The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses - an illuminating day out

Living History

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses - an illuminating day out

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses is based in the fishing port of Fraserburgh on the North-east corner of Aberdeenshire. The museum is in a purpose-built museum alongside the Kinnaird Head Lighthouse – the very first lighthouse on mainland Scotland .

While coastal beacons had existed in Scotland since at least the 17th century, the matter drew the attention of Parliament after violent storms wrought destruction on shipping routes in 1782.

An Act of Parliament established the Northern Lighthouse Trust, which was charged with establishing a chain of lighthouses in Scotland. The first of these “official” lighthouses was built in 1787, in Fraserburgh.

The lighthouse was built on top of a pre-existing castle (to reduce the amount of construction required). The resulting Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was designed by Thomas Smith and updated in the 1820s by Robert Stevenson, of Scotland’s “Lighthouse Stevensons”.

The Stevenson family constructed 93 lighthouses in 150 years. Famous author Robert Louis Stevenson was a member of this family, and childhood trips to craggy and lonely locations no doubt helped to fire his imagination.

The museum includes a tour of the lighthouse, as well showing exhibits that tell the story of the remarkable engineers, keepers and technology that kept - and still keeps - sailors safe in Scottish waters.

There is also a restaurant with fantastic sea views!

Further reading

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