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Quayside, Banff Harbour and Pillbox

A Category A Listed Building in Banff, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.67 / 57°40'12"N

Longitude: -2.5233 / 2°31'23"W

OS Eastings: 368883

OS Northings: 864581

OS Grid: NJ688645

Mapcode National: GBR N84G.0RL

Mapcode Global: WH8LW.6GPY

Entry Name: Quayside, Banff Harbour and Pillbox

Listing Date: 22 February 1972

Last Amended: 18 April 2007

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 357537

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB22077

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Banff

County: Aberdeenshire

Town: Banff

Electoral Ward: Banff and District

Traditional County: Banffshire

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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 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.

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