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Rose Window to enjoy new lease of life?

By Donna MacAllister

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Rose Window
Rose Window

A TREASURED stained glass window salvaged several decades ago from a building demolished in the city centre could see the light of day again.

That is the hope of Highland Council who is looking to see if the window, regarded by many to be a work of art, can be fitted into the new Inverness Castle project.

A campaigner who has pressed for years to get the intricate window re-installed said it was music to his ears.

Bill Anderson, former Inverness Local History Forum chairman, was "absolutely ecstatic" and believes many others will feel the same.

The giant Rose Window began life as part of an 18th century Methodist church where it had pride of place at the junction of Inglis Street and Hamilton Street, facing Academy Street.

But a road-widening project almost 50 years ago, making Academy Street two-way and creating scope for the Eastgate Centre to be built, meant the demolition of the restaurant.

The relic was packed away and is still boxed at the city’s roads department.

And now the Courier can reveal it stands a good chance of becoming an eye-catcher once again, studding Inverness Castle and playing a prominent part in ongoing plans to relocate the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service from that site to create a “must-see” visitor centre "celebrating the spirit of the Highlands".

There were murmurings earlier this year that it could be a feature in the new station façade at Inverness Railway Station.

However, the council said it has other plans, although nothing has been agreed.

Stuart Black, director of development & infrastructure, said the window could not feature as part of the original castle building.

“The castle is a Category A listed building so any re-use would have to be in a new build element of the project," he said.

"We are a very early stage in the process of concept design for any new building in the vicinity of the castle.”

Mr Anderson (72) said: "I'm absolutely ecstatic that the council is planning on using it there. Time will tell whether that comes to fruition. I sincerely hope it does. I think the people of Inverness would be well-happy if it does go up again."

It comes after Mr Anderson circulated photographs on the internet this week showing the Rose Window in storage in a yard at the council's Diriebught Road Depot.

The images caused a stir with some people decrying the way it appeared to be exposed to the elements, stacked against a wall behind remnant bus shelter. Someone on Facebook said it looked like it was lying in "the scrappy's yard".

A council spokeswoman said it was "aware of these concerns" but people could rest-assured "it has been stored in the same purpose-built case for 40 or 50 years now".

She revealed plans were under-way to relocate it to the council's Lotland Street depot where it will be re-clad for further protection.

She added: “Discussion did take place about trying to store the window inside but the piece is too large to fit through the roller shutter doors."

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