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Footdee, Pocra Quay, Navigation Control Centre (Former Pilot House)

A Category C Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1423 / 57°8'32"N

Longitude: -2.0698 / 2°4'11"W

OS Eastings: 395871

OS Northings: 805713

OS Grid: NJ958057

Mapcode National: GBR SHG.BJ

Mapcode Global: WH9QR.5RM0

Entry Name: Footdee, Pocra Quay, Navigation Control Centre (Former Pilot House)

Listing Date: 27 July 2007

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 399589

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50941

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Circa 1800 with later additions (see Notes). Distinctive octagonal 2-storey former pilot house with later, splayed slated 3-stage control tower forming roof, situated in prominent position at harbour peninsula. Harled rubble with ashlar base course, eaves course and dressings and angle quoins. Principal (W) elevation: steps to panelled timber door with rectangular fanlight. Above, opening rising to eaves level with clock face to upper part and glazed section below with frosted glass and glazing bars. Rear (E) elevation with irregular glazing pattern; metal ladder rises to narrow metal observation platform encompassing 2nd stage. Top stage with multi-pane glazing. Harled, flat roofed addition to 1st floor S elevation supported by thin pillotis.

Fixed-pane windows to ground and 1st floors.

Statement of Interest

The Pilot House at Pocra Quay is a rare survivor of its type, notable for its unusual octagonal form and relatively early date. Its detached position at the edge of the promontory at the mouth of the River Dee adds considerably to the character of the Footdee area. The structure is clearly illustrated in Colin Innes' 'Plan of Footdee' of 1803. Built to guide vessels to port, this was originally carried out by the harbour pilots via loudhailer from a platform built into the roof of the original 2-storey structure, or by a system of wicker balls suspended from a pole rising from the platform. There is photographic evidence of the original lower roof design which was terminated by a leaded ogee-roof with weathervane. The control tower was added in 1966 and a radar system was introduced in 1974. The structure was further updated in 1986 at which time the Queen unveiled a plaque, situated to the right of the main entrance to the tower, commemorating '850 years of Harbour History'.

The harbour at Aberdeen accounts for the city's prosperity, representing the key to its history. Development of Aberdeen Harbour gathered momentum from the late 18th century when the physical restrictions caused by the shallow depth of the Dee estuary became problematic for increasingly heavy trade. In the 18th century, the Shiprow quayside was greatly increased forming the terrace which was to become Regent Quay. The 18th century buildings that line Regents Quay originally looked out over the sands and tributaries of the Dee, before the construction of Vicoria Dock (1848). John Wood's map of 1810 shows the location for the intended wet dock, running the length of the as yet unnamed Trinity, Regent and Waterloo quays, all designed by renowned engineer Thomas Telford during the 1840s.

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