Water Tower, Keptie Hill, Arbroath

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Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2024.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
Water Tower
Other Name(s)
Keptie Hill, Arbroath
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NO 63534 40785
Location Type
HS Reference No


Sham medieval tower in rusticated red sandstone with machicolated battlements. A square tower with a circular corner turret sits at the south end. The interior retains its original water tanks. (Historic Scotland)

The Water Tower was built with the labour of unemployed in Arbroath in an early form of workfare. It was designed by Friockheim architect William Gillespie Lamond in the style of a fake medieval fortress with rusticated red sandstone walls and became locally known as Arbroath's castle. It was designed to provide the town with an adequate drinking water supply but was only operational for 20 years. The Tower contained three lined tanks with a total capacity of 200,000 gallons. The location was chosen because of a natural spring that flowed there but the use of the Tower was discontinued following the provision of a greater water supply from Glenogil. In 1937 the land surrounding the Water Tower was given to the Town Council for use as a park, a function it retains to this day. (Angus Council).
Building Dates
William Gillespie Lamond

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
May 1990, November 1997, September 2000, 25/05/2009, 23/10/2012, 8/6/2016
Development History
May 1990: External inspection reveals the roof to be in poor condition. The structure's configuration, blind elevations, access, and retained water tanks may make re-use difficult. Subsequent press reports note proposals to convert the tower into a café, bar, restaurant, and manager's house over 3 floors, with an underground car park. September 2000: The tower is now located within Keptie Pond Conservation Area, and is used by Angus Council to store park benches and row boats after a phased programme of improvements and adaptation.
July 2008: The Arbroath Herald reports that Angus Council had commissioned a report to investigate possible future uses of the tower. These future uses could include lease or sale of the property.
May 2009: External inspection finds the former water tower in good condition, but vacant and requiring a new use. In 2007 a number of repair works were carried out on the structure and stonework, along with several tonnes of guano being removed from the building with works to prevent birds gaining further access to the building.
23 October 2012: External inspection finds no significant change from the previous site visit.
30 December 2013: The Courier reports Industrial Training Centre (Scotland) Ltd has applied for change of use of the former water tower to form a diving training centre. The article notes the proposal would seek to use three water tanks to enable a number of training environments for commercial businesses, the emergency services and the military.
14 January 2014: Listed Building Consent for change of use from water storage to diver training centre is being sought ref: 13/01182/LBC.
8 June 2016: External inspection finds the building remains overall in good condition but with patches of erosion, in vulnerable exposed areas, to the masonry and small sections of dampness at the base of walls. One of the waterspouts is now partially lost. Consent for conversion to a diving centre have been conditionally approved but not yet implemented.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Keptie Pond
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number
03452 777 778


Current Availability
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Building Uses Information:
Present Use 1: N/A Former Use 1: Waterworks
Present Use 2: N/A Former Use 2: N/A
Name of Owners
Angus Council
Type of Ownership
Local Authority

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
Hume (1976-1977), vol. II, p124.
Water Supply
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit