Photo of Great Glen Hall building

Restoring the silhouette of a city

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05 Mar 2020

Restoring the silhouette of a city

For nearly 150 years, the two towers of an imposing, former Victorian hospital dominated the western skyline of the Highland capital, Inverness.

Early photography shows the sandstone building adorned with fresh flowers and overlooking carefully landscaped lawns to the sweep of the Great Glen below.

Nurses in starched aprons presided over patients, given added solace by the bay-windowed finery which surrounded them, and with revitalising fresh air brought in through deep, sash windows.

Victorian architects loved to make a statement, so they added towers, crenellations and follies to the profile of the buildings. They also built to last, and 150 years later, when restoration finally began, the fabric of the 19thC building was found to be in remarkably good shape.

One thing which had suffered however was dual towers, sadly damaged by a fire in 2007 while the buildings lay empty. Until March 2020, that is, when the second tower has been carefully lifted back into place – restoring a skyline familiar to generations on the Western edge of Inverness

Revitalising Great Glen Hall

Robertson Homes is part-through a £13 million pound project which was ten years in the planning process, to transform the historic buildings of Great Glen Hall into contemporary dwellings – each one unique and sensitively designed.

Our specialists employed contemporary technology to restore the buildings, including using a specialist stone cleaning system which “washed” all the walls at around 150 degrees. This restored the beautiful colour of the stone without damaging it.

The main roof of the building was remarkably intact, which is testament to the skills of the 19th-century craftsmen. Robertson Homes’ 21stC commitment was to use local companies, local stone and reclaimed slate in the full restoration.

The great lawns and Victorian landscaping were also revitalised, although the gently rolling topography and beautiful mature trees needed little extra planning.

Restoring the towers

In April 2019, the first of two iconic towers was completed.

In March 2020, the second tower roof was eased gently into position using a 150-ton specialist crane, specially brought in to lift the 20 ton, 20 metres high, prefabricated steel and slate roof into place.

Jim Smith, Contracts Manager at Robertson Homes said, “The extent of research and planning that has gone into Great Glen Hall is immeasurable. We have previously described it as a labour of love and it truly is.

“From working out the best ways to clean the original stone and to refurbish the buildings, while retaining their full character and meeting modern building regulations, we have employed a lot of expert advice. The result, however, is fully contemporary homes within a location and buildings that are both of unique quality.

“Restoring the two towers to their former glory was one of our greatest challenges but Metalwork UK in Tain came up trumps for us, creating a prefabricated steel and slated structure to the original design.

“It’s been a huge logistical exercise but the people of Inverness will once again be able to look up at an imposing skyline which has been a notable part of the city for 150 years.”

 New homes at Great Glen Hall

This significant site has been sensitively developed in phases and the first residents of Great Glen Hall have already moved in. The available selection of beautifully designed 1, 2 & 3 bedroom apartments, plus 3 bedroom townhouses and bungalows, opened 18 months ago and is already over half sold.

Regional sales manager, Jacqui McPherson said, “Buyers love the outlook and the solidity of homes at Great Glen Hall and our designers have worked hard to marry unique features into the fabric of contemporary life. Each home is completely unique.”

Prices start from £150,000 and further information is available here.  


great glen hall tower roof waiting on the building site

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