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Aerial view of Invergordon, 1975

Invergordon was named after Caithness born Sir William Gordon of Embo, who purchased the estate during the early 18th century. Prior to this, the settlement was known as Inverbreakie. By the time of the Statistical Account of Scotland (1791-99) there was a village of some size at the Ness of Invergordon where vessels of 100 tons could lie safely and load or unload their cargo close to the shore. Coal and lime were regularly brought in by sea.

However, it was not until the estate passed into the hands of the MacLeods of Cadboll that a harbour was built at Invergordon in 1828 and the town saw rapid growth. The harbour was extended in 1857 and it quickly became the main distributing port in the north of Scotland. The coming of the railway in 1863 and the proliferation of whisky distilleries further increased trade in the area.

Invergordon's natural deep harbour and its proximity to the Cromarty Firth have made it an ideal anchorage for ships. Its links with the Royal Navy date back to the 19th century and by the 20th century it was classed as an official base, playing host to the Home Fleet on many occasions. During both World Wars the Royal Navy used the dockyard facilities and fuel storage tanks at Invergordon.

The naval base at Invergordon finally closed in 1956 but at the end of the 1960s the British Aluminium Company built an aluminium smelter there. At the peak of production 1000 people worked at the smelter, one of the largest industrial works in the Highlands. Unfortunately, it proved to be uneconomic and closed in December 1981.

During the 1970s, when this photograph was taken, Invergordon saw a resurgence of development through the oil industry. Its close proximity to North Sea oilfields made the area an ideal location for oilrig construction and maintenance. The construction industry has now declined but Invergordon remains an important centre for oilrig maintenance. Sea cargo and the cruise liner trade also ensure that the harbour continues to thrive.

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Aerial view of Invergordon, 1975

ROSS: Rosskeen

1970s

aerial photography; harbours; ports; settlements; villages; towns; estates; railways; World War 1; World War I; First World War; World War 2; World War II; Second World War; naval bases; smelters; jetties; cruise liners; aerial photographs

Highland Libraries

Aerial Views: Invergordon & Nigg

Invergordon was named after Caithness born Sir William Gordon of Embo, who purchased the estate during the early 18th century. Prior to this, the settlement was known as Inverbreakie. By the time of the Statistical Account of Scotland (1791-99) there was a village of some size at the Ness of Invergordon where vessels of 100 tons could lie safely and load or unload their cargo close to the shore. Coal and lime were regularly brought in by sea. <br /> <br /> However, it was not until the estate passed into the hands of the MacLeods of Cadboll that a harbour was built at Invergordon in 1828 and the town saw rapid growth. The harbour was extended in 1857 and it quickly became the main distributing port in the north of Scotland. The coming of the railway in 1863 and the proliferation of whisky distilleries further increased trade in the area.<br /> <br /> Invergordon's natural deep harbour and its proximity to the Cromarty Firth have made it an ideal anchorage for ships. Its links with the Royal Navy date back to the 19th century and by the 20th century it was classed as an official base, playing host to the Home Fleet on many occasions. During both World Wars the Royal Navy used the dockyard facilities and fuel storage tanks at Invergordon.<br /> <br /> The naval base at Invergordon finally closed in 1956 but at the end of the 1960s the British Aluminium Company built an aluminium smelter there. At the peak of production 1000 people worked at the smelter, one of the largest industrial works in the Highlands. Unfortunately, it proved to be uneconomic and closed in December 1981.<br /> <br /> During the 1970s, when this photograph was taken, Invergordon saw a resurgence of development through the oil industry. Its close proximity to North Sea oilfields made the area an ideal location for oilrig construction and maintenance. The construction industry has now declined but Invergordon remains an important centre for oilrig maintenance. Sea cargo and the cruise liner trade also ensure that the harbour continues to thrive.