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
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
HY 39200 49902
339200, 1049902


David A Stevenson. 1898. 70 foot circular tower; domed light with lattice glazing; walkway at 2 levels. Adjacent 1950's single storey building to E (former occasional keeper's cottage). Harled; surrounding flagstones on ground; base course; long and short quoins to door, window surrounds and cottage quoins. Corniced wallhead to former cottage building; flat roof.

Timber boarded lighthouse entrance door to S; inscribed lintel: '1898 ERECTED BY THE COMMISSIONERS OF NORTHERN LIGHTHOUSE D.A.STEVENSON ENGINEER'; stone step. 1st floor window to W; 2nd floor window to N; 3rd floor windows to E and W. Narrower 4th floor; corbelled base. 2 4th floor doors lead to walkway; metal railings. Surmounting light; metal walkway; lattice railings; external ladder between light and 4th floor. Door to S elevation of former cottage; 2 doors to E gable wall; window to N.

INTERIOR: white glazed tiles to interior wall; stone spiral staircase; timber rail. Storage cupboard and window at 1st floor. Cast-iron stairs and rail from 2nd floor upwards; decorative balusters. Brass handrail from 4th to 5th floor. Tongue and groove boarding to 4th floor interior; brass ventilation covers; glass casing for clock (clock now gone). Cupboard within curvature of the wall. Modern lens (Pelangi) at 5th floor. Metal grid floor; concave roof; blacked out glass to land.


Rectangular-plan boundary wall; curved coping; cement clad. 2 tall, square-plan gatepiers to E with base; conical coping stone; metal gates. Identical single gatepier to S; metal pedestrian gate. Fluted cast-iron sundial base (sundial missing).

Statement of Special Interest

Noup Head Lighthouse is situated on the most westerly point of Westray. It was built to warn ships off the North Shoal, to the NW of the Orkney coast, at a time when the northern route around Orkney and Shetland was becoming frequently used. Work began in 1896 and was completed in 1898. The lighthouse was designed by David Stevenson, Engineer to the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses and the contractor was John M Aitken from Shetland. It was the first lighthouse to use the system of a revolving carriage and mercury flotation, later adopted by other stations. 2 cottages for the Principal and Assistant keepers were built and also the boundary wall and a road connecting the lighthouse with the steading at Noup. The 2 cottages were demolished and replaced by a single cottage, built in the early 1950's, for the occasional keeper. The cottage is now used for storage. Noup Head became automatic in 1964, it continues in operation today (2000) and the power supply was changed from gas to wind and solar in 2000. Solar panels are situated to SE of tower; the panels and the detached single storey building to far E are not part of the Statutory List.



Stromness Museum, THE LIGHTHOUSES OF ORKNEY, 1994; Westray Buildings Preservation Trust, AN ISLAND LIGHT, NOUP HEAD, 1998. 2nd Edition OS Map, 1976; B Bathurst, THE LIGHTHOUSE STEVENSONS, 1999. p234

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. 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 legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 25/08/2019 04:27