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
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 68883 64581
368883, 864581


1770-5, John Smeaton; alterations and additions Thomas Telford, 1816; subsequent alterations; dredged by Morrison Construction and pontoon system installed by Solent Marine, 2006. Triangular harbour made up of 1 L-plan pier and 1 straight pier, sub-divided internally by 2 straight piers forming 3 basins. Mainly large vertical squared rubble walling with some later concrete work.

PILLBOX: strategically sited camouflaged, single chamber pillbox incorporated in retaining wall of steeply sloping ground to W of Quayside overlooking harbour. Snecked rubble with concrete cap, 2 splayed horizontal firing loops and narrow blocked doorway.

Statement of Special Interest

Listing updated 2007 to include pillbox. This fine early harbour is the work of two renowned engineers, John Smeaton and Thomas Telford. It is a significant structure in the landscape and is an important part of Banff's industrial and social history. The Harbour has recently (2006) been upgraded with grant aid from Aberdeenshire Council, Scottish Enterprise Grampian and the European Regional Development Fund. Now forming a 74 berth marina with 22 traditional moorings the traditional three basin harbour remains an outstanding structure of importance both architecturally and historically. Originally the harbour was sited on shifting sands at the edge of the River Deveron, but by 1625 a proper harbour was being built and this site was improved by John Smeaton during the years 1770-75. The foundation stone was laid on 11 April, 1770 and Smeaton charged £24 sterling for surveying work and travelling expenses. By 1818 Thomas Telford was working on a new plan for the harbour, comprising 'a pier and breakwater constructed by Telford ... at a cost of £20,000, and at ordinary high water admits vessels drawing 12, at spring-tides 15 feet. ... Coal is the chief article of import, whilst exports are grain, cattle, salmon, and herrings ... A Morton's patent slip, for ships of 300 tons, has been in use since 1836' (Groome). Further improvements were recommended by Admiralty engineers, most of which were carried out between 1840 and 1851. The herring boom led to increased prosperity for the harbour, but the early 20th century saw further silting up of the basins.

The pillbox is sited below the Coastguard Station and an area known as Battery Green. It has a circular concrete structure on its flat top which may have been a small gun emplacement. There is some possibility that the structure was also used a minewatchers' post (a type commonly mistaken for pillboxes), a lookout post for spotting and plotting mines dropped by parachute.



Statistical Account (1797, Witherington and Grant edition, vol xvi, 1982), pp47-8. John R Hume The Industrial Archaeology of Scotland Vol II (1977), p170. Groome Ordnance Gazetteer Scotland Vol 1, p122. Charles McKean Banff & Buchan An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1990), p28. Ed Bernard Lowry 20th Century Defences In Britain (2002).

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.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 26/03/2019 15:19