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North Breakwater


(North Pier)

Aberdeen Harbour North Breakwater
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Aberdeen Harbour North Breakwater

The North Breakwater (or North Pier) was constructed in phases to protect Aberdeen Harbour from sediment swept south across Aberdeen Bay, which was blocking the entrance, and now extends to 792m (2600 feet) in length. Narrowing the mouth of the Dee also had the effect of speeding its flow which scoured the bed further preventing silting.

A long pier was designed by English engineer John Smeaton (1724-92), who had advised on various harbour improvements. Work began in 1770 and was completed in 1781, with the resulting pier extending 366m (1200 feet) from the current pilot jetty and costing £16,000. An extension, reaching a further 274m (900 feet), was built between 1810 and 1816 on the advice of Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834), further improving the harbour entrance and ensuring increased water depth. The final extension was executed 1869-74, when another 152m (500 feet) were added by harbour engineers William Dyce Cay (1838 - 1925) and James Abernethy (1814-96). This work was in concrete, contrasting with the masonry construction of the earlier phases.

Abercrombie's Jetty lies unused next to the Roundhouse at the landward end of the breakwater.


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