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South Queensferry, Port Edgar Harbour, West Pier

Pier (20th Century)

Site Name South Queensferry, Port Edgar Harbour, West Pier

Classification Pier (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Hms Lochinvar; Pen E

Canmore ID 136602

Site Number NT17NW 181.06

NGR NT 1194 7886

NGR Description From NT 1194 7886 to NT 1188 7863

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Dalmeny
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County West Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT17NW 181.06 from 1194 7886 to 1188 7863

The W pier is situated about 150m E of the W breakwater and trends in a NNE direction. It is about 200m in length, constructed on six concrete piers with steel girder sections supporting the decking. The decking has metal handrails on each side.

It is the oldest pier in the former base, being built in c.1916.

The pier is at present in a dangerous state of repair and is closed to public access.

Visited by RCAHMS (DE, EL), 12 September 2006

Site Management (8 July 2010)

6-span Royal Navy servicing pier. Girder trusses set between open-framed reinforced concrete piers; timber deck with railway track at centre.

The W pier has considerable interest in being the last remaining pier (or 'pen'), built by the Royal Navy at Port Edgar for the servicing of Torpedo Boat Destroyers in 1917. Unlike most ships, Destroyers were not self-supporting and required special servicing facilities that were provided at Port Edgar. The open trussed construction is significant as it allowed for the accommodation of water and steam pipes that were connected to the flotilla. This pier therefore gives evidence of a relatively unique type of naval operation.

Port Edgar was acquired by the Royal Navy in 1916, and was commissioned as HMS Columbine in 1917 for use as a Destroyer Base for the Grand Fleet. It continued in use until 1928 when it was reduced to a 'care and maintenance' rating, and in 1934-5 the other 4 piers were demolished. The W pier was not demolished because, unlike the others, it was built with concrete piers that could not easily be removed. In the late 1930s, when Port Edgar was recommissioned, the W pier was found to be in poor condition and was substantially repaired in 1940. It is possible that the girder spans between the concrete piers date from this time. The pier is shown in a photograph of 1918, and appears to have metal piles between the concrete piers; a photograph in the Scotsman of 21.4.1966 shows the end section with metal piles, and the rest supported on girders. The end section no longer exists.

Port Edgar was commissioned as HMS Lochinvar during the 2nd world war and became the main minesweeping base in Scotland. It continued in use as the Royal Navy's training base for minesweeping until it closed in 1975. (Historic Scotland)


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