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
Argyll And Bute
Planning Authority
Argyll And Bute
NS 17656 76480
217656, 676480


Clarke and Bell with Sir William Copland in collaboration with R A Brydon and C J M Mackintosh, 1896-98; incorporating earlier pier to N by Campbell Douglas, 1867-68; later 20th century alterations (see Notes). Rare and exceptional 19th century timber-pile ferry/steamer pier. Large, T-plan pedestrian pier adjoining earlier pier to N (currently used for vehicles - 2011). To pier-head: ornamental Victorian waiting room and pier master's office to centre; rare signal tower incorporating later tearoom to S arm of pier-head. Entrance ticket lodge located at slightly wider foot of pedestrian section.

WAITING ROOMS AND PIER MASTER'S OFFICE: single-storey, rectangular-plan, gable-ended, timber pavilion waiting-rooms including harbour master's office. Round-arched windows to ground floor. S Elevation: 2-storey octagonal tower to centre with crowning, ogee-roofed clock cupola and weather vane; flat-roofed verandas flanking with elaborate timber doorpieces to waiting rooms. N Elevation: 3 half-timbered gables with canted window bays and timber details including timber shingles to exterior walls. Red pantiled roofs with cupola ventilators.

SIGNAL TOWER AND ADJOINING TEAROOM: ornate 4-stage, square-plan, timber signal tower (circa 1896-8); pantiled skirt and ogee-roof to 3rd stage; pierced, ogee-roofed cupola and ornamental cast-iron weathervane finial.

Tower adjoins SE corner of single-storey, flat-roofed former waiting room and tearoom building (built 1937).

TICKET LODGE: Single-storey, cruciform-plan ticket lodge (circa 1896-8 with late 20th century alterations - see Notes) at foot of pier. Bowed to E and W elevations with conical, pantiled roof.

PIER AND RAILINGS: greenheart timber piles braced in pairs and further cross-braced by diagonal timbers. Outward facing piers are battered. Rod-iron connections with external bolts. Timber decking, rails and balustrade.

Statement of Special Interest

Dunoon Pier is the best surviving example of a timber ferry/steamer pier in Scotland. Now extremely rare, these piers played a key role in the economic and social development of coastal and island communities in the west of Scotland in the 19th and 20th centuries. Substantially retaining its character following its late 19th century programme of enlargement, the pier and its key buildings contribute significantly to the architectural and historic interest of Dunoon and to the wider maritime heritage of the West Coast.

The timber waiting room and pier master's office, located at the centre of the pierhead, is of key significance to the character of the pier and an iconic building on the Firth of Clyde coast line. Largely retaining its original form and distinctive detailing, it is the finest Victorian pier building of its type in the country. At the height of its popularity, access to the pier to non-passengers became ticketed which reflects its concurrent function as a 'pleasure pier' more commonly associated with resort towns in England. In 1937 a 220 ft long, timber and steel viewing gallery platform was built to connect the buildings on the pierhead assembly area. This structure was removed in the 1980s.

The pioneering signalling system was first installed at the pier in 1888. The tower was an early and forward thinking safety mechanism using a system of coloured discs to avoid collision of approaching steamers and to guide the operators to their designated berthing positions on each side of the pier. The signal tower was re-configured in a more decorative form as part of the 1896 rebuilding programme. It became electronically operated in later years and now, no longer in use, forms part of the 1937 tearoom addition to the S arm of the pierhead. Elements of the earlier signalling system mechanism survive inside the tower, adding significantly to the architectural and historic interest.

The 1890s entrance ticket lodge was originally an open turnstile building with covered, timber detailed walkways to either side. The building was reworked in the 1980s using a mix of traditional and non-traditional materials and broadly retaining its original cruciform plan and massing.

Dunoon was first established in the middle of the eighteenth century, with the earliest stone jetty built around 1767. The first timber pier was constructed by a joint stock company in 1835. The rail link from Glasgow to Gourock opened in 1841 leading to population swell and increasing tourism in and around the Clyde Estuary. A more substantial pier was built at Dunoon in 1845 although this was destroyed by a storm in 1848, rebuilt the following year and extended in 1867 by Douglas Campbell. In 1896, the pier was significantly enlarged to its present, inverted F-plan form.

The use of timber piling to form marine structures has a long and significant history in Scotland and on the west coast in particular. Once commonplace, they are now a rare building type. The timber piles of Dunoon Pier are braced in pairs and further braced by diagonal timbers with the outer piers battered to resist the forces of berthing ships. Structually, the pier was purposefully 'over-engineered' to account for the severity of the storms along this particular stretch of coast and the large amount of steamers and other vessels it served.

Change of category from B to A and list description revised, 2011.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1862). Evident on 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1898). John Hume, The Industrial Archaeology of Scotland Vol 2 (1978) pp149-150. Ian McCrorie, Dunoon Pier - A Celebration (1997). Frank Arnell Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Argyll and Bute (2000).

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.

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.

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Printed: 23/06/2024 06:16