Yay! I’ve found one benefit of the quiet streets of lockdown – I really love these vibrant church doors, but the particular church in question is right on a busy city centre street that is usually congested with traffic during the day, so I never manage to find a moment when the street is empty enough to get a clear shot. But look! A beautiful triptych of purple doors! 🙂
The base of the tower of the Old High Church dates to around the 15th Century, making the lower tower the oldest structure in Inverness – I wonder if that includes this lovely little wooden door inserted half way up the wall?
The rest of the current church itself was built in the late 1700s, but apparently there have been multiple churches on this hilly spot since the times of St Columba, who reputedly brought Christianity to the Pictish peoples who lived at that time in what is now Inverness, preaching from St Michael’s Mount here on the banks of the River Ness in AD565.
Since the early 1700s there has been a curfew bell rung every evening – originally at 5pm but nowadays at 8pm – as when Inverness was built mainly of timber structures, walking with an open flame would have been a definite fire hazard and without a lamp it was deemed too dangerous to be out and about in the dark.
From our house we can actually hear the curfew bell ringing in the distance but it’s quickly become one of those everyday background noises you just seem to filter out because it’s just always there. Obviously there’s no actual legal curfew due to fire risk any more, just a stay at home strategy due to coronavirus, but 300 years on it’s nice to have that continuity of tradition.
When I was young I used to think it was called the High Church simply because it was on a high hill, and I was almost right – apparently in the days when the church steeple would easily have been the highest building around, it literally was the high church! 🙂
For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.
P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!
There are loads of old churches in Inverness, as with many old towns, and many have been repurposed. This particular old church in, um, Church Street is now Leakey’s second hand bookshop! It’s full from top to bottom with books and maps and pictures and all things paper-based, and it smells all old-booky and papery delicious…
Personally I can browse randomly in there for ages, but I suppose the only problem would be if you were trying to find one specific thing squirrelled away somewhere in all the middle of all those full-to-bursting shelves, as it seems the Dewey Decimal System is definitely not part of the overall mix – now applying that really would be a conundrum! 🙂
The lovely old iron-studded wooden door of St John’s Church, Leytonstone, East London, where I live. (I mean I live in Leytonstone, not the church!) The cold bright winter sun really brought out the detail this morning as I walked past, so I thought I’d share it with you for this week’s Thursday Doors 🙂
The first stone of the building was laid in July 1832, and the church was consecrated in October 1833.
Having a little wander around the residential back streets of Leytonstone I found a huge old church I didn’t even know was there. It seemed quite delapidated to begin with, so I took a few shots of the clearly long-unused side doors towards the back of the building – the rusting ironwork hinge detail was lovely.
As I walked towards the front I found what I assumed to be rather more promising entrance doors but no, they too were gated and padlocked, and had clearly been kept closed for some time.
But finally on the other side of the building I found signs of modern-day activity and the main doors to gain access to the body of the church – still old and very well used, but clean and tidy. And look how worn down the sandstone step is after generations of feet crossing the threshold!
I looked it up after I got home, and St Margaret with St Columba is a late Victorian neo-Gothic Parish Church built in 1892 – around the same time as much of Leytonstone expanded into suburbia 🙂