Photographs

You'll have noticed just how little exists regarding the Glen Mhor distillery. Here's a collection of photographs with credits given to the sources, where possible. Overall, this is the most comprehensive collection for Glen Mhor with over 50 photographs. 

I've tried to keep these in date order as much as possible, some remain unknown so I've tried to use existing knowledge to place these. 

From Shackleton Whisky, this shows an overview of the site:


From The Whisky Business, a behind perspective:





1894


Here is a wonderful photograph from the Cook Collection posted by the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery The Caption from Am Baile reads as follows:

'The Caledonian Canal at #Inverness, c. 1884. The ship in the foreground is the 'Margaret Reid'

What's fascinating about this photograph is that it doesn't feature Glen Mhor! This is the era of Glen Albyn growing and actually predates the arrival of John Birnie at the distillery - he would take over in 1885. In content, it gives us the Muirtown locks, bridge and the original houses that stood by the road at that time.

Glen Mhor would appear to the right of the image on the open rural land. The image also gives us the content of a more rural Muirtown, yet to be swallowed up by Inverness.



1898


This is a young Glen Mhor, easily the oldest photograph of the distillery to date, which was a bit of a technical marvel, as you'll come to appreciate from the writer; showcasing things that we take for granted such as electric lighting. Yes, the copy isn't great, but I'm hopeful if this exists, that a better image will as well.  

What can we take from this photograph? It shows the original layout, devoid of the buildings that would pop up along the canal front. A new discovery is the writing on the roof, the largest building that runs the length of the distillery, which would be used for warehousing. We just didn't know it was there or have many photographs from this angle. At the time of the photograph, this side of the distillery would have been farming fields (confirmed by our existing overhead photographs, below) and is essentially the back end of the distillery.




The holy grail for some distillery enthusiasts is seeing the original stills. Here, we're happy to have the original set at Glen Mhor taken in 1898. 

As you'll appreciate with such as article as this, image quality isn't ideal but as this was previously believed lost, I'm happy just to see what we can. This image was featured on page 2 of the supplement.

These stills (as far as we know) resided at Glen Mhor for the lifespan of the distillery, partially assisted by the canny ways of the owners, who never maximised production or pushed output beyond their means. That changed when DCL took over in the 1970s and used the distillery for blending stock only and expanded production to previously unseen levels (about four times what we believe was the norm under the original owners). These stills were joined by a 3rd still in 1925 and details of this still were lost to time, until we found a photograph of it, which now appears under 1946.

In this image, we can see that the stills are raised up, allowing the men to feed the fires that would burn underneath. We can get a sense of the shape and bulbous nature of the stills that produced Glen Mhor's distinctive spirit. The text on page 3 will confirm the available space in this room that was used to place the 3rd still and within the article that the owners were looking to bring in 2 more stills in 1898, but this would have been paused due to the pending Pattison Crash of December 1898.






1916


This is a portrait of John Birnie which continues to reside in Inverness Town Hall. A brief outline from Ambaile outlines his amazing life as a banker turned distiller and then distillery owner. Also, compare this portrait to the 1925 photograph. Could the 'distillery worker' actually be John? Potentially, as he lived in Inverness.






8th August 1928

What's wonderful is that if Glen Albyn distillery was the focus of a photograph, you'll see find some Glen Mhor by accident. Here's a fantastic image from Canmore that gives you a perspective of both distilleries.




1 August 1930


A great image of the canal with the distilleries in the distance. Kindly provided by SHPA.






A couple of great photographs from Whisky Antique with their source being listed as Twitter, but we've been able to date and identify the source further down:



The focus of this next photograph is a football pitch, with Glen Mhor making an appearance in the background. This stadium was home to Caledonian F.C. until 1999 when it was sold to Texas Homecare and demolished; a similar retail fate to that of Glen Mhor. Caledonian, joined with their Inverness rivals Thistle F.C. to create Caledonian Thistle as they are known today. The merger remains a sore point for many fans. 

So, this is the original Telford Street Park football ground, which was destroyed by fire in the mid-1920s and again in 1950. This end of the ground (backing onto the warehousing) was known as the Distillery End by fans. It was later renamed the Comet End. The destruction of the stand at least twice means this photograph dates from between 1926 to early 1950.  



The original source of this photograph was indeed Twitter, but that Tweet, credited to the Highland Photographic Archive, who date the image as being taken in 1950. Their image has a better resolution:




Here's a colour photograph from Retro Football where you can see just how close the distillery was.






