Granton Lighthouse Depot

Granton Depot

Located in Edinburgh’s northern area, the Granton Lighthouse Depot was used as the Stores and Buoy Yard for the Northern Lighthouse Board.

The Northern Lighthouse Board leased the site from the Duke of Buccleuch in 1852. A complex of brick buildings was constructed between 1868-69.

In the 1860s, engineer John Wigham experimented with gas lighting for lighthouses. Wigham undertook much of his research at the Baily Lighthouse near Dublin. Northern Lighthouse Board Engineer David Stevenson was impressed with the intensity when he visited. As a result, in 1869, Wigham was invited to demonstrate his gas lighting technique at the experimental lighthouse at Granton Depot.

Granton Depot

Trials were initially conducted with gas taken from the town’s gas supply, and later using gas manufactured under Wigham’s direction.

In 1874 the lighthouse was added to the buildings and used for training lighthouse keepers and testing new lights. A coal gas works established in 1892 produced fuel for the buoys and beacons. This facility was removed in the 1930s when no longer required.

In the 1960s, the site was extended and improved. NLV Pharos, the support vessel for the NLB, was based in Granton Harbour until the early 1970s when it relocated to Leith.

Buildings at Granton

By the late 1990s, only the Engineering Storage and Test Facility remained at Granton. By 2001 the new depot at Oban replaced it.

Lengthy proposals followed to redevelop the site as a conference centre and performance space, with a hotel. These plans did not materialise, and now the building houses a recording and rehearsal studio and art and exhibition space.

Granton Middle Pier light

Close to the Granton Lighthouse Depot is Edinburgh Marina. Located on the Middle Pier of the marina the Middle Pier Lighthouse guided ships into Granton Harbour.

Granton Middle Pier Lighthouse
Granton Middle Pier Lighthouse
Photo © Richard Webb (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The light was constructed around 1869 with a fourth-order optic and remained in use until 1970.

It was listed in 1989 as a Category B listed building. In December 2019 the lantern was restored as part of a redevelopment scheme within Edinburgh Marina.