History in Structure

Bell Rock Lighthouse

A Category A Listed Building in Arbroath East and Lunan, Angus

We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 56.4344 / 56°26'3"N

Longitude: -2.3868 / 2°23'12"W

OS Eastings: 376244

OS Northings: 726981

OS Grid: NO762269

Mapcode National: GBR NCGQ.38F

Mapcode Global: WH8SY.9JNN

Plus Code: 9C8VCJM7+Q7

Entry Name: Bell Rock Lighthouse

Listing Name: Bell Rock Lighthouse

Listing Date: 23 March 1998

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 392019

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB45197

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200392019

Location: Arbroath and St Vigeans

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Arbroath East and Lunan

Parish: Arbroath And St Vigeans

Tagged with: Lighthouse

Find accommodation in


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 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.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.