1936

A great photograph from the Highland Archives with some of the workmen in the distance: 


1938

This image from Scottish Highlander Photo Archive. The image is noted to be taken for Mr W. Birnie of Mackinlays & Birnie Ltd and is again credited to 1938.


1946

We can finally see inside Glen Mhor with this wonderful photo from Getty Images with the following details below, and this comes from the Hulton Archive.

'A worker at the Glen Mohr whisky distillery in Inverness inspecting one of the copper stills where alcohol is extracted from waste grain pulp. Scottish whisky is first mentioned in 15th-century records and used to be known by its Gaelic name 'uisge beatha', which means water of life.'

Sadly, this seems to be the only image they have, taken by Chris Ware, who may have been on press duty, taking an image for a news story. Maybe some others exist elsewhere, but so far I've had no joy finding any. The potential story, as this was taken in January 1946, was that Scottish distilleries had been given permission in November 1945 to start distilling in the New Year (see the Timeline and Newspapers) after the war, and was Chris on-site to capture a suitable image? That's a likely scenario. And this image is wrongly labelled 'Glen Mohr' from the above description and indexing, suggesting why it's gone unseen for so long. 

Of course, if you know your history, this isn't a distillery worker either, he's far too well dressed - potentially an owner? Indeed this seems to be the case and it is William Birnie who would have been 58 at the time and lived in Inverness. A description of him exists in Gavin D. Smith's Stillhouse Stories Tunroom Tales from the 1960s; 'arrive during mid-morning in his Riley Elf, wearing a Panama hat, tweed jacket and pale-coloured trousers.'

Providing such vivid memories is Rodney Burtt, who worked at the distillery from the late 1960s into the early 1970s as a trainee. Sadly, trying to locate him for more insight, confirmed he passed away suddenly in September 2013, not long after the book was published. But what memories he left us with and photographs in his section of the book. My thanks to Rose for highlighting this resource.   

The size of the still is interesting; clearly shown as 2700 gallons, or 12,274 litres. This still then, is the previously undocumented 2nd wash still, installed in 1925. It makes sense, the newer looking still would be used for an image such as this and we have a tantalising glimpse of a second still to the right, which looks more aged and hand-beaten in terms of shaping (to be expected), meaning that's likely to be one of the two original stills dating from the 1890s, which we do know the sizes of and were both smaller from our Distillery Info section.

A great find. 



1950s

This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt, we're doing these in the order he catalogued and his original notes are:

'Russell McGregor, works manager of Glen Mhor (in my time), turning the barley in the 1950s'

The effort that turning the malt consistently for a period of time is not to be under-appreciated. This will be the Glen Mhor malting floor as it is smaller than the previous image we posted that potentially could be from Glen Albyn, across the road. We know this is Glen Mhor due to the size of the room and the ceiling - something that is confirmed in a wonderful image we'll be posting next week.  

This is likely to be the late, or mid-1940s, as we still work to confirm the suggested date of the Saladin Maltings being installed in 1949 at Glen Mhor.





This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt, we're doing these in the order he catalogued and his original notes are:

'Ten tons of barley occupy each of the two steeps. After the steeping process, the barley travels into the Saladin boxes.'

This lets us see into the distillery once again, likely to be Glen Mhor because Rodney specifies 10 tons specifically. We know that Glen Mhor had a 10-ton mash tun (say that quickly) installed in 1925 and may have continued that quantity with the cylindrical steep.

As always, we're left with mysteries. Who is the worker with the traditional cap waiting patiently on the tun being filled? And when was this? The 1950s? Given this steep, it suggests it was taken during the Saladin box era. Our research continues.





Finally, we're into a warehouse. This image comes from Gavin D. Smith's Stillhouse Stories Tunroom Tales, published in 2013 and discussed in greater detail in the 1970s below.

This could be one of the warehouses that backed onto the football ground and the suggestion of the roof angle would make that a possibility alongside the Glen Albyn warehousing on the far left edge of the distillery site. We'll never know, but it is good to see inside.

We cannot precisely date this photograph, but you'll note the Glen Albyn casks look fresh and come from the 1949 season. It would be reasonable to expect this to be taken in the 50s as the casks are at the front. Both distilleries shared their warehousing as the company did not own any other distilleries. In total, there was room for 60,000 casks and when the distilleries closed 40,000 casks had to be removed.   





