Pilot House, Aberdeen Harbour

Old Pilot House, Footdee, taken from the bollard, just off Greyhope Road Torry. July 2020.

Situated in Footdee (pronounced “Fittie” by locals), across the harbour from Torry, the unusually shaped Pilot House is a prominent sight at the harbour entrance. The Pilot House, or “Roundhouse” as it is sometimes known, housed the Aberdeen Harbour master, who controlled the shipping into and out of the harbour. The original building dates from 1798, and the control tower was added in 1966. Originally, instructions to incoming vessels were literally “shouted from the rooftops” through a loudhailer, and instructions to harbour traffic were signalled using 3 balls on a mast on the roof of the building. It was superceded in 2006 by a new Navigation Control Tower a few hundred metres away, next to the north pier.

To the right is the “Silver Darling” restaurant, which is located in a building which was formerly the Harbour Customs House. The name “Silver Darling” references the book by Scottish writer Neil Gunn, about the herring fishing industry, which was a major part of Aberdeens economy in the 19th and early 20th century.

Alan Campbell