Columba Hotel, Ness Walk, Inverness, seen from Ness Bridge. Designed by Alexander Ross (1834-1925). 1881. Described in its Category B listing text as having a three-bay frontage with a "slightly recessed centre," with three storeys and an attic, the whole building being in "free Baronial" style. There is also a neo-Baronial extension of a later date, 1938, on the left; John Gifford calls it "a stripped version of the Baronial manner" (203). The most distinctive features of the main part of the hotel are the first floor balconies, picked out here in cream, with their stepped corbels, and the gables. The extension has a matching balcony too. On the far side of the Columba Hotel extension, that is, on the far left of the photograph where the coaches are parked, is the Palace Hotel of 1890, by Ross when in partnership with Robert John Macbeth (1857-1912). This is the building marked by the two conical towers at its centre.

To the right is what Gifford calls "a Baronial tenement" (203), seen here from Castle Hill. This is also by Ross, of 1883-84, with crow-stepped gables and stout chimney stacks, adjoining the corner block with Young Street, which continues straight from the bridge. This part too is of the same date, was built with the same "snecked rubble" and rises grandly from three to four storeys (see "Inverness, 1-3 Young Street").

Despite having shop-fronts, one of which is original, the corner building was designed as the local Inland Revenue office. This whole sweep of buildings lining the river from the end of Ness Bridge at Young Street, along Ness Walk to Ardross Terrace, right up to the Episcopal Cathedral — all Ross's work at different stages of his career — is very impressive and distinctive. The view to the right here shows the Castle on Castle Hill in the background: Castle Hill is an excellent vantage point from which to admire Ross's contribution to this part of Inverness.

Photographs, captions and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print document. Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Related Material


"Alexander Ross." DSA (Dictionary of Scottish Architects). Web. 20 December 2017.

Gifford, John. Highland and Islands. The Buildings of Scotland. London: Penguin, 1992.

"Inverness, 1-3 Young Street." British Listed Buildings. Web. 20 December 2017.

"Inverness, Ness Walk, Columba Hotel." British Listed Buildings. Web. 20 December 2017.

Created 20 December 2017