This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt, we're doing these in the order he catalogued and his original notes are:

'The entrance to Glen Mhor Distillery in the 1950s. Note the malt kiln chimney in the foreground, the profile of which resembles the pagoda image that is the most conspicuous feature of locating a distillery.'

I just love this photograph, which gives us an look through the distillery gates that aren't present in later photographs. Compare this to the 1970s photograph from the Diageo Archives at the same angle and the hedge seems to also have been removed.

The distillery workman looking back at us and behind him what must be the staff parking area, where we've seen cars beforehand. The small car heading into the distillery features a style of license plate that was in use from 1932-1963, which gives us some context and backs up Rodney's caption. Could the gentleman in the hat be one of the owners? 

My thanks to Alan for providing the image and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life.




This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt, we're doing these in the order he catalogued and his original notes are:

'The scene of a malting floor which contained 22 tons of barley couched up to 15 inches.'

Now, here's where it gets a little mysterious. As you can clearly see from the 2 photographs we'll be published in the coming days of the Glen Mhor malting floor, this one is slightly larger. Could it potentially be Glen Albyn? Or could this be another floor within the maltings at Glen Mhor? Rodney kept it for a reason, if it's not Glen Mhor, then it seems likely, the next candidate is Glen Albyn, across the road. Only more research and discoveries will confirm.

My thanks to Alan for providing the image, his insight and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life.





This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt and his original notes are:

'The Stillman is either opening or closing the outlet pipe on a Low Wines Still with a capacity of 2700 gallons. The safety valve (with a tin hat) is situated on the still to the right of the worker.'

Delighted to be able to bring you just the 2nd photograph of the 'lost' 3rd still at Glen Mhor. This was installed in 1925 and is mentioned in passing in books, but thanks to our initial discovery photograph, we know have the size and shape of it. Now it's fantastic that we have a second image of this mystery addition, suggesting that it was placed to the left of the original set of stills. Now, we just need more images of the original stills.

My thanks to Alan for providing the image, his insight and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life. 




This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt and his original notes are:

'William Birnie is observing the scene of a redundant malting floor, accompanied by his loyal labrador and pipe!'

If you've been following our malting floor images, you'll be able to recognise this is a smaller floor than seen in an earlier image which could have been Glen Albyn. I find this a very symbolic and poignant image, from what we know of William (see our Quotes Section), he was a character and I wonder what he was thinking when this image was taken.

Rodney also uses the word redundant which could have just been a day off, or possibly no longer utilised due to the arrival of the Saladin technology. The upper floor of the maltings or lower floor, may have not been required following the installation of the mechanised maltings. And we know there was a later building added to the side of original maltings from our photographs. The answers are out there, but for now, let's enjoy this image.

My thanks to Alan for providing the image, his insight and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life.




This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt and his original notes are:

'The Saladin boxes were 60 feet long times 8 feet wide. These contained the same 22 tons of barley, couched up to three feet, as were employed on the malting floor.'

Now the question is, whether these are Glen Albyn, Glen Mhor or even Imperial has been suggested as a candidate. The size would suggest Albyn in terms of malting floor - there's also a reflective quality in the image with all the metal sheeting giving it a larger than life appearance. We also know that the Glen Mhor maltings were expanded (as you can see from our photographs) with a modern building running alongside the original maltings. It's likely that this was to house the Saladin boxes, or the full-scale version. Rodney, in his recollections, stated that Glen Mhor was initially used as a testing ground for the technology before it was ramped up. What we're seeing here might be the final version.

And then there's the sense of how industrial and mechanical this is. The worker cuts a lonely figure operating the machine in what must have been a warm environment. The bright lights, metal panelling, and relentless nature of turning the barley with jets spraying water... 

My thanks to Alan for providing the image, his insight and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life. 




This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt, we're doing these in the order he catalogued and his original notes are:

'The Saladin box interior showing the worm screws which travel along the box turning the barley mechanically from top to bottom. These aerate and stabilise the barley with water sprays from the bridge that holds the worm screws.'

More detail of the Saladin boxes possible either of the Muirtown distilleries or Imperial. You'll notice the roof in the background, metal cladding that fits our earlier photographs. While we are still continuing to research when the maltings were first installed in Glen Mhor (Rodney says 1949 as do others, some suggest 1954), what we do know is that as an early version they would have used these screws. A dangerous aspect to working with the machinery, if god-forbid anyone fell in or got in their way. These were later replaced with a paddle style, as they were across Scotland. 

