New Houses at Glen Mhor Distillery 28th October 1946
Approved by the Dean Guild a fortnight after an application to extend the worker's cottage at Glen Mhor, Mackinlay & Birnie made a new request to further expand their employee accommodation.
This request, approved by A. G. Stewart, represents a significant investment in their workforce and departs from the ongoing expansion of the current workers' cottages. Instead, it pioneers a new approach and breaks new ground on the site. Titled, One Block of Two Four Apartment Houses At Glenmhor Distillery, the new building drastically expands the available residential resource
This action, in reality, establishes and completes the façade of the Glen Mhor location, as depicted in the images from the 1980s. The completion of the frontage on Telford Street and the opposite side of the Distillery Office, which was established in 1924.
It is gratifying to confirm from these plans that a tangible structure associated with Glen Mhor continues to exist today. Formerly, it was thought that solely the quayside wall was a vestige of that epoch, however, we can now assert with certainty that certain workers' lodgings have persevered to this day.
I have long harboured suspicions about the house that partially houses a Chinese takeaway (see images below) and the activity taking place at the Telford Street border of the distillery site. Walking around the site multiple times, it can be difficult to remain focused due to the heavy traffic that passes along Telford Street. Pushing your senses away from the structures that line the promenade.
What this investment and the expansion of existing accommodation in 1946 shows, is the commitment from Mackinlay & Birnie to enhance the workers facilities on site. This project would have clear benefits for the workforce. Moreover, it would have provided much-needed accommodation to the area, especially considering the post-war context. Government grants and encouragement may have also been a factor.
However, I do not think that the need to increase production and return to normal distilling was the sole reason for the expansion of accommodation.
As confirmed by an article in the Inverness Courier from 1946, housing was a widespread issue in the Inverness area, with Muirtown, the residence of Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn, being specifically mentioned. The problem had become so acute that families were having to squat in ex-army buildings:
'The occupation of unused military and Air Ministry huts in Inverness by ex-Servicemen and their families, which began on Monday, has proceeded without interruption, and there are approximately 41 families squatting in Government property in various parts of the town. The huts - all of the Nissen type - are situated at the Longman Aerodrome, Raigmore Wood, Annfield Road, Porterfield Road and Muirtown. The squatters, all ex-servicemen have come from the Kessock district, Haugh district, Telford Gardens, Friars Lane, Culcabock, Grieg Street, Cameron Road and Inshes. All are determined to stay in the huts until the town provides them with permanent accommodation.'
I'll leave you to contemplate the legacy and significance of the fact that the Panda Garden Chinese Takeaway in Inverness is the only remaining structure of the Glen Mhor distillery, alongside the semi-residential neighbour. I have not yet requested a takeout, but I believe that this should be an option available for my future visits. What would be the concept for a dish inspired by Glen Mhor?
We've watermarked the images from the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness to protect the originals, which are referenced as Telford Street - Dean of Guild Plans. As with any images on this website, please ask first before using and always give credit. My thanks to the Centre for their continued assistance.