This photograph shows the Highland Hotel, Strathpeffer. It was built by the Highland Railway Company to its standard design in 1911 and overlooked the main Pump Room in the centre of the village.
Strathpeffer lies 4 miles (6 km) west of Dingwall in the strath of the River Peffery. It owes its growth and popularity to the discovery of sulphurous springs there in the 1770s. A Dr Morrison from Aberdeenshire publicised the healing powers of the waters at the beginning of the 19th century and, on his recommendation, the first wooden pump room was built in 1819. In 1861 a strong stone pump room replaced the original wooden building.
With the strong support of the then Countess of Cromartie, Strathpeffer developed as a Victorian spa resort, its popularity greatly enhanced by the opening of the Strathpeffer branch of the Dingwall and Skye Railway in 1885. Many grand hotels and substantial Victorian villas were built to accommodate the steady stream of visitors who came to 'take the waters'. These improved facilities meant that Strathpeffer could compete with other spa towns in Britain and Europe. Until World War I the village was a major visitor attraction but thereafter its popularity declined.
The main Pump Room was demolished in the 1950s but the Upper Pump Room, next to the Pavilion, still remains. It now houses a range of interpretive displays which reveal the history behind the development of the Spa and visitors can again sample the healing waters. Strathpeffer is once more popular with tourists, its large Victorian hotels and guesthouses providing accommodation for visitors touring the Highlands. Among the village's other attractions are a scenic golf course, the Museum of Childhood and the Strathpeffer Spa Pavilion.
This photograph is featured in Then and Now