My thanks to Alan for providing the image, his insight and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life. 




This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt and his original notes are:

'The mash tun in operation where the ground barley is soaked in various hot waters. This process extracts the freshly formed malt into the water itself.'

A great photograph that gives us a sense of the work involved around the mash tun and the cramped nature in this room. Our research has shown that the original mash tun was replaced in 1925 with a new tun capable of offering 10 metric tonnes capacity. Made from Scottish larch. It's great to finally see it in action.

Note the overhanding belts that no longer seem in operation (we'll talk more about this soon) suggesting that this is after 1954 when turbine power was phased out in this room.

My thanks to Alan for providing the image, his insight and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life. 




This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt, his original notes are:

'The fermenting room where 10,000 gallon Larchwood vessels, termed wash backs, contain the worts from the mash tun. The worts are fermented with one per cent liquid and solid yeast into wash.'

This looks and feels like Glen Mhor, the black and white image shows up the grubby and space limited nature of the fermentation room. Our Distillery Info page gives us a snapshot of the specifics of the distillery:

'made from Scottish larch. Capacity, 21,000 litres. In 1975, noted to be 7 in total, holding 55,000 gallons.'

We can see at least above and our timeline shows that as far as we're aware, this room other than the addition of 2 wash backs in 1925, had no other additions. What's of interest if you look closely in the top left is the suggestion that machinery was belt-driven. We know that Glen Mhor used power from a turbine for much of its existence until 1960, when the switchers for the washbacks were no longer water-powered. In theory, the belts could just be a remnant of this and post-1960, however, this seems unlikely as surely you'd want to remove these overhanging belts rather than banging your head on them. So, this photograph is 1950s Glen Mhor and gives us a sense of what the room was like before the 1960 changes; in its original state.

An interesting twist is when we look at the photograph of the mash tun, as we know this specific room ended turbine power in 1954, thereby suggesting that the belts were left in situ for some time, if not until the end. Only more research will confirm their fate.

My thanks to Alan for providing the image, his insight and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life. 




A photograph that speaks a thousand words...

This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt and his original notes are:

'Aerial view of Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn looking northwest along the northern end of the Caledonian Canal, flowing into the western extremity of the Moray Firth, the Beauly Firth. Strathpeffer lies 20 miles away just to the right of centre.'

We know various aerial shots were taken in the 1980s, but the buildings behind Albyn don't feature the apartments that are apparent on images from this period. So, it is earlier. The football ground gives us some clues as there were various fires and rebuilding/repositioning of stands. So, I'd put this 1930s-1950s for now, noting there is no writing on the warehousing, which does feature in later decades. The football ground does give us a clue, as you can see the single grandstand, which was destroyed a couple of times by fire. Meaning, this particular edition puts the photograph between 1926-1950 - you'll see it in the photographs we've already dated.

You can appreciate the road that divided both distilleries, which was the forerunner to the A9 and the main route north. My research has highlighted by chance it was a right pain to cross as well. 

My thanks to Alan for providing the image and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life.





1956


This image would be William Birnie on the right, outside the Kiln room, the other individual was a mystery until identified as Sir Ben Barnett, Chairman of Mackinlays & Birnie - thanks to Saileadair. A penny for their thoughts?




1957


From Gavin Smith's, A Century of Whisky, published 2001, we have this image of Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor taken from the Muirtown basin. It's mostly Glen Albyn, which gives you a sense of scale and Glen Mhor on the right edge. Thanks to Mark Davidson for highlight this image.





1959


A lovely image from A.D. Cameron's book on the Caledonian Canal, allows us to see into the Glen Mhor filling store.

This is an easy photograph to date with the casks confirming its 1959 and a previously unseen area of the distillery that we can now document.

What's of particular interest is the size of 2000 gallons was noted in the 1894 Glen Mhor Supplement, possibly suggesting that this piece of equipment remained in use throughout the life of Glen Mhor.

My thanks to Alan for the image and to Rose for tidying it up for our future enjoyment.

This image is credited to Highland News in the book itself, which dates from a 1972 publication. Hopefully, we can find further images like this one in our ongoing research.






1960s

This cracking image from the early 1960s was taken by Hector G.N. Paterson and comes courtesy of Lost Inverness, with the following description: the canal, Muirtown Basin and the distilleries in the early 1960s, showing the empty expanse that was once US Navy Base 18 and is now the Carse Industrial Estate. 





