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Inverness Victorian Market refurbishment turns up an empty quarter bottle of vodka and a note from a Shetland tradesman dated 1967 as Highland Council praises progress on the project


By Scott Maclennan

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The note was found inside the empty vodka bottle.
The note was found inside the empty vodka bottle.

A quarter bottle of voddy with a note inside buried more than half a century ago has turned up during the refurbishment of Inverness’ Victorian Market Hall.

The Buried by a tradesman from Shetland in 1967 – the same year the Beatles released Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The note read: “J. T. T. Thomson. Mason. Murness, Uyeasound, Unst, Shetland. Inverness address 40 Deny St. Age 41. Finished building and tiling 20.6.67.”

Victorian Market Manager Jo Murray said: "We expected to find some interesting things at the demolition stage of the build, and we were not disappointed. Following the last major piece of work done in 1967 we found a message in a bottle from a proud workman.

"In an empty quarter bottle of vodka, neatly buried underneath the floor, was a note written by J. T. T. Thomson, a mason from Shetland.

The note reads ‘J. T. T. Thomson. Mason. Murness, Uyeasound, Unst, Shetland. Inverness address 40 Deny St. Age 41. Finished building and tiling 20.6.67.’"

It comes as the council confirms that good progress is being made on the hall development with it expected to open in the first part of next year amid hopes it will breathe new life into the centre of the Highland capital.

Work initially started in January 2021 and is due to be complete in the first half of 2022 and was designed to attract local independent food and drink businesses to create an exciting destination in the heart of Inverness city centre.

The new Market Hall development will bring added footfall to the area and hopes to attract families and to enhance the visitor experience with it already home to 21 well-established local businesses.

As the space has been transformed it has revealed the impressive Victorian steel roof structure. The new design allows for it to be more visible and indeed some sections of the steel will now be seen in some of the new units at eye level.

Chairwoman of the Victorian Market Stakeholder Group, Cllr Isabelle Mackenzie, said: "This exciting new development is proceeding as planned. We have been in discussion with a variety of local businesses, who are keen to be part of this beloved city centre landmark.

"Having come through the difficulties of the last couple years, its encouraging to see so many local businesses confident to be at the heart of the rejuvenation of our city centre. We very much look forward to working in collaboration with them, to make the Market Hall a success that Inverness will be proud of."

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