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Bute, Port Bannatyne, Former Steamer Pier

Pier (19th Century)

Site Name Bute, Port Bannatyne, Former Steamer Pier

Classification Pier (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Firth Of Clyde; Inner Clyde Estuary

Canmore ID 124779

Site Number NS06NE 46

NGR NS 07589 67401

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish North Bute
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Buteshire

Archaeology Notes

NS06NE 46 075 674

NS 075 674. Remains of Port Bannatyne steamer pier built 1857.

Sponsor: Buteshire Natural History Society

I Maclagan 1995.

This site was noted during a coastal zone assessment survey undertaken by CFA Archaeology Ltd to characterise the state of coastal erosion and the threat it poses to cultural heritage sites. A gazetteer in the report included a note of existing records and new sites when discovered. Where the site was located, notes included condition, period/date and recommendations.

Commissioned by The Scape Trust and Firth of Clyde Forum on behalf of Historic Scotland.

M Cressey and M Johnson 2004.

Site Management (8 June 2010)

A t-plan former pier of timber construction, now with only the timber supports and landward structures in stone remaining.

Port Bannatyne, previously Kamesburgh until its acquisition by the Marquess of Bute in the 1860s, experienced boom years during the turn of last century as a tourist destination when Caledonian steamers called regularly at the pier, with trams bringing the holiday makers round from Rothesay (FA Walker with F Sinclair).


Characterisation (30 June 2010)

This site falls within the Port Bannatyne Expansion Area of Townscape Character which was defined as part of the Rothesay Urban Survey Project, 2010. The text below relates to the whole area.

Historical Development and Topography

As with many of the outlying areas of Rothesay, the Port Bannatyne Expansion Area of Townscape Character is mostly linear in form, hugging the shoreline for the majority of its length, only slipping inland as it merges with the Ardbeg Area of Townscape Character. Again, this is partly due to the topography of the area, with Kames Hill stretching down to meet High Road, the southern boundary of the area. However, the desire to reside by the sea and take advantage of the sea air and views meant that the more affluent residents and visitors were able to site their homes right on the shore. Part of the tourism expansion of Port Bannatyne and Ardbeg was due to the development of Swanstonhill House (John Thomas Rochhead, c.1855) in 1879 by John Honeyman into the Kyles of Bute Hydropathic Hotel, which occupied a site to the south of the west end of this area.

Although still part of Port Bannatyne, this area has been characterised differently due to the nature of its development. As a result, most of the buildings in the area date from the same period – mid- to late 19th century and onwards. There are some early 19th century houses and cottages surviving at Nos 22-4 (former Point House), 42 (Ettrick Bank) and 44 (Fircliff) High Road, with large garden plots extending down to Shore Road. Most of the plots in the area are fairly large, containing detached or semi-detached houses. The plots get smaller as the area merges into Ardbeg Area of Townscape Character. As a result, the area has a fairly low density, with mostly single- or two-storeyed properties, and few tenements.

Transport links with the main town of Rothesay were maintained with the introduction of the horse-drawn tramway which was established in 1879, and electrified and extended in 1902. The original tram depot and associated early 20th century office still survives on High Road, just before entering the Ardbeg Area of Townscape Character, and now operates as a depot for the local bus service on the island after the tramway closed in 1936.

Very little infilling has taken place in this area, with only a handful of late 20th century houses sprinkled through the area, and one block of flats by William Woodhouse Strain Housing Association (now Fyne Homes) on Shore Road, erected in the 1960s on the site of an early 19th century (pre-1863 First Edition OS map) Roman Catholic Chapel.

Present Character

The present character of the Port Bannatyne Expansion Area of Townscape Character is a result of the survival of so many of the 19th century villas erected for the influx of tourists, industrialists and merchants seeking a quieter alternative to the bustling town centre of Rothesay.

Much of the area survives in its original form, with most buildings relatively unaltered, though there appears to have been much sub-division to form flats in the 20th century. Street layout and plot sizes survive with no change. There has been very little infilling, so the area retains a feeling of openness, especially along the shore.

There are no particularly dominant architectural styles or techniques amongst the properties in this area. Most are fairly typical 19th century houses, though the steeply pitched gables and corbelled dormers to some of the properties on Shore Road help distinguish the area from others in Rothesay. There are some examples of decorative woodwork and ironwork which exists throughout Rothesay, but it is not as prevalent in this area as in others such as Craigmore Area of Townscape Character. However, triangular pattern wooden bargeboards can be seen at Nos 26-7, Appin on Shore Road, and No 6 has fretted foliate design timber bargeboards with tapering finials on the gable head.

By and large, the area feels suburban, with few services to support the residential function. Apart from the bus depot and North Bute Parish Church on Shore Road, there are no other social facilities such as shops, community facilities, schools, medical practices, and so on to draw people to or keep people in the area.

Information from RCAHMS (LK), 30th June 2010


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