Overlooking the town and the River NEss, Viewhill House is a building of particular significance to the history of Inverness and its built heritage.
It was the home of the Victorian engineer Joseph Mitchell. His name may not be familiar to many, but his story charts an incredible transformation in the Highlands. A former pupil of Inverness royal academy, he started work as a young apprentice stonemason working on the Caledonian Canal. His skill as draughtsman was spotted by Thomas Telford, who took him under his wing. After a few years in London, he returned to the highlands. Although he started working on roads and bridges, his was involved in the development of the early railways and was instrumental in bringing the railways to Inverness in the 1850s, when many of his peers were convinced that it was an impossible.
He was one of the original directors of the Caledonian bank. The bank was set up in Inverness to provide finance to Highland businesses that were being badly served by southern banks. The bank was very popular and in no time at all had branches throughout the Highlands.
Viewhill house was designed and built by Joseph Mitchell as his own home. It has a majestic view over the city to the West. The design was fresh and new for the time, moving away from the Italianate and Georgian styles of the day to something more modern and functional, with some suggestions of Scottish Baronial detailing, that would become fashionable much later in the 1870’s.
Viewhill House has been a source of concern for many years, since it first went on fire in 2007. It has been a burnt-out shell for 12 years now and people are naturally concerned about the condition of the property and its future.
The loss of this building would be a tragedy for Inverness and MAAC Studio have been working hard to find a solution that might secure its future. We are currently working with Impact Hub Inverness and Highland Historic Buildings Trust to assess the condition of the structure and ascertain whether the building can be saved.
MAAC studio are accredited conservation architects and principal designers working with traditional buildings throughout Scotland.