Highland Council applauds Victorian Market’s 150th anniversary

Victorian Market Inverness Copyright Joseph Cook Collection, Inverness Museum & Art Gallery
Victorian Market Inverness Copyright Joseph Cook Collection, Inverness Museum & Art Gallery

As the Inverness Victorian Market was 150 years old (on 20 May 2020), Provost of Inverness Councillor Helen Carmichael marks this momentous achievement from her home during COVID-19 lockdown.

Provost Carmichael said: “It is with a touch of sadness that I acknowledge on behalf of City of Inverness Area Councillors, the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the ‘New Markets’. This should have been a time for great celebrations in the city centre. However it may be many weeks before we will see the opening of the indoor retail sector again.” 

Market Manager, Jo Murray said: “150 years later, on Wednesday 20th May at exactly 12 noon (the official opening time) I found myself standing in an empty building with closed doors. The shutters are down and no one is around except for one or two shop owners in behind the scenes. They are trying their best to put preparations in place for an anticipated re-opening following a hasty lockdown. They miss their customers and we know that our customers miss them. The national COVID-19 pandemic has put all plans on hold. This is not what we expected when we started to look at how we would celebrate this momentous day.”

Provost Carmichael added: “The Victorian Market is, and I expect always will be, not just a destination for shops and restaurants, but a community hub. When people reminisce and share their memories, they not only remember what they bought or ate, they remember the people; the shop owners, the customers, the funny stories. The business owners who have traded here, in some cases for decades, are well known members of the market community in their own right.

“Everyone in Inverness has a memory or connection with this Market and that is a testament to the businesses that operate within. They have been through many changes over the last 150 years, not least almost losing the Market forever when it was almost completely destroyed by fire in the late 19th century, but have stayed the test of time and the local population applaud them for that. They have weathered fair through war, recession, the rise of the national retailer and in the more recent past the birth of online shopping. What we face now is yet another kink in the road of our journey and I have no doubt that, as before, they will adapt and thrive for the next 150 years.”

© The Highland Council - Am Baile  - Highland Regional Council Planning Department 1983

© The Highland Council - Am Baile - Highland Regional Council Planning Department 1983

Jo Murray added: “Looking forward, the next re-opening of the Market will be marked with socially distant virtual hugs and decorations of hazard tape. Despite this, customers will be as welcome as ever and we will look forward to celebrating with you when the time comes.”

26 May 2020
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