Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
Boleskine And Abertarff
NH 49699 21051
249699, 821051


Probably Cameron Burnett for British Aluminium Company, 1895-6; later alterations. Large crowstepped and gabled former aluminium smelter and hydroelectric powerhouse adjacent to Loch Ness. Symmetrical tall N facing factory range comprising 8 crowstepped gables to long rear shed. Bull faced rubble with tooled dressings. Each bay divided by giant pilaster strips terminating under continuous string course. Wide flat-headed doorways in alternating bays, round arched windows above and oculi in gables. Further lower range to right (W) with 2 bays under crowstepped gable. Rear elevation lit by paired round headed windows; continuous string course below parapet. Paired gabled bays project to E, forming L-plan return elevation. Multi-pane glazing. Valleyed corrugated iron roof, each ridge supporting continuous louvered saddle-back vent.

INTERIOR: plain interior with rails and fittings to floor from former installed plant associated with former smelter (now removed 2009). Large roller hoist to roof supported by two steel I-beams. Further engineered metal beams to roof.

Statement of Special Interest

This powerhouse forms part of an A-group with the River Tarff intake and Loch Mhor Dam (see separate listings). The Foyers powerhouse, which is the earliest example of the large scale use of hydroelectric power in Scotland, and amongst the earliest developments in Europe, is prominently sited on the banks of Loch Ness, with the crowstepped gables visible against the tree-lined hillside from across the loch. The architectural detailing and style is distinct however, and is sympathetic to the natural setting. The simple castellated style is appropriate to the location on one of Scotland's most famous lochs, and is repeated on the Loch Mhor dam (see separate listing). The powerhouse originally contained 5 Girard turbines linked to Oerlikon generators which provided power for electrolysis which produced aluminium from bauxite in the aluminium smelter which was contained in the same buildings as the powerhouse.

The development of the Foyers scheme was highly influential, not only proving the viability of the technology to produce electricity with water driven turbines but also that the power produced could be applied to industrial processes successfully. The British Aluminium Company went on to develop 2 other large smelters in Scotland at Lochaber and Kinlochleven (see separate listings). The development of the scheme also had a significant impact on the local community, providing over 250 jobs around which a small settlement, including church and school, quickly developed.

The development of the Foyers Scheme predates the 1943 Hydroelectric (Scotland) Act which formalised the development of Hydroelectricity in Scotland and led to the founding of the North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board. Those developments which predated the 1943 act were developed by individual companies as a response to particular market and topographic conditions, in this case as a direct requirement for the production of aluminium. The completion of a number of schemes (including Galloway, Grampian and those associated with Alcan ' see separate listings) without a national strategic policy framework is exceptional as is the consistency of high quality aesthetic and engineering design across all of the schemes.

The Foyers scheme was probably designed by Cameron & Burnett, although they are likely to have worked in partnership with the British Aluminium Company's scientific adviser, Lord Kelvin on technical aspects of the design. Cameron and Burnett were prominent hotel architects in the Highland area, practising from Inverness and working mainly for the Highland Railway. The only other industrial commission by the practice is Millburn distillery in Inverness. The practice was also involved in designs for the buildings forming the village at Foyers.

The scheme ceased to be used for the smelting of aluminium in 1970 and was later taken over by Scottish and Southern Energy with the water now used to power a 5mW turbine in the former powerhouse and as part of a nearby pumped storage facility.

(Reviewed as part of Hydroelectric Power Thematic Survey, 2011. Category changed from B to A)



John Hume, The Industrial Archaeology of Scotland, Vol. ii 1977, p.46-7, 204; Peter Payne, The Hydro: a study of the development of the major hydro-electric schemes undertaken by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, 1988, p. 5; Emma Wood, The Hydro Boys, 2002, p. 38; J Miller, The Dam Builders: power from the glens, 2002.

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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.

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Printed: 24/10/2021 12:34