This image comes from the collection of Rodney Burtt, we're doing these in the order he catalogued and his original notes are:

'Aerial view of the Caledonian Canal flowing down the final three locks and under the Canal Bridge (old A9 Inverness to Wick road) into Muirtown Basin. The Moray Firth is shrouded under cloud on the above right. Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn lie on the immediate right of the Caledonian Canal just beyond the final lock.'

This looks very similar to a photograph used by Shackleton Whisky for their ongoing promotional activities - in our Photograph Section. Possibly taken just prior to their image as we're moreover the lock, whereas they are slightly off to the right. We do have a confirmed photograph from 1928 which is similar, but the large white building across from Glen Mhor above, isn't present - it's just open land. 

We also have a similar image provided by Lost Inverness (see above), which again is similar to the Shackleton image with a confirmed period in the early 1960s. The white building is present in this photograph as well, so I'd be confident in saying this is from the same fly-past in the 60s, but took a few moments prior to the image we're more familiar with.

My thanks to Alan for providing the image and to Rose for processing the original and giving it a new lease of life.




1962

One of the advantages that Glen Mhor offers us as a lost distillery, is that it was surrounded by landmarks and places of interest. Apart from the nearby distillery in Glen Albyn and the unique aspect of having 2 distilleries divided only by a road, you had a football ground behind the distillery and the Caledonian Canal on the other side.

In addition, the Muirtown basin, further along, offers more potential photographs from those taking in the view or loch gates without realising the distillery aspect. The Muirtown swing bridge is another area of interest, which has paid off today. 

Built in 1938, by Sir William Arrol Contractors, who were responsible for the Forth Road Bridge, it was made of steel and for many years was the gateway to the north. It not only gives us another way to date various photographs but also offers the opportunity for more photographic discoveries. Like this one...

Recently, I was searching on eBay for various landmarks and Glen Mhor-related artefacts and this 1962 photograph from a magazine (unknown) turned up with this description:

'The traffic control barriers recently installed by British Waterways at Muirtown, near Inverness.'

Most of the auction item was blurred to protect the image from those that would rather save it than purchase the image themselves, which I can appreciate. But it seemed clear that the blurred building in the background was Glen Mhor and using existing images and the angle of view, it seemed a sure thing.

Contacting the seller, they never had considered the building in the distance, agreeing it looked like Glen Mhor and were happy to refund me if this wasn't the case. Deal done, I'm pleased to add another unseen photograph from the distillery to our Photograph section.

This image is important for several reasons:

  1. It's our first from 1962.
  2. The angle is unique amongst all of the photographs so far. It's from the road, looking back up the canal giving us a unique appreciation of the size of Glen Mhor on the waterfront and another side to the distillery buildings.
  3. It gives us a sense of scale with the nearby housing and the gap that existed between the residential buildings and the distillery.
  4. That gap would soon be filled by the rather ugly angular building that was added onto the original maltings in the late 60s or early 70s going from our existing imagery. It would stretch back halfway along the maltings. 
  5. Potentially there is writing on the roof of the canal-facing building.
So, keep on searching is the motto and sharing. The image below is just my camera phone rather than a scan. I'll keep the photograph safe until more scanning is required. As for the eternal question as to what's on the back of the cutting? It's an article on the opening of the King Gustaf Adolf airport, which was opened 'this year' according to the opening paragraph, but in which year? Yes, you've guessed, correctly, 1962...





1965

A clutch of images from Carnmore, with this image taken in 1965 and with the following description: 'This shows the distillery from the north-east, looking across the Caledonian Canal. The main range in this view is the maltings, and the kiln top can just be seen to the right of the elevator tower (left). The chimney (right) served the still house and boiler house. This was the first new distillery built at the start of the 1890s whisky boom.'



1965

Also from Canmore, this is mainly of Glen Albyn, but if you zoom on the right-hand side, behind the housing you can see the pagoda of Glen Mhor.


1965

Also from the same year, we have this colour photograph from Hector GN Paterson and kindly provided by Lost Inverness.




1970s

Here's the distillery end again, what an image! And the writing on the warehouses reads - Glen Mhor Distillery, Distillers of, Finest Highland Malt Whisky. Source: Caley Thistle Online.



Another image from the same era? and the same source:



1970s

Also from what we believe are the 1970s, possibly the late 60s, comes these remarkable images featured in Gavin D. Smith's Stillhouse Stories Tunroom Tales available from Amazon as a book or an e-book - those are commission links. Thanks to Rose for highlighting the article.

