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Bell Rock Lighthouse, Angus

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Bell Rock Lighthouse, Angus

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Comments (5)

Veronica Fraser, RCAHMS staff

The Bell, or Inchcape, Rock was described as a 'frightful bar to navigation', which was submerged by tides twice a day. In 1807, following a spate of shipwrecks, Robert Stevenson, the Northern Lighthouse Board's chief engineer, began to construct a lighthouse in appalling conditions. The first stage was to build a barrack for the workers, thus saving the 11 mile sail from Arbroath and allowing the full exploitation of working time; the barrack would also shelter a blacksmith's forge. As if that were not enough, a railway was constructed on the rock to transport the pre-cut blocks of masonry, sailed over from Arbroath, between the mooring site and the base of the tower. This drawing, published in Stevenson' s account of the construction of the lighthouse, shows the ropeway slung between the barrack and the tower, which allowed work to start before the tide had fully receded. The lighthouse entered service in February 1811; it is 115 ft high, used 28,530 cu ft of stone, weighing 2076 tons, and cost £61, 331.

24th October, 12:34 pm

Carol Hopper, Kincardineshire

This wondrous feat of engineering deserves our votes and our admiration.

Considering the times and conditions endured by the men who struggled to build it...not to mention the foresight of the architects and planners...can we in all honesty say that we could do as well today? I think not. So - let us vote and preserve this amazing piece of history that has saved untold lives over its two hundred surely deserves our support.

23rd October, 10:03 pm

David Taylor, Bell Rock website, Edinburgh

Well perhaps not the rock, but the lighthouse itself is truly of star quality and a national treasure of the first magnitude. Built in the days of sail, it took four summers to complete – from 1807 to 1811 – and is considered to be one of the finest engineering triumphs of the early 19th century. Consider also the conditions under which it was built . . . on a rock submerged by the sea up to 16 feet TWICE a day. Don’t believe me? Then check for yourself by visiting the Bell Rock website ( and wonder at the determination and bravery of the men who built it. The lighthouse celebrates its bi-centennial soon, so please vote for us and give it an extra special birthday present!

23rd October, 1:16 pm

William Nixon, Dunfermline, Fife

Having had the pleasure of seeing inside this impressive structure, the skill it took to build it and the fact it is still standing nearly 200 years later is testament to there ability not only in the engineering sense but in the craftsmen who errected it.

8th October, 9:41 am

Judy Dowling, Fife

I think this is such an amazing feat of engineering for the day, and it is still standing, saving countless lives over the years, withstanding numerous storms. It gets my vote any day!



Region: Tayside

This print illustrates the construction of Bell Rock Lighthouse in 1809

Votes: 99


View more information from the RCAHMS database (Canmore) on Bell Rock Lighthouse, Angus