Rose Street Foundry opens following large-scale redevelopment and Covid-19 restrictions
Rose Street Foundry at 96 Academy Street, Inverness, the former home to AI Welders, has reopened as a bar following significant public and private investment.
Originally opened in March, just days before the implementation of lockdown restrictions, the team is now cautiously welcoming the first customers.
The Rose Street Foundry will operate as a bar only until 15th August, when it hopes to also open its restaurant specialising in high-quality local food. For now, only the ground floor of the building will be open with a one-way, socially distanced layout and table service only. A reduced staff of five, who are fully Covid trained, will be looking after customers and a reservation diary will record contact details for track and trace purposes.
The Category B listed building is one of the most historic on Inverness’ Academy Street and was left unoccupied until being acquired by Cairngorm Taverns with funding support from Inverness Townscape Heritage Project (ITHP). The ITHP grant of over £1m was a significant contribution towards the total cost of renovations, which included the restoration and reinstatement of decorative mosaics to the outside of the building.
Inverness Townscape Heritage Project includes funding from The Highland Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland (HES) via the Inverness City Heritage Trust (ICHT).
Built during 1893-95, the building has been sympathetically restored, with décor paying tribute to its industrial past. At the start of the year, employees of AI Welders were invited back to their former workplace to see the transformation. They held their monthly reunion in the newly restored boardroom and brought a portrait of Samuel Hunter-Gordon, former Chair & MD of AI Welders, which now has pride of place in the function room.
Commenting on the opening, Sam Faircliff, Managing Director of Cairngorm Taverns, said: “It has been a long and difficult process to finally welcome customers to Rose Street Foundry. The renovation of this beautiful building was a massive undertaking in itself before being faced with the Coronavirus pandemic just as we were due to open. However, I’m so glad to finally be able to open our doors, albeit in a reduced capacity and with the necessary safety measures in place.
“Rose Street Foundry has huge architectural and historic significance to Inverness and we felt a responsibility to restore it to the standard it deserves, so I’m delighted to now be able to show off all the hard work that has gone into its renovation.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their patience as we find our feet. We look forward to welcoming you, from a safe distance, soon!”
Cllr Jimmy Gray, Chairman of the Inverness Townscape Heritage Project, added: “Congratulations to the Cairngorm Taverns’ team and everyone involved in completing this fantastic project, especially at this difficult time.
“As one of the most iconic buildings for Inverness residents, it was important that Rose Street Foundry was brought back to life. The redevelopment has been the flagship project for Inverness Townscape Heritage Project which worked alongside partners to secure a funding package for full heritage restoration.
“I’m delighted that this historic building and its many original features, including the iconic beautiful mosaics, have been restored and preserved for generations to come. Cheers to the new Rose Street Foundry!”
Find out more about this and other projects from the Inverness Townscape Heritage Project at: www.academystreet.org/projects
Main photo of Rose Street Foundry courtesy of Highland Photographic Archive