Inverness Bakers

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My grandfather, F. Gordon Harper, used to own and operate a bakery on Telford Street in Inverness, not very far from the old Inverness Caledonian football stadium. It was either named "The Telford Bakery" or "The Highland Bakery", although I must admit I'm not sure. This was long before I was born, and all of that I know has been told to me by my mother, Helen, who was Gordon Harper's daughter.

I believe my grandfather bought the bakery in 1930 or 1931 upon his return from Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. In 1937, he sold the bakery to an Englishman named Commander Vyner, who had come north to invest in the Highlands.

Gordon Harper became Vyner's GM, and continued to oversee the bakery's operation as part of his duties. 

After the Second World War - in about 1947, I believe - my grandfather bought the bakery back from Vyner, and went into partnership with his younger brother, Jim Harper, who had returned to Inverness from New Zealand in 1934.

In about 1953, my grandfather sold the bakery again (this time to his brother, Jim), and bought the news agency "Bowes" at 32 (?) Young Street on the west side of the River Ness just across the road bridge, and subsequently acquired another news agency "Wards" in Eastgate.

Grandad died in 1965, and my grandmother - Mrs A A 'Ina' Harper - continued to run both news agencies. Wards disappeared during the first redevelopment of Eastgate, but Bowes continued in the family until my grandmother sold it, too, in about 1977. Ina Harper died in 1980.

My grandparents, Gordon & Ina Harper, lived on Island Bank Road, owning two houses there - 'Valleyfield' at no. 27 and 'Maybank' at no. 20. Neither house has been in the family for decades, with Maybank being sold off in 1978 and Valleyfield in 1984.

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I remember "Valleyfield" very well.  It was next to the Carol nursing home where my old Dad was head gardener in the late 1940s/early 50s. We lived in the gardener's cottage which was at the back of the nursing home fronting on to Drummond Crescent.  Valleyfield's large garden backed on to Drummond Crescent also.  It contained a large open field at the back with a set of goalposts in it which all us local kids were allowed to use.  The Harper's had two boys, Frank and Sandy.  If I'm getting my generations correct you must we the son of one of these two.

Sandy Harper was closer in age to me than Frank. He was 3 or 4 years older than me.  He was brilliant with us younger kids, always arranging games for for us, like football, cricket and athletics.  Well do I remember the "Drummond Crescent Olympics" he organised.  Sandy also took me to my first Highland League game, Clach v Caley at Grant Street.  I became a Caley fan immediately, and remain so to this day (ICT of course since 1994).   We moved to Hilton in 1951 and I lost touch with Sandy.  Last I heard he was a doctor in Canada.

I guess he would be late 70's in age now, and Frank in his 80s.  I'd love to hear what became of them.  You can PM me if you prefer.


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