History in Structure

River Tarff Intake, Foyers Hydroelectric Power Scheme And Former Aluminium Smelter

A Category C Listed Building in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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: 57.2455 / 57°14'43"N

Longitude: -4.4889 / 4°29'20"W

OS Eastings: 249914

OS Northings: 819942

OS Grid: NH499199

Mapcode National: GBR H99K.SMK

Mapcode Global: WH3GD.04PW

Plus Code: 9C9Q6GW6+5C

Entry Name: River Tarff Intake, Foyers Hydroelectric Power Scheme And Former Aluminium Smelter

Listing Name: Foyers Hydroelectric Power Scheme and Former Aluminium Smelter, River Tarff Intake

Listing Date: 11 February 2011

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400613

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51701

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200400613

Location: Boleskine and Abertarff

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Parish: Boleskine And Abertarff

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Tagged with: Architectural structure

Find accommodation in


Probably Cameron Burnett for British Aluminium Company, 1895-6; later alterations. D-plan water intake for the Falls of Foyers hydroelectric scheme, set on banks of River Tarff. Coursed random rubble deep rectangular section wall; stepped to interior of curved section buttressing upper section. Later alterations (circa later 20th century) to form metal screens over outlet to aqueduct and iron railings to top.

Statement of Interest

This water intake forms part of an A-group with the Foyers powerhouse and Loch Mhor Dam (see separate listings). The intake is prominently sited on a bend above the River Tarff and forms a key part of the functioning of the Foyers hydroelectric power scheme, which is the earliest example of the large scale use of hydroelectric power in Scotland, and amongst the earliest developments in Europe. The intake receives water downstream of the Loch Mhor Dam (see separate listing) and diverts it into a tunnel leading through to penstocks above the powerhouse. The power was used for electrolysis to produce Aluminium from Bauxite in the aluminium smelter which was contained in the same buildings as the powerhouse.

The development of the Foyers scheme was highly influential, not only proving the viability of the technology to produce electricity with water driven turbines but also that the power produced could be applied to industrial processes successfully. The British Aluminium Company went on to develop 2 other large smelters in Scotland at Lochaber and Kinlochleven (see separate listings). The development of the scheme also had a significant impact on the local community, providing over 250 jobs around which a small settlement, including church and school, quickly developed.

The Foyers scheme was probably designed by Cameron & Burnett, although they are likely to have worked in partnership with the British Aluminium Company's scientific adviser, Lord Kelvin on technical aspects of the design. They were prominent hotel architects in the Highland area, practising from Inverness and working mainly for the Highland Railway. The only other industrial commission by the practice is Millburn distillery in Inverness. The practice was also involved in designs for the buildings forming the village at Foyers.

The development of the Foyers Scheme predates the 1943 Hydroelectric (Scotland) Act which formalised the development of Hydroelectricity in Scotland and led to the founding of the North of Scotland Hydroelectric Board. Those developments which predated the 1943 act were developed by individual companies as a response to particular market and topographic conditions, in this case as a direct requirement for the production of aluminium. The completion of a number of schemes (including Galloway, Grampian and those associated with Alcan ' see separate listings) without a national strategic policy framework is highly unusual as is the consistency of high quality aesthetic and engineering design across all of the schemes.

The scheme ceased to be used for the smelting of aluminium in 1970 and was later taken over by Scottish and Southern Energy with the water now used to power a 5mW turbine in the former powerhouse and as part of a nearby pumped storage facility.

(Listed 2011 as part of Hydroelectric Power Thematic Survey)

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

Other nearby listed buildings

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.