and this is how it looked before the redevelopment renovations of it
look further down to view the construction of it
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Out of the supporter logos shown, in awarding £650,000 for the project, it would make LifeScan a main donator from the 51 of them mentioned, plus the North British Hotels Trust £100,000 donated included in a handful of separate personnel photographs.
In January 2004 the Glasgow-based Page Park architects were appointed as designers for the re-development of the Eden Court Theatre built
in the year 1976, and the Victorian Bishops Palace 1878 building noted as requiring complete restoration.
By December the same year, 2004, the appeal for funds reached £1million, and a year later in November 2005, Robertson Contractors were appointed to carry out the re-development plans.
By February 2006 a 30 metre crane was erected, and the foundations were laid in March, with the ground floor of the L-shaped new block extension completed before the end of the year time-scale when the windows were set-in place in the Bishops Palace building.
Three months later, it was the last day of the first three in the month of May 2006 that I set foot back in Inverness, a City for me it always has been since away back in the middle 1940s when government officials in its castle decided that I was a likely lad for shipment to Europe, which they succeeded in doing.
It was in the winter of 2005 that because of a surgical operation when I though “I’d had it” the magic of yesteryear brought me back, but such fond memories are completely lost at the sight of this much neglected city as it looks today.
See my letter to The Inverness Courier not published, not adjacent to this review, but it's on the Kings Jazz Review website home page.
One day after several weeks elapsed, just as I had done in often times before on dry days, as well as the sunny ones, walking through The Highland Council offices buildings car park on my way to sit down by the riverside to both admire the scenery and get engrossed in the content of my next jazz review - it happens.
Whilst passing the Eden Court Theatre structure, looking like the six photos above and the one below for months, a place of deserted workmen but for a single lookout man walking on his way back to the cabin, when a spontaneous, off the cuff shout came from me towards him - thus:
“why does it need the occupants of the only one lonesome contractors car in your car park erect such a monotonous, monstrous looking edifice, when it takes over 400 car loads of Highland Council people (not persons) to tell us what not to do?” He turned his head, looked at me,
and smiled without any stumbling in his walk to where he was going - that cabin.
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During the long daylight days, my walks on the Castle high ground overlooking the Ness River towards the Eden Court beyond the Cathedral from on the edge of the Crown area, any concerns about the dormant distant crane to me, and, perhaps others were minimal but for ONE thing.
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It must have been the Saturday morning before the official opening day of Sunday the 4th of November 2007 that I set out on my routine walk, because the Highland Council car park had only a few cars and a couple of buses in it.
The Bishops Road runs opposite touching the inroad from it leading to the now rear of the theatre where the artists entrance is in a central place of that part of the new L-shaped extension, and it, the road, follows on running down alongside the two new cinemas, the Jim Love Studio, etc, etc, where the entrance to the 1976 theatre was placed, of the new extension construction block, following on along past it down to the Ness Walk avenue, which runs by the river. The above aerial shot has been taken from the 23/11/2007 Inverness Courier
Hilarious laughter, as I spoke to one of the road resurfacing workmen asking him to account for the road junction flooding to be eliminated.
We just follow the contours of the road. So I go home to get my camera and took the three road tarmac equipment at work pictures - see seven dots lines above - plus the one with the new wading-bird pool in it taken a couple of days later after the tarmac workmen had done their part of the road.
The part of the Bishops Road, flooding in question as seen in photo that was re-surfaced - the pool is now close to a drain.
Look how smooth the tarmac road is in the above r/h photo with the puddle, pond, flood in it. Note the rough square patch of a makeshift roadwork job in the two either side photos taken today Thursday the 29th of November 2007, to cover up the puddle also, showing how the cover up job moved the ponding, pooling, flooding, whatever the Council likes to call it , onto both sides of the drain.
The whole road surface of the car park, artist’s entry area is a mess.
There is little wonder why the Inverness alumni couple from Hants, England whilst on a visit here had had to write to the Courier about the perilous state of the streets of our once lovely City.
However, after walking home from listening to a couple of hours of Traditional jazz music in the Glen Mhor Hotel evenings along the Ness Bank at the going down of the setting suns whilst gazing across the river at the crane perched high up above all the buildings situated along the Ness Walk a forlorn looking metal piece yet majestic, guarding the town with sheer sturdiness in strength, patiently awaiting for someone to come and take command of it - I actually watched the crane being dismantled. It was an effortless performance. A real pleasure to watch - and I thought to myself.
Yes, there were several days and nights when the wind howled and blew and blew, blowing things apart, which has delighted me to be able to give praise to this our Highland Council, that is to say, if it was their responsibility for these peripheral trussed-up forsaken, Eden Court Theatre modification, structure, erections, because not one steel rod of scaffolding had collapsed, also, the mighty crane just stood there holding its crane up high, firm as a rock, a mindless brave to the windy storms – great – praise indeed to whoever acually did construct them. Not a desk worker job.
Coming up to the end of May 2007 was when I got word of the film “Jazz on a Summer’s Day” was showing on Thursday the 24th at 8pm in the Eden Court temporary cinema situated by the canal close to Bught Park way, but I had to book tickets for the same.
It was then that I first discovered that the workmen were back on site as I was told by them to get me a ticket at the Debenham Store
in Eastgate box office - to which I did, and got one.
The above central photo of inside the cafe - restaurant is by looking from outside the window to the left of the front entrance and box office.
Note inside through the left hand window pane is seen the end of the theatre name truss. See the below two photographs.
The Inverness Courier of Friday the 2nd of November 2007 informs that at last, indeed, it had taken Robertson contractors over two years for the Eden Court to re-open its doors, which was on the 4th of November, further on writing what Colin Marr the director of programmes had going for the future of the enlarged theatre including two cinemas, noting it will include classical and folk music without any mention of Traditional Classic jazz, but I note that there is a jazz dance for teenagers, and that he intends featuring amateur musicals, seen with interest on BBC television – fine, but.
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Is it a significant cultural development as intended? --- My answer to that is, yes it is.
Is it the biggest multi-arts centre in Scotland as intended? --- My answer to that is, I don’t know.
However, if biggest was a remit in the terms where such a condition must reflect on cost and NOT quality of a creation, then that must be a reason why I cannot describe the renovated Eden Court Theatre as a showpiece?
Why the need for two cinemas in one place?
On the above Inverness Courier aerial view of the development, take a look at the part of the extension with the long high front two air vent towers sticking up on it, if that section had not been part of the construction, savings from it would not only have produced a greater inviting frontage piece - look at the distorted view one gets of the Bishops Palace, (see photos above) where those neat but small signs could be placed on the rear and side walls of the building in favour of a grander much shorter-higher lit up sign entrance.
The remainder of the £23m savings could have resurfaced a vast number of the streets of Inverness to a state that not only would tourists and visitors admire, but would make citizens proud to live in their city. Have the people of Inverness been taken to the cleaners?
Kings Jazz Review
Friday the 30th of November 2007