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
NT 13381 80720
313381, 680720


1901-1902; conversion to office studios, 2006. Former twin gun battery with significant pre-war and WWI military role, and continued military use during WWII. Strategically situated on high ground near Forth (Rail) Bridge with long range views across Firth of Forth towards Edinburgh. Reinforced concrete gun emplacements with locker recesses and circular holdfasts; semi-circular aprons; access stairs. Large lightwell courtyard (collecting pit) to immediate W of emplacements with cast-iron shell hoist to NE corner. Further lightwell courtyard to N, both accessing subterranean, brick-lined magazines, shell and cartridge stores.

INTERIORS: exposed red brick. Barrel-vaulted magazines (running N to S) with ventilation recesses. Remains of painted signage above doorways including 'Shifting Lobby', 'Shell Store' and 'Cartridge Store'. Corridor between N and S magazines blocked to form separate studio spaces (2006); corridor to N houses metal and timber shell winch. S magazine: glazed timber infills to form entrance vestibule and studio/office space with intergrated kitchen area.

Room to N wall of principal lightwell: painted mural (circa 1940) depicting panoramic view of the Firth as seen from the battery. To W wall: large subterranean store room with segmental-arched openings and rib-vaulted ceiling; passageway to NW corner linking (partially subterranean) former services and latrine block with narrow lightwell and access stair to W.

WALLS AND OUTBUILDINGS: reinforced concrete protective wall extends to N (breached to form residential access). Square-plan, flat-roofed observation post (originally housing Depression Range Finder equipment) to N side of breach. Two further flat-roofed outbuildings to W of each gun emplacement.

Predominantly timber framed sash and case windows. Cast-iron railings. Later, metal access stairs to lightwells.

Statement of Special Interest

The twin gun battery at Carlingnose, North Queensferry, is an outstanding survival of pre-First World War coastal defences in Scotland. Operational from 1902, the battery was an early and important part of an inner line of defence across the Firth of Forth. Strategically located on high ground beside the Forth (Rail) Bridge, it served in a precautionary capacity to defend the mercantile interests of the Forth from the threat of damage raids by enemy cruisers and torpedo-boats. Naval chiefs also feared the Forth Bridge, completed in 1890, would be a natural target for marine attack.

From 1900 onwards, the threat to Britain's naval supremacy from Germany was reflected in a co-ordinated programme of fixed defence at key strategic points along the UK coast line. In 1903 the Firth of Forth was officially classified as a Principal Naval Base. During 1907 a mock attack on the Forth was carried out by the Royal Navy's first submarine squadron to ensure it could be adequately defended. Construction of the Naval Dockyards at nearby Rosyth subsequently began in earnest in 1908.

Carlingnose Battery remained fully operational during the early years of the First World War. When Rosyth Dock was completed and a further naval anchorage was established east of the rail bridge in 1916, its two six-inch Mark VII guns were relocated to the Pettycur Battery near Kinghorn further east along the Fife coast. As part of this war-time strengthening of the inner, middle and outer lines of defence, additional batteries were also established on the Forth islands of Inchkeith, Inchcolm and Inchmickery.

Carlingnose Battery was modified in subsequent years to meet changing needs and remained in active use as a fire control post throughout the inter-war period. During the Second World War, it served as a station for Polish troops before passing out of military use in the 1950s. Its magazines were converted for use as studio/office space for local business in 2006.

The panoramic mural inside the building (including a depiction of the Forth Bridge) adds considerably to the socio-historic interest of the building. It is thought to have been painted by Polish nationals stationed at the battery during the Second World War, but may prove to have an earlier war-time provenance.

Previously included in the Schedule of Monuments (index no. 82857).



Andrew Saunders, Fortress Britain (1989) pp203-4. John Guy, Fife: The WWI and II Defences of Fife - Vol 1 and 2 (1992-4). William F Hendrie, The Forth At War (2002). Mike Osborne, 20th Century Defences in Britain (2003).

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.

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