There is the possibility that some of these are Glen Albyn, however, Rodney Burtt, trainee, towards the end of the 60s and into the 1970s, keeps most of his recollections to Glen Mhor, which seemed to be the focal point and had a single malt reputation.

It is one of the most important sources of Glen Mhor information, as it puts us in the role of a distillery worker. Sadly, Rodney passed away suddenly in 2013, shortly after the book was published. Thankfully he left us with some fantastic images and memories...



And from the same source, we see the Saladin Boxes, the specifics of which are detailed further in our Quote Section.



Here's a fantastic image from A.D. Cameron's book on the Caledonian Canal, ISBN 0900963336, published in 1972.

You can see the continued development of the Muirtown area, with new buildings on the south side of the river and the old buildings of both Glen Albyn (on the left) and Glen Mhor (on the right) dominating the waterfront. 

There are a couple of interesting aspects to this photograph for Glen Mhor. Firstly, you can see a couple of new buildings from this angle. This is probably one of the best photographs for giving us a more insightful view of the cluster of waterfront buildings that dominate images from the canal.

The other aspect and I thank Alan for this (who also provided this image), is the boat outside of Glen Mhor. This is believed to be the Pibroch, built in 1957, 30 meters long, which was a diesel-powered boat owned by DCL. Best known for working around Clyde and Islay, it seems logical that she would attend other distilleries in the DCL portfolio with water access. She was in service with DCL until 1976, which gives us a potential timeline of this photograph. 

The shape of these boats (there was a sister ship called the Julia T, which I've yet to find the ownership details of) was distinctive, they also had a flat bottomed hull so they could land on beaches and were some of the last Clyde-built boats. The image itself is credited to the Highland and Islands Development Board. Alan can recall seeing the Pibroch at least once in the Muirtown basin.

She was the second boat to bear this name and work the Islay route, the original which was built in 1923 was only retired when this newer version was completed in 1957. You can read more about the Pibroch in our original post.

You'll also notice some activity in the lead image, on the dock between the boat and Glen Mhor. This could just be a coincidence, but potentially it looks like a crane and some sort of transportation. Suggesting casks leaving the distillery, or potentially casks arriving from another distillery? Something to research further...

My thanks to Rose for her work on the photograph.




1972+

Also from the 1970s, comes this fantastic image courtesy of the Diageo Archives. It shows 3 workers moving a cask that was distilled in 1936. All of the photographs within the archive so far (by admission, there aren't that many) come from the 1970s onwards. So, this suggests they all herald from the period of the DCL ownership, which would be from 1972.

Apart from reminding us of the manual nature of distilling whisky in the 1970s, it also underlines the fact that Mackinlay & Birnie did not utilise all of their maturing inventory for their blends or the Glen Mhor single malt. Tantalisingly, older casks were kept on site.



1972+

Also from the 1970s, comes this fantastic image courtesy of the Diageo Archives. This gives us a great perspective of the distillery. We can see the enclosed layout with the production buildings on the right (seen better in the 1977 photo) and the warehousing to the left - with the football ground behind these. The photograph of the men with the cask would have been taken at the back of this distillery with the ramp. 

And the sign looks relatively new, confirming the new ownership and we know from a later image dated November 1975, it was in place.




No date specified, but I feel this is likely the late 1970s and gives us perspective on the cluster of buildings that stood against the canal. These would have been the production buildings and have a jumbled nature from the additions from the original distillery layout. You can appreciate how close the housing on Telford Street is - thanks to the Diageo Archives for this photograph. 



And a similar angle and photograph from the same era. This is the most seen colour photograph of Glen Mhor and appeared in Ulf's Rare Malt's book. Image kindly provided by Diageo Archives.





12th May 1974 

From Canmore, we have the distillery and you can visit their page and zoom in and explore the image in greater detail:



Also from the same date, this image gives us a perspective of the canal and looking towards both distilleries.




1 November 1975


A rare image of a Glen Mhor employee - Angus MacKay, head brewer, taken by Corrigan for a promotional newspaper article that appeared in the United States in 1975 in various publications - the full article will be appearing in our newspaper section soon.






30th May 1976


Also from Canmore, again, click on the website link to zoom in:



1977


This image also from Canmore, is described as 'This view shows the distillery from the south-east. As can be seen, the buildings were arranged round a courtyard. The three-storey building in the centre was the maltings; the top of the kiln can be seen behind the elevator tower. 






