Provost helps unwrap Town House
More photos (by Ewen Weatherspoon)
Marking the completion of phase two works on the Inverness Town House, Provost and Leader of Inverness and Area Cllr Helen Carmichael, today (Tuesday 29 August 2017) gave a helping hand to unwrap the historic Grade A listed building.
Provost Carmichael said: “The Town House renovations works are on time and under budget. The cost for Phase 1 and 2 will be £3.9m which is £300k under the budget figure.”
The Inverness Common Good Fund owns Inverness Town House. The refurbishment works being funded by the Inverness Common Good Fund and Historic Environment Scotland are being carried out by Laing Traditional Masonry.
Provost Carmichael added: “I am absolutely thrilled to once again witness the excellent progress that is being made on this flagship project that will secure the future of Inverness Town House for generations to come.
“Last October I was privileged to meet to some of the young apprentices working with Laing Traditional Masonry, and to witness up close the excellent workmanship and skill that is transforming this beautiful building. Today I am again delighted to be here giving a helping hand to remove the wrap from the front of the Town House and I am looking forward to seeing the result once the scaffolding is removed and everything is tidied up. I am certain that it will be worth the wait.”
Provost Carmichael before the wrap is removed
She added: “Works will continue on the Town House up its Castle Street side on the final and third phase.”
The Town House phase 3 works were agreed in June this year when the Council agreed to proceed to tender for a £2.3 million project to refurbish the remaining sections of the Town House. Phase 3 works will include full stone repairs and replacement, mortar re-pointing, guttering and window repairs and replacement.
At the unveiling of the Town House wraps Provost Carmichael also saw up close the magnificent works of Laing Traditional Masonry Sculptors and Conservators Derek Cunningham and Ivan Navarro.
Laing Traditional Masonry Sculptors and Conservators Derek Cunningham (kneeling) and Ivan Navarro with their wolf design in sandstone and fibreglass mould.
She said: “I am honoured to meet such skilled craftsmen who have added their own creative touch to the history of Inverness Town House. It is a real privilege to see and touch these carvings that will soon be out of reach and on display for future generations.”
Jason Kelman, Highland Council’s Principal Project Manager explained how two beautifully carved stone wolves that will adorn the exterior of the Town House were created. He said:
“We knew that there were two large stone carvings of dogs on the Town House, however they were missing and our contractors were unable to replace them without original designs for reference. We understand that earlier stonemasons who worked on the Town House were given what was called “stonemason’s preference” or a free-hand to design and sculpt the original adornments on the building.
“We therefore sought approval from Historic Environment Scotland to allow stonemason’s preference in the design and replacement of the missing dog sculptures.
“Derek and Ivan researched the history of wolves in Highland and found nearby links to Ardross and Inverness. From their designs they created a fibreglass mould which was used in the creation of the sandstone sculptures which took around 3 weeks for each wolf.
“Laing Traditional Masonry hope to donate the actual-size wolf mould along with some interpretation to Highland Council and High Life Highland for future public display at an appropriate location.”
Unwrapping the Town House