Grantown-on-Spey is a fine example of an 18th century planned town. It was founded in 1765 by the landowner, Sir James Grant, Chief of Clan Grant at the time. The original settlement was about a mile further north nearer his residence, Castle Grant. The basic layout of the Square and High Street were laid out on the moor of Freuchie and plots of land made available to suitable applicants. It was at the intersection of the road from the south and the military road from Corgarff to Fort George, which crossed the Spey at the recently built bridge. Originally there was a linen manufactory and a brewery although they were not long lasting.
The town grew considerably when the railways arrived in 1863, and that’s when the large granite villas started to appear on what became Woodside Avenue, Grant Road and Woodlands Terrace. The town then became a popular holiday destination for Victorian tourists. In 1898 the name was changed to Grantown-on-Spey. Originally in Morayshire, the town moved into Badenoch and Strathspey District of Highland Region in 1975 following local government re-organisation and then in 1996 in a further reorganisation of local government became part of the Highland Council area. There are 2 schools, the Primary School, which housed all pupils until 1975, when the secondary department, known as Grantown Grammar School, was built. Next to the secondary school is the Craig Maclean Leisure Centre, named after track cyclist Craig Maclean, who won Olympic Silver in the 2000 Games in the team sprint with teammates Jason Queally and (Sir) Chris Hoy, and then Olympic Gold in 2012 Paralympics as sighted pilot with Anthony Kappes.
The current population is around 2,500.
Text © Duncan Grant