Thursday, July 23, 2009

Improvement of the "Brighton of the North" - A suggestion to the intelligent Provost of Nairn

'Those of our readers who have not for sometime seen the enterprising and therefore flourishing town of Nairn, will be much and agreeably surprised on their first visit to that favourite bathing place to witness the many miraculous improvements which have taken place there of Late - such as the erection of that picturesque yet suitable building, the Marine Hotel, creditable alike to the proprietors and Mr. Matthews the architect; the British Linen Company's new Bank a specimen of the pure taste of the Messrs. Reid: the building, yet unfinished, exhibiting the spirited localata of Mr. Gordon; the Episcopal chapel and school raised at the expense of Mr. Keith's congregation; the various villas and shops which wourd adorn a metropolis; with many other edifices, public and private, recently reared and in course of rearing - all betokening a healthy state of energetic advancement not to be found elsewhere in the North, excepting always the beautiful "city" of Elgin, which has been so greatly indebted to the amor patria of its Lord Provost.
Having so many objects of new beauty and interest upon which to cast our eyes during our brief stay in this ancient Portobello, we had almost omitted to mention one house which has undergone a scarcely credible metamorphosis; we allude to the prominence of Mr. MacGillivray, the wine merchant and distributor of stamps. Less than twelve months ago this tenement presented a dingy and gloomy aspect rather approaching to an eyesore than otherwise, but now, under the magic influence of Mr. MacGillivrays "presto change", it has become one of the chastest of Nairn's many handsome business structures.
Admiring, as we do the highly elaborated and ornate style which prevails in the modern banks and domiciles of our maritime burgh, we must acknowledge as to our liking the quiet unobtrusive plainness which Mr. McG. has adopted in constructing a place for business purpose. Had this feeling and good taste been more manifest in Glasgow of late year, we might not have had to deplore the casualties of the Western Bank, and many therewith connected. The Macdonald monument may testify as to the justice of our remark. The solidity of Mr. McG's masonry in our opinion (we speak commercially), would indicate the solidity of his business, and tnough highly approving the public spirit of those who have added so much to the beauty (Magnificance might be the proper word) of their "civic town" we mean nothing invidious, but rather a compliment, when we admit our partiality for that judgment which discriminates between a palace and a cottage, a church and a school room. From what has been said, some may imagine that Mr. McG is altogether utilitarian - to suppose as would be to commit an error. He has preserved the room of "Bonnie Prince Charlie" in its original state of antique pannelling, whitst his other refined notions are exhibited by the tasteful arrangement of the entrance to the house, where, alongside the doorway, is a very handsome conservatory, thus combining happily the dulce et utile.

The laying of the foundation-stone of a new Chapel is gratifying proof that whilst the good folks of Nairn are attending to the things of this world, they are not forgetting the more important matters which pertain to the next.
Rumour reports that more improvements are still on the tapis. Mr. R. Falconer we understand, contemplates a scientific "Laboratory" opposite the Hotel, almost rivalling the unique chemical, pharmaceutical, and inexplicable emporium of Mr. Leslie. The Glasgow Arms has the tree, the fish and the bell, with "Let Glasgow flourish" for its motto.
We would suggest to the intelligent Provost of Nairn that the "guid town" should adapt the "Rail, the fish, and the bath", rendering it intelligible by the motto "Nairn can bigg" '
That excellent report on the state of Nairn comes from the Inverness Advertiser of 2nd April 1861 and shows how Nairn had made great strides forward in the eyes of the town's neighbours. A copy arrived at Gurn Headquarters by snail mail (a first for the Gurn) and we were delighted to publish (republish). It came with a wee covering note suggesting that Gurnites need something to smile about and was enigmatically signed 'Main and Main', to whom the Gurn team are extemely grateful. Things were obviously really moving in 1861, I wonder how long it will be before the Inverness press can say the same Nairn in new millennium language?

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