The Signal Tower at Arbroath was built in 1813 to communicate with the keepers of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. A large copper signal ball was raised daily at the lighthouse between 9 am and 10 am, indicating that all was well. If the weather was foggy, the watch was set again at 1 pm. If they received no signal from the lighthouse, a boat would be sent to the reef.
Whenever a child of a keeper on duty was born, either a pair of trousers or a dress was flown from the Signal Tower to indicate whether it was a boy or a girl!
The buildings attached to the Signal Tower were the original shore station for the keepers’ families. The master of the lighthouse supply tender also had an apartment in this complex.
In 1955 new residences were made available for the keepers and their families at Granton in Edinburgh, and the keepers remained here until automation in 1988.
Arbroath Signal Tower has had a number of uses over the last fifty years, but more recently it has been a museum celebrating the building and operation of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. It is well worth a visit.
The Signal Tower Museum was re-opened in 2018 by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to celebrate the Year of Light, the 200th anniversary of Bell Rock Lighthouse.