A Century of Shopping along Rosemarkie High Street
A long established public house, extensively renovated by John Robb who was still the publican in Slater’s Directory, 1911. John Robb bought the disused meal mill at the bottom of Mill Road and turned it into a Laundry, washing bedding for the army at Fort George. The bedclothes were transported to and fro by ferry from Ardesier to Chanonry Point. It is said that although the sheets were put round the mill wheel and wetted the blankets just got a good shake before being returned as ‘clean’.
The Plough continues to be a public house and also serves good quality food in competition with the ‘Crofters’, a bistro type restaurant in what used to be the Baths and there is also the ‘Beach Café’ at the mouth of the Fairy Glen, which sells sandwiches and ice cream.
Craigbank Bridge Street (demolished) MacRae, Tailor
Census 1901, Slater’s Directory, 1911. Kenneth MacRae was a master tailor and employer. The shop was burnt down by Polish soldiers in the Army in the Second World War. The building consisted of 2 rooms on the ground floor and 4 bedrooms above. The Inland Revenue Survey (1911) described it as ‘cheaply constructed’ with ‘wooden walls plastered and harled’. Rod Anderson who was employed by McRae built a shed in his back garden so he could continue working.
37 High Street Panacea
Panacea, Herbal Remedies removed from Dingwall in 2011. The premises had stood empty for some years but before that had been the Post Office. The Post Office made local history some twenty years ago, when it was robbed at gunpoint and the postmaster assaulted.
Previous to that it had been Jones the shoe shop. Catherine Jones had a mobile van and was still selling shoes, drapery and haberdashery around the Black Isle in the 1970s. Sandra Jack described going into the shop as ‘entering Aladdin’s cave’. Mrs Jones sold everything one could possibly need in the drapery line.
In the 1930s Rosemarkie boasted two high-class ironmongery, grocery and provisions. Daniel Fraser specialised in grocery and provisions at 37, High Street. He set up his brother George, who had been gassed in the Great War, as ironmonger ‘up the street’.
In 1911 the shop was a Cash Grocers run by William Robb. In Slater’s Directory William Robb is described as a grocer. Robb was tenant to Alexander Sinclair, merchant (son of Ephraim Sinclair, salmon fisher). This General Merchant/Refreshment Caterer sold among other things, Cadbury’s Bourneville Chocolate
15 High Street (private house)
The Bakery –George McFarlane (Slater’s 1911) shop and bake house in the rear – all equipment still on site. George McFarlane was a baker and confectioner employing his wife, Elizabeth, Donald Macdonald , journeyman baker and James Fraser, apprentice baker. George McFarlane went bankrupt in 1915. M. MacGillivray took over in the 1930s.
13 High Street (private house) Post Office
The OS map 1904 edition records this as the location for the Post Office. It was the Post Office again in the 1930s when Mabel Fraser, wife of George Fraser, ironmonger, was Post Mistress. She also sold sweets and wool. The Post office is also recorded as part of Hugh Homes’s Grocer/Ironmonger (Slater’s Directory 1911) in what is now Doric House. Daniel Fraser took over the Post Office from his sister-in-law, Mabel, after the Second World War when he moved into George’s Ironmongery (now known as ‘Comfort Foods’) The PO stayed in that building as part of Alexander’s General Store. The modern Post Office operated from 37, High Street until 2005.
There was also a Post office pre 1900, in the grounds of the Plough Inn (building in front of Plough –now demolished)
Miller’s Hotel. Facing down High Street (now private housing)
Miller’s Hotel run in 1911 by Miss Margaret Miller, spirit dealer. Owned by Margaret and her brother John, Rose Cottage, 2, High Street. Elizabeth Sutherland writes that the coaching inn had a four-horse coach, wagonettes and a phaeton. The Miss Millers were instrumental in raising funds for the erection of the Gordon Memorial Hall in 1904. Miss Agnes Miller had been married to a Gordon.
Doric House formerly Ivy House (private house)
This imposing classical building with its pillars and steps up to the door was built by Andrew Steavenson, a General Merchant . Steavenson was Provost of Fortrose in 1837.
John Carpenter Steavenson, General Merchant, sold rifles, furniture and watches and leased salmon fishing from Hogarth. He bought Drumarkie, changed the name to St Helena and planted willow cuttings from Napoleon’s grave around the well.
Hugh Home, later, had his Grocer, Ironmonger business at Doric House. His son Michael ran the Post Office according to Slater’s Directory 1911 and the 1911 Census
By the 1930s it was occupied by M.MacGillivray, a ‘High Class’ Grocer, Newsagent and Stationer who also sold golf, tennis and bathing requisites.
Post war Kenneth Cumming had his butchery there before moving next door to what is now ‘Comfort Foods’. The Valuation Roll 1971/2 shows him at 14 High Street.
Very recently established as a high-class deli, Comfort Foods, with an excellent range of goods. Rosemarkie came close to loosing its butchers shop when Kenneth Cumming closed up his butcher shop. Various individuals took over but were unable to make a butcher’s shop profitable until Penelope Keith’s husband expanded it into a deli. Kenneth Cumming was butcher here for many years before that it was Alexander’s.
Alexander Alexander had a bakehouse and shop in the High Street in Fortrose but developed the Rosemarkie shop as a General Store selling not only bread but groceries. It was also the Post Office. Valuation Roll 1971/2 records Alexander Alexander in Rosemarkie.
Previous to that it had been Daniel Fraser’s grocery/ironmongery
This was the other half of D. and G. Fraser selling high-class groceries and provisions. Daniel moved onto this site after the war following the death of his brother, George, and took over the Post Office from Mabel Fraser. He was still there in mid 50s.
No shop recorded in 1911 Census
‘old thatched’ cottage, High Street Ross, Shoemaker
Thomas Ross is recorded as shoemaker in both the 1901 and the 1911 Census. He was still working aged 78 in 1911. His wife Margaret, 70, has had 12 children but 10 died. His surviving son, William, was a mason’s labourer.
? High Street Miller, Butcher
Thomas Ross the shoemaker rented a half house, shop and garden to Robert Miller. Valuation Roll 1911/12
Groam House Maclean, Draper, Stationer, Milliner
Annie Douglas Maclean is recorded as a grocer in Slater’s 1911 but described as ‘merchant drapery’ and ‘stationer’ in the 1911 census plus ‘milliner’ in the 1901 census . She worked from home.
Back Road Alexander Ross, Blacksmith
Recorded in Slater’s 1911 and marked on the OS map 1904 edition as ‘Smithy’ next to the junction on Courthill Road. Jenny Paterson can remember a smithy there when she was a child in the 1930s. Alexander Ross died in 1936, aged 71. The buildings, both house and smithy, are described as ‘old’, constructed from stone with a slate roof. (IRS 1911) Alexander Ross owned both the smithy and the adjacent cottage. He employed William Alexander as a journeyman blacksmith. He rented several rigs of land in the locality.