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I was brought up in the highland orphanage Inverness now closed,is there anybody out there know of this place



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There was an orphanage in Aberlour - could that be the one?


Ah!  Culduthel House, Culduthel Road, in Inverness, was opened as an orphanage in1887 at the Golden Jubilee.

Highland Orphanage Annual Meeting presided over by General Macfarlane was told that the number of children housed was 76 - 39 girls & 37 boys. Managers' objections to Education Endowment (Scottish) Commissioners taking over the institute approved - Inverness Courier Tuesday, 29 August 1933

It was advertised as having 10 bedrooms, when sold in 1983. Wonder how all 76 were accommodated?

The 1911 census lists 'inmates'.  Before your time, I guess!  I wonder if the 1941 census could be accessed in special circumstances?


Thank You William,I went there at the age of 4,1937,did not have the best of times there,i am now 75.any news from would be good.


Hi Harold,

Good to talk to you today. I was scanning the Internet and found these photos of the Highland Orphanage.

I wish you a good reunion with your cousin Catherine.



Hi! Harold,Thankyou for the pics,if you look again at photos looking at ther entrance looking up to the right a window that was my bedroom with 6 others.Ishould of got your phone no and email address i was a bit nervy at the time however it was just wonderful to talk to you and lots more to come i hope.take care and best regards.Harold.


Hi Harold,

I can't imagine the traumatic experience you've endured by being placed in that orphanage at such an impressionable age. That would be similar to the experience of so many First Nation kids here in Canada who were taken away from home and placed in Residential Schools. The experience made some of the them stronger but also broke many of their spirits. The good news for you is that you've persevered, beat the oddds and made a wonderful successful life for you and family. 

I'm finding interesting traits in our Douglas side of the family of people having big hearts, compassion and tenacity:

-You've had a career in social services working with the disabled and have risen above a traumatic past.

-I'm finding out that there were a number of adoptions pin our side of the family.

-Your aunt Johan (my Grandmother) was openly kind, raising eleven kids and opening her door to many others despite being poor.

-After a career in the Army, I've worked in a youth prison and have worked with disabled disabled military Veterans over the last 20 years.  

Interesting how that works isn't it. I wonder if there are similar traits in other Douglas'. On my Leduc side of the family, our first ancestor Pierre Leduc came to Canada in 1691 from France as a soldier and coppersmith. His father was a sword maker. Traits from that side of the family include military service and being pretty handy with wood, metal, etc.

Lets keep in touch. I've learned lots from you during our brief call and look forward to learning more. I've sent you a private message with my phone number and email address.

By the way, I've posted a photo of a Donald Douglas from our side who immigrated to Canada in the late 1800's. His lineage can be found in the caption of the photo and in this website's genealogy archives.

Take care


Hi there, the bedrooms were hugh, I was there from a very early age, and at one point was the youngest  child for several years, there was room for at least 10 to twelve beds in one room, and there was at least two rooms which had at least 14 to 16 beds, dormitory style.   The place was huge, and we were convinced that some parts of it were haunted.   I was back in Inverness some years ago and was horrified to find out that they actually referred to us as "inmates" the person at the Highland Heritage Museum was very apologetic.   My sister Joan had written to them, and received a letter mentioning the children as "inmates"    You can find some very interesting facts from the Museum, although when I was there it had just opened, hopefully they are more open with the information on the Highland Orphanage.

House sold in 1983 did have 10 bedrooms.  This was a successor to the original house in Culduthel and located at 29 island bank road.  This house called Carrol Children's home had on average 14-18 of us aged babies to 15-16.  It was well run and comfortable.  Apart from usual childhood angst we were very happy

 I was in the Highland Orphange when it closed and moved to the new building called Carroll Childrens Home, on Island Bank Road, there were a total of 18 children still there.   I was sent to the Hightland Orphanage at the age of 19 months along with my three sisters when our mother died and our father could not look after us.   I did not find it a daunting experience, Mrs. Ritchie was the Matron when we went there in 1946, and later it was a Mrs McLean, and finally when it closed it was a Miss Holmes.

Would be interested to hear your story


Hello Marylane,Always a pleasure to receive a message from someone who has been through same sort of thing than i but so lone ago,i am now 79,how did i get to the orphange that was my Mother had died when i was born i have two brothers my father went into the army but married again but stepmother did not want us so it was because we were badly treated that we ended up in the orphanage,my time there was not good and i was a bit of trouble and always being punished,so that was me into to the big wide world.I did pay a visit to Carroll Childrens Home back in 1970's was very pleased to see around it and you all managed to go out to school.So pleased you wanted to catch up with someone from that period,would like to hear from you again until take care and i look forward to a relpy.

Hello Harold,  Thanks for your early reply, I personally don't remember you as I was very young when I went there also, but I did call my sister Jean who is 75 now to see if she remembered you, but unfortunately she was out when I called, she lives in Kilmacolm in Renfrewshire now, I have one sister Joan who still lives in the Inverness area, actually on the Black Isle, and my third sister Margaret lives in Suffolk in England.   Off course I am here in Canada, we have all faired very well, Joan and Margaret both have sons who are professors at Universities one in Scotland and the other in Manchester 

I guess you would have been there during the time of Mrs. Ritchie, she was still the matron when we went and I was the youngest child for a very long time, was quite put out when David Forbes came he was younger than me I think I must have been about 5 by that time.   I have been in touch in recent months with George Hutchinson, he had a twin brother James, ( who is deceased ) and three sisters May, Caroline and Jennifer.   Jennifer is also deceased, He himself is legally blind and has his wife write his emails for him, have not heard from him for some time though. 


I think they must have changed somewhat after you left, as my sister Jean was one of the first to go to the Technical High School, not sure what year it was though, I was at the Orphanage school the teacher was Miss Fairburn, but Jean tells me that it was a Mr. Fraser when she went there, the council closed the Orphanage School and we were all tripped off to the Crown School, after spending all my school years in a 2 room school house, I must admit that going to the Crown School was a very tramatic thing for me, and we had to go up this fire escape to get to the class room, by the time they closed the Orphanage school there were only 8 children of primary school age, so it was a very bad thing for me, especially as the next year they tripped us of to Hilton School, a brand new school with hugh windows.   Were you there when all the house girls cut their hair off, I guess not as that was in the MacLean's era.


Anyway I should close for now I always was a bit of a chatter box


Hope to hear from you soon




Hello Marylane,Thank you for your reply,Yes Mrs Rictche was matron while i was there and Miss White.the school teachers were Miss Mcbain and Mr Fraser the head master and he used to enjoy giving the strap and he did things that today would get him in real trouble.Do you remember walking to the Ness Bank church every Sunday.I am living in Poole Dorset with a partner i have a daughter living close by and a son in Austraila married with a grandson just one year old my son works for the australian air service eaching when i was working i was with the Social Services teaching the Disabled.The highland Orphanage is now a block of flats,i have a brother living in Fort William and one in mur of ord. I will keep in touch with you if that is ok. Take Care  regards Harry(hAROLD)


Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?

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