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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: B
  • Date Added: 15/06/1981


  • Local Authority: Highland
  • Planning Authority: Highland
  • Burgh: Inverness

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNH 67082 45245
  • Coordinates267082, 845245


Ross and Macbeth, 1895, and substantial extension to southeast, 1913. 2-storey, 7-bay, symmetrical T-plan former school academy building in Francois 1er style. Red sandstone ashlar. Gableted centre bay and advanced end bays are framed with engaged pilasters at the ground floor, rising to octagonal piers at the first floor surmounted by octagonal domes. Corniced bandcourse as entablature. Mullioned and transomed tripartite and bipartite windows to the end bays, those at first floor are set in round-headed arches with carved tympana. The first floor window at the centre is set in round-headed overarch with elaborately carved tympanum. A scalloped parapet with ogee gablet is at the centre. Above at centre is a large ogee-roofed slated belfry. Predominantly lying panes in timber sash and case windows, gabled slated roofs. Some lanterns metal roof vents. Cast iron hoppers and drain pipes.

The large 1913 block is of similar style and material to the principal 1895 block, and attributed solely to Macbeth. It is a long 2-storey, roughly rectangular-plan extension to the southeast corner of the main building set next to the roadway in an elevated position. The wide central entrance bay to the southwest is framed with engaged pilasters at the ground floor, rising to octagonal piers at the first floor, terminated with small domes with flanking single storey blocks, that to the left are gabled with pedimented doorway; that to right with scalloped shaped parapet. Gabled blocks are set back to rear blocks, with mullioned and transomed fenestration similar to the main building, including round-headed arches with blind tympana. Corniced eaves course. Ball finals to gable apexes. Cast iron hoppers and drain pipes.

The interior, seen in 2014, is largely intact including many late 19th century fixtures and fittings. There is a large central assembly hall with atrium, with cast iron Doric columns, railings and decorative spandrels. There is a hammerbeam roof with timber trusses and with several skylight openings. The atrium is accessed by an imperial staircase to the rear. Timber panels to corniced dado throughout corridors and former classrooms. Coombed ceilings to classrooms. Some herringbone parquet flooring.

The former lodge to the north dates to 1899 and is a single storey, 3-bay, square-plan and symmetrical former caretaker residence constructed in red sandstone ashlar. It has a small extension to the rear. Prominent and advanced gabled stone porch with timber two-leaf entrance set in semi-circular ribbed arch and with rounded chamfered corners. Stacks to gable ends, large flat skews and shouldered skewputts with slated roof. Bipartite windows with six over plate glass timber sash and case windows. The interior was seen in 2014. Plan form is largely intact, plain painted glass skylight to foyer. Some internal features remain, such as fireplaces (now blocked) and their surrounds.

Low coped coursed rubble boundary wall, with decorative iron railings (dating to circa 1950) and pyramidal capped gatepiers to Stephen's Street.

Statement of Special Interest

The former Inverness Royal Academy has distinctive features and is a good example of a large board school. It has been altered only slightly by modern 20th century linked extensions and it remains a landmark for the city, set on an elevated site above Inverness. The 1895 building is the main focus of the site and has fine exterior and interior detailing, including an unaltered central double-hall with atrium and an empire staircase with decorative iron railings, columns and spandrels. It is a good component of a larger educational campus, and forms a group with its later ancillary and attached buildings.

The main building was constructed in 1893-5 for the Royal Inverness Academy which occupied the site from 1895-1980, and it first appears on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map of 1902. It was designed by Ross and Macbeth and is a fine architectural composition inspired by the French Renaissance of Francois 1er and the Beaux Arts movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Particular notable characteristics are the large pyramidal central lantern, large transomed windows and classical detailing and proportions. It is constructed of local red sandstone, and has distinct and fine decorative detailing to the entrance fa├žade stonework, with good, similar styled detailing to the external stonework of the 1913 extension. The main entrance and the external decoration in general is of high quality with some fine carved sculptural detailing to the tympana.

The associated classically designed lodge for the former academy, also known as the former janitor's residence is attributed to Ross and Macbeth and was constructed around 1899. It first appears on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map of 1902. It is a relatively unaltered example of a late 19th century ancillary building associated with a school.

The majority of surviving school buildings in Scotland were built after the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act, when responsibility for education was placed in the hands of local school boards. The Act made education free and compulsory for children aged five to thirteen.

Diversification of the curriculum for older pupils, coincided with a great increase in population the last quarter of the 19th century leading to the requirement of new purpose-built school buildings for secondary education. County Secondary Education Committees were established in 1892. The new Inverness Academy was built shortly after in 1895 and transferred to a state-funded regime having first been established as a fee-paying school in the 18th century. Inverness Academy is one of the first purpose-built examples of a large secondary school in the Highlands. There are other regional examples of academies of similar date at Fortrose and Tain (see separate listings).

The practice of Alexander Ross and Robert John Macbeth started in 1887 and carried through until late 1907. Their creative partnership produced a large number of commissions, principally carried out in the Highland region.

Listed building record updated in 2014.



Ordnance Survey, 2nd Edition. Surveyed 1902, published 1904. Inverness-shire - Mainland, Sheet 012.02. London: Ordnance Survey.

Inverness Courier, March 3, 1893 (advertisement for tenders).

Statistical Account for Scotland, ix (1794), p.619.

Evening Telegraph, Saturday 30 April and 7 May 1892.

New Statistical Account, xiv, pp.16, 30-31.

Gifford, J (1992). Buildings of Scotland: Highlands and Islands. London: Penguin Books. p.195.

Further information provided courtesy of the owner (2014).

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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