Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
ND 2896 15227
302896, 915227


1817,built as a fish curing yard.3 ranges in long flat-fronted block,centre range in neglected condition,with rear courtyard.originally offices,cooperage and red-herring house erected near the harbour by marquess of suggests later use as customs house and warehouses;currently house and stores (1991),one store recently restored.2-storey 3-bay house,with 2 large buildings adjoining to E,separated from quayside by road.

customs house:(left-hand range) originally office,kitchen and accommodation.2-storey,3-bay house,dry-dash with ashlar margins.panel above,enlarged windows flanking at ground,3 windows at 1st floor;plate glass sashes.purple slates,3 skylights to attic,coped skews,corniced stacks.low dry-dashed front garden wall with pair of panelled ashlar gatepiers. rear:stair window,to right large lean-to;former cellar and store.later lean-to adjoining rubble wall of former outbuilding,and modern harled wall subdividing former courtyard,adjoining store to E beyond pend to give vehicle access to rear. centre range:large,rendered 2-storey store adjoining to right (E); former cooperage.2-storey, now flat-roofed in corrugated sheet metal.originally 7-bay,some openings altered/blocked;door and 3 windows at ground floor with original vehicle pend to outer left.rubble at rear,5-bay,most openings now blocked;2 boarded windows in use at 1st floor.

range to right (E) store:former red-herring house,recently restored as dwelling house,skews and stacks removed.3-storey,3-bay,rubble,4-pane sash and case windows,grey slates.

front:no openings at ground floor;3 windows to floors above.

rear:3 doors at ground floor,3 windows to each floor above.rubble walls enclosing large cobbled,rear courtyard,originally lined by open curing sheds.

Statement of Special Interest

the above plan and elevation illustrate the complex,dates the construction by the marquess of stafford,and notes that in 1820 it was occupied by messrs landles and calder of berwick upon tweed.some structures have since beenlost,the walled courtyard at rear had lean-to's,with a freestanding gutting shed in the centre (site visible in cobbles).a salt cellar adjointed the rear of the present customs house,with a lumber room and salmon boiling house beyond in the corner of the courtyard.the courtyard also contained 2 wells.this curing yard,financed by the local landlord the earl of sutherland,was built at the time of highest incentives for herring fishing,which had been in decline until the mid-18th century when 'bounty' when introduced (see bremner) between 1815 and 1826,20s a ton was granted on all vessels from 15 to 60 tons,4s a barrel was allowed on all herring gutted,packed and cured,with an additional bounty of2s8d.onexport.this period was one which saw major changes in land use;between 1811 and 1821 clearances of small-holdings by landlords for sheep-farming took place in kildonan parish as elsewhere (NSA),resulting in a population move to coastal villages in search of new employment.herring production more than doubled between 1815 and 1826,but bounty ceased altogether in 1830.bremner's figures from 1867 show helmsdale as the 5th highest producer of cured herring in scotland,and one of the major employers.wick harbour was enlarged in 1810,and was known at this time as the 'herring' metropolis,and 'the more convient creeks along the coastwere,about this time,made safe and commodious by local enterprise' (bremner).helmsdale harbour was built in 1818,designed by the engineer john rennie,also part of the sutherland 'improve-ments'.



NMRS:plan and elevation of a curing yard and red-herring house from an account of the improvements on the estate of the marquess of stafford 1820 by james loch,plate 5.david bremner the industries of scotland 1868 p519.j hume the industrial archaeology of scotland vol 2 p319 NSA 1836 volxv p133.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 23/04/2019 13:06