Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Shetland Islands
Planning Authority
Shetland Islands
HU 43571 24920
443571, 1124920


David and Thomas Stevenson, designed 1853, erected 1855. Ramped rubble slipway lying N-S into Wick of Sandsayre Bay, Leebotten. Squared and snecked deck, circa 18 feet in width, with vertically laid masonry on retaining walls. Iron bar ties to ramp and fixed iron mooring/ securing rings at intervals.

Statement of Special Interest

An unusually long and well-constructed slipway built for the local herring fishermen at Leebotten to a design by D & T Stevenson, engineers to the Northern Lighthouse Board. David and Thomas were the sons of Robert Stevenson, lighthouse engineer, and Thomas was the father of the writer, Robert Louis.

The harbour was built at the insistence of John Bruce who lived at neighbouring Sand Lodge whose grounds reach the coastal area. Many of his tenents were fishermen and had faced difficulties in securing their boats and off-loading the herring cargo. Before 1855, the fishermen erected rough casueways of stone during the fishing season but theses were invariably damaged during the winter and regardless, offered little protection for the boats. In 1852, after a 10-year recession in the Shetland fishing trade, the local fishermen arranged a contract with James Methuen, a fish merchant in Leith, and it became apparent that this increase of trade necessitated the building of a permanent pier. Because of the recession, and the fact that it was only possible to fish for three months in the summer, the fishermen were not able to make any financial contribution to the pier but offered the labour and the stone to build it. John Bruce was not able to raise much additional capital either but he liaised with the Board of Fisheries to obtain permission to build the pier and with tenacity, managed to persuade them to contribute substantially to the cost, an unprecedented achievement.

Work to create a pier began in 1852 but the difficult conditions prevented any success. Consequently, the Board of Fisheries appointed the Stevensons to make plans for the pier. In August 1853, the Stevensons submitted plans for a slipway akin to that provided for the Board at Rockfield, near Portmahomack. Owing ot the lack of funds they considered a slipway to be more viable than a pier with a parapet for sheltering the boats. Mr Thomas Hope was appointed as the Master of Works and the slipway was completed in May 1855 at a cost of #600.



MS 5862 No 56, Stevenson Collection , National Library of Scotland. AF38/124 Letters and Reports of Harbours 1828-1912, National Archives of Scotland. Ruari Halford-MacLeod 'The Stevenson Pier at Sandsair, 2001.

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.

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Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned 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. For information about curtilage see 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.

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Printed: 15/11/2018 01:51