1980

 
This better resolution image is kindly provided by the Diageo Archives, and the Carnmore description reads as: 'This view shows the distillery courtyard, with the main productive buildings to the rear. To the right are the maltings, converted to operate on the Saladin mechanised principle. On the left is the end of one of the maturing warehouses.' A speed limit of 5mph on site!




April 1980

We're taking you back in time to April 1980 and the hustle and bustle of the Caledonian Canal and into the Muirtown basin.

Just on the right of the image, you can see a couple of buildings from Glen Mhor. What looks like the original maltings with the ugly modern boxed extension. Then, beyond this, you can just make out the distinctive white buildings of Glen Albyn.

I love this perspective as it showcases how important water access was and how close these 2 distilleries were to one another. Another feature is the level area between the canal and Glen Mhor. Today, all that remains are the houses and a wall. Neither of which really highlight the drop into the modern retail unit.

Image kindly provided by Canal Plan.


1980s?


Another great image from Caley Thistle Online gives us an overhead view and a sense of scale in colour.





1985

The date of this great aerial image from Carnmore is unknown, but the second image is dated as being 1985 and with the detail being identical i.e. the boats moored up. We know this was taken on the same fly past. It allows us to compare both distillery sites at their maximum size before demolition, as both would have been mothballed at this time. Were these images used to sell their respective sites?



The following image also from 1985, is wrongly labelled as Glen Albyn, you can tell it is Glen Mhor with the football ground behind. 


And thanks to modern technology, we can zoom in and see Glen Mhor and its layout from above...




1980s


Not sure of the date here but you can appreciate what a view backdrop those warehouses make. Photo credit: Caley.




10th January 1986


A rare sighting of a Glen Mhor employee. Back row, second from the left, is Glen Mhor's head warehouse operator, Mr D.J. MacDonald. Receiving his long service award from Scottish Malt Distillers. You can read more about this in our article.


1987

This might seem like a boring canal-side view, but it's an important photograph as it gives us a sense of the in-between. A gap in time from a previous existence and what awaited...

The distillery was demolished in 1986 and this image from Geograph comes with the following caption:

'Inverness, Caledonian Canal between Muirtown Swing Bridge (A862) and Muirtown Locks.

The Caledonian Canal is a canal in Scotland that connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Corpach near Fort William. It was constructed in the early nineteenth century by engineer Thomas Telford, and is a sister canal of the Göta Canal in Sweden, also constructed by Telford.'

So, all about the canal, but in taking this, we can see beyond where Glen Mhor once stood into the Caledonian football ground behind, which predated the distillery and ultimately would suffer a similar fate, just a few years later. 

A closer inspection on the left shows a new construction which is likely to be the extension onto the back of the house at the top of the lane, which is now a cafe. The wall is also being constructed, likely as a safeguard as the drop would be significant when the groundworks were completed. And the single-vehicle cuts a lonely figure amongst it all. Rounding off a sad photograph in many ways.




1994-96


In this image, you can see Glen Mhor has gone, replaced by the Comet retail unit, soon the football ground was to follow.





A visit from Potstill.org found some remnants:





And here's what the site became with the loss of Glen Mhor and the football ground, with thanks to Completely Retail. You'll notice that some of the original houses on the canal front still exist which would have sat between Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor.




2011


Glen Mhor makes the headlines once again with the discovery of 3 crates beneath Earnest Shackleton's base camp in Antarctica. 3 bottles are examined by experts, which you can read more about in our Documentation Section - these are confirmed to be from Glen Mhor. Eventually, this would lead to a recreation whisky and range, commencing in 2011. These images from nzaht.org:





2014

If you compare this to our previous post, this perspective from the Muirtown Swing bridge looks back down towards where Glen Mhor once stood.

The residential housing stills stands but with an extension, which remains there to this day and is a cafe. The old stone wall that runs along the back of the quayside marks where Glen Mhor would have once stood. Beneath is the retail park that prompted the demolition and redevelopment of the distillery site.

Another angle from the canal itself gives you an idea of the scale and size of the waterway and the proximity of where the distillery would have once stood.



These images were taken in 2014 and are kindly provided by Canal Plan, we'll add these to our photograph section in due course.


May 2021

My own visit to the site of Glen Mhor, which you can read in full here.



 



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