Inverness town steeple reveals more secrets from the past.

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Joiners working at Inverness town steeple on the corner of Bridge Street and Church Street have uncovered another time capsule during the historic building’s renovation works. This earlier find is believed to date from 1878 and is the second discovery within the past 8 months. It predates, by 45 years, another package dating from 1923 which was discovered during October 2012 in the steeple.

Tony Russell and Jordan Fraser of D.Y. Fraser Joiners, Inverness were carrying out works on the interior of the steeple building for The Highland Council when Tony  revealed the find on Thursday 9 May 2013.

Highland Council’s Clerk of Works, Robert McCubbin explained: “Joiners had been making finishing touches to interior works so that the lower floors of the steeple building could be let out as a shop again. They found a cigar box in a small recess that had previously not been noticed on the second floor stairwell.

“We suspect that the recess was one of the holes that held timbers for an original wooden staircase, which was replaced by the current staircase. Tucked away in the dry recess was the cigar box covered in lots of dust.”

On finding the box, Tony and Jordan contacted Clerk of Works Robert McCubbin who immediately took the discovery across the road to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (IMAG) on Castle Wynd for its safe keeping and inspection.

Jeannette Pearson, High Life Highland Curator at IMAG was delighted with the find, she said: “With all the restoration and renovation works going on at the steeple, and especially since the 1923 parcel had already been found, we thought that the building had already revealed all its secrets. It was a very pleasant and welcome surprise for the Museum when Robert brought the cigar box to us as the box itself and its contents are in relatively good condition. Once we have fully inspected and itemised the contents we shall liaise with our colleagues in the Highland Archives to ensure that they are safely conserved.”

Provost Alex Graham welcomed the recent discovery, he said: “Thanks to our contractors’ sharp eyes and the swift action of our Clerk of Works to get this latest time capsule quickly into the safe hands of Inverness Museum we have another fascinating insight into the social history of Inverness. It would be of great interest to know why this cigar box and its contents were hidden away – hopefully with some research the connections between the names and the time frame of 1878 will be found. Perhaps Mr Taylor, the Tobacconist, had a shop in the steeple building?”


13 May 2013