FP100: No. 49

The small light tower in North Queensferry
The small light tower in North Queensferry

The Little Light Tower

One of Scotland’s hidden historical gems can be found in North Queensferry, alongside one of the engineering wonders of the world, the Forth Rail Bridge.

It’s the world’s smallest working light tower, built in 1817 by Robert Stevenson as a key part of the Queensferry Passage across the Forth.

This tiny part of Scottish maritime history has now been carefully restored to full working order and reopened to the public in June 2010, when HRH The Princess Royal relit the lamp 120 years after it fell into disuse.

Now visitors can climb the 24 stairs to discover how the light-keeper kept the lamp burning and how the unique signalling system worked in helping to keep passengers, livestock, cargo and the Royal Mail moving safely across the River Forth.

They can even light the lamp and receive a Certificate of Competence as an Honorary Keeper of the Light.

The tower was restored in 2009 by North Queensferry Heritage Trust, who installed a replica light copied from an original held by the National Museum of Scotland.

The original Argand lamp was adopted by Stevenson, using whale oil as its fuel source.