barbers at Christmas it really was Santa's grotto.
Added by Kate Bell (Bell) on 03 August 2016
Hi Bill I remember your mum going to visit my granny Mrs Mitchell and yes my grandfather was a lorry driver firstly with A Mitchell & Son Alness then with the SAI. Good memory, yes the dog was a cocker spaniel called Rex and not so terribly long ago there was an appeal in the newspaper for news of who Rex the dog was. A railway worker had dug up a glass bottle with a note in it saying that Rex was a much loved pet and the date he had died. He had been buried "down the bank" in front of their house in King George Street where the railway line runs at the bottom of the bank and remarkably all those years later it was discovered. The newspaper reunited us with the note so it was a lovely story. I still have the newspaper article. Before he died my grandfather worked at the security gate at the Invergordon Distillery. He was a lovely man and always good fun. It's nice to hear from someone who remembers him. Thank you for posting your photos of him.
Added by Elaine Maclellan (Ross) on 03 August 2016
Hi Elaine, I remember the Mitchels so well. Jock was my das drinking partner and on saturday nights they would roll home from the British Legion. Jock was smart because he always had a box of chocolates for my mother. She was easily "bought" by chocs and we never saw any sight of them after they were given to her! Rex used to sit beside Jock and if anyone got too near Jock he would let out a growl to warn you to keep your distance. We had the brother of Rex he was called "Laddie" and a very different dug! Marie was quite a beauty and was Invergordon Carnival Queen one year. Her brother Jackie was a very nice bloke I used to hope he would marry my sister! Jock was full of fun, always smiling and laughing a lovely man!
Added by Bill Geddes on 09 August 2016
Hi Elaine your mum was a great hairdresser and you and your family were so hospitable to a lonely island boy. Great memories of you all.
Added by Ruaraidh Nicolson on 21 March 2018
Just had a look at picture #922 and as far as I remember that is not Marie the hairdresser. She cut my hair often enough, and she also lived in the house next door to me (32 High Street).
Added by Eddie Trotter on 28 March 2018
No the lady in the postcard is not Marie Mitchell. I couldn’t say who it is although funnily enough there is an old postcard of Invergordon High Street with The Royal Hotel and my aunt Irene Ross is in it crossing the road.
We lived in 34 High Street so Eddie yes we would have been next door to you. After she closed the shop on King Street mam had a building in the garden where she continued to cut hair for many years. More recently they stayed at 57 High Street next to what used to be The Post Office and my father is still there. He enjoys talking about old times and his memory and knowledge of the town is remarkable but tinged with sadness of course because few of his friends now remain. I'm sure he would like to hear from you Ruaraidh.
Added by Elaine Maclellan (Ross) on 28 March 2018
Ruaraidh it was lovely to hear from you after such a long time since you were in Invergordon and nice of you to remember us all. So sorry to hear about Peggy please pass on my love to her.I let my father and Lesley know but we couldn’t get in contact as your e mail address is invalid . Dad says he would enjoy a chat about old times if you want to e mail me and I ll give you his no.
Added by Elaine Maclellan(Ross) on 17 April 2018
Hi Elaine you can contact me at Rsnicolson@aol.com.Glad to hear your Dad is still switched on and send my regards to Lesley and also your own family.the years have passed so quickly but good memories never fade.
Added by Ruaraidh Nicolson on 18 April 2018
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