Fire and inspiration in the Victorian Market

Victorian Market event
At the Victorian Market event

The rich heritage of Inverness’ Victorian Market was showcased this week, at an event held in the market, hosted by local historian Norman Newton. Norman was joined by local authors Jennifer Morag Henderson and Barbara Henderson, who showcased their works, which have been inspired by the market.

The event was part of the programme of talks delivered by The Inverness Townscape Heritage (TH) Project.  It was a great opportunity for Norman Newton to share his research on the Victorian Market, where he focussed on the opening of the market in 1870 and then the catastrophic fire of 1889.  

The local press provided fantastic commentary of these events, and their coverage at the time has been a great way of bringing the story to life.

During the talk, Norman outlined the poignant story of a loyal dog who could not be persuaded to leave the shop he was guarding and sadly perished in the fire.  He also told of the mass looting which occurred as the emergency services were trying to bring the fire under control.

Barbara Henderson read from her latest novel ‘Punch’ a work of fiction which tells the story of the 1889 fire at the Victorian Market. Work of local poet Jennifer Morag Henderson was also showcased with recital of her 2009 poem ‘The Victorian Market, Inverness’.

Chair of the Townscape Heritage Partnership Board, Councillor Richard Laird, said: “The Victorian Market has been the focus for shopping for generations and it is a unique asset to the City of Inverness.  It is great to see this heritage of the market being brought to life, and I have no doubt, the market will continue to inspire future generations.”

Speaking at the event, City Area Manager David Haas said “I am delighted to hear the fascinating history surrounding the great fire of 1889 and how it affected the traders at that time.  Thankfully the Market was quickly rebuilt and we are delighted it remains a key part of the city centre to this day.”

The TH Project delivers a regular programme of talks, to bring history to life and to preserve hidden stories for future generations to enjoy.  The Victorian Market was a natural choice to host a talk given its rich and diverse heritage as the city’s original market.

7 Dec 2017
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