1864-5. 2-storey, 13-bay, rectangular-plan, symmetrical, gabled, 1,000-seat grandstand with Italianate street frontage of domestic appearance and open elevation with tiered seating between gabled end bays facing meeting ground. Harled with painted ashlar dressings. Overhanging eaves.
ARDROSS STREET (N) ELEVATION: 2-storey, 15-bay elevation. Central 2-leaf timber-panelled front door with fanlight, mullioned side lights, bracketed cornice and pediment. 5 bays flanking to each side with regular fenestration at ground floor only and blind gablets rising from eaves with short ridge stacks. Slightly advanced end bays with 2-leaf timber panelled doors in corniced round-arched architraves with prominent keystones and fanlights; corniced string course and round-arched window above.
MEETING GROUND (S) ELEVATION: 13-bay open elevation to seating area; roof supported on cast-iron columns; ornamental timber fretwork panels between columns with highly ornamental cast-iron cresting in same style. 6 tiers of raked seating with timber benches; panelled boxes at rear. Gabled end pavilions with round-arched doorways at ground and double round-arched windows with prominent keystones at 1st floor. Late 20th century single storey, flat-roofed extensions to outer left and right.
Large-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Tooled, coped ashlar stacks with assorted clay cans. Grey slates with lead flashing. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
BOUNDARY WALL AND GATEPIERS: high, ashlar-coped, random rubble boundary wall. Stop-chamfered, pyramidal-capped gatepiers to various entrances (some 20th century); wrought-iron gates dated 2000.
Statement of Special Interest
The pavilion is a fine example of a little-altered mid 19th century covered grandstand, and may indeed be the earliest and best surviving example of such a building in Scotland. The street elevation, with its simple Italianate detailing is very striking, and its rather domestic aspect is an interesting solution of how to integrate such a building into the streetscape. The park elevation, with its fine fretwork panelled front and nicely-detailed end pavilion is also good, and the retention of the historic wooden benches is also particularly worthy of note. The games were a very popular event and the high boundary wall was necessary to control the numbers of people attending.
The pavilion was built for The Northern Meeting, a society established in 1788 to encourage reconciliation in the aftermath of the battle of Culloden in 1746. The land for the park was purchased by the Northern Meeting in 1864 since when it has been the home of their annual highland games. Prior to this date the Northern Meeting held their games at various locations in the town, erecting a temporary grandstand each year. The pavilion cost £1709 to build. The Northern Meeting Park was sold to Inverness Town Council in 1946.