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
Arbroath And St Vigeans
NO 76243 26980
376243, 726980


Robert Stevenson, engineer, with John Rennie consulting engineer, 1808-11. Sited on half-tide complex of reefs, tall (36m), curved tapering masonry tower with base courses set into rock. Lowest courses Rubislaw granite, upper courses and lateral divisions Carmyllie sandstone. Tapering curved base of solid masonry, interlocking ashlars pegged with stone pegs between courses. Door cill dates 1809, reached by bronze ladder (early addition). Gallery at doorway (later addition). Lantern platform corbelled, with echinus moulding, extended in 1960s in steel with welded brackets. Simple aluminium railing of same period with radio and television aerials attached. Gallery built out in SSE octant for solar panel when light automated in 1988. Triangular-panel lantern with copper dome, now surrounded by bird protection set on light framework. Smooth taper of tower interrupted by concrete projections on S, E and W elevations, housing ventilation grilles for generator room and battery room. INTERIOR: 6 levels of accommodation within masonry tower. From bottom: entrance chamber; salt-water lavatory; generator room; battery room; bedroom; kitchen/living room. Rooms separated by flat-vaulted floors of dovetailed ashlar, roof of kitchen/ living room (base of lantern platform) similarly constructed, but domed. Control room in base of lantern and glazed lantern space complete. No original fittings. Following fire in 1987 gas-light aluminium hatches inserted in original openings between chambers and aluminium ladder bolted to walls to communicate between spaces. Acetylene light with small triangular Fresnel optic installed 1988.

WALKWAYS: 2 walkways leading to landing places, both with cast-or wrought-iron frames, with cast-iron grid inserts. Some grids and 1 section of frame replaced in steel.

Statement of Special Interest

The Bell Rock was the first lighthouse constructed on a half-tide rock and the story of its construction is an epic one recounted by Robert Stevenson. Though the internal fittings have all been replaced, a few minor external additions have been made and the lantern and gallery have been renewed since the lighthouse was first built, Stevenson's stone tower remains virtually unaltered. The extent to which John Rennie contributed to the design is not clear, but Robert Stevenson was the engineer in charge of construction and deserves most of the credit for this remarkable structure. As built it had a revolving light with bands of silvered parabolic reflectors and oil lamps. The original optical apparatus, using parabolic mirrors, was replaced in 1867, 1871, 1903 and 1964. The present lantern probably dates from 1903. When the lighthouse was electrified in 1964 an apparatus from Chicken Rock Lighthouse, Isle of Man, was installed, this was removed in 1986, during the conversion of the light to automatic operation, and is now in the Signal Tower Museum, Arbroath. (Information from Northern Lighthouse Board, Angus Museums Service.) The Signal Tower Museum was constructed to communicate visually with the lighthouse. Linked in an A group with Bell Rock Lighthouse Signal Tower and Lodges, in Arbroath Burgh, to mark the functional relationship between the subjects.




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.

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.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 21/05/2024 01:09