HOY, LYNESS, SCAPA FLOW VISITOR CENTRE, FORMER STEAM PUMPING STATION AND OIL STORAGE TANK (Ref:50533)
This building is in the Orkney Islands Council and the
Walls And Flotta Parish.
It is a category A building and was listed on 21/07/2006.
Group Items: N/A,
Group Cat: N/A,
Map Ref: ND 31010 94648.
1917 and 1937-38. Part of Royal Navy refuelling facility for Grand Fleet stationed at Scapa Flow; 1936, some pumping machinery replaced and boilers converted to oil firing; 1956 closed as Royal Naval base, 1977 purchased by Orkney Islands Council, 1990 opened as museum and visitor centre.PUMPING HOUSE: 1937-38. 3 tall gabled ranges and 2 further axially aligned gabled ranges flanked by later low, full-width, lean-to ranges; 2 industrial stalks on square brick plinths. Steel frame construction with rendered brick walls, and thickened concrete base course to cill height. Multi-pane metal windows with hopper openings. Roof (replaced 1980s) with profiled sheet metal cladding but retaining roof lights.INTERIOR: divided into 2 spaces. Boiler Room with hand operated fuel pumps, Worthington steam pump, 3 Wilsons of Glasgow Lancashire type boilers, 2 Worthington duplex boiler feed pumps and 2 centrifugal fans powered by Roby single cylinder vertical steam engines. Pump Room with 3 Worthing oil pumps, 2 Reader rotary engines and 2 Worthington condensers.OIL STORAGE TANK: circular storage tank of riveted steel plates with exterior access stair and metal safety railing; associated bund (earthen spillage containment bank), and surviving oil pipe connections.
Now (2006) run as a war museum by Orkney Islands Council Museums Service, this nationally important strategic site is noted in the Historic Scotland Scheduling proposal as a 'vital component of the facilities put in place to supply the battle fleet stationed in Scapa Flow immediately before and after the Second World War', furthermore it states that 'the non-rotative steam pumps and their associated plant are now the only survivors of this type of equipment in Scotland, and one of only three examples of engine and boiler installations surviving out of many hundreds throughout Scotland. The oil tank is one of a type now very rare. Scapa Flow lies within the shelter of the surrounding Orkney Islands, forming one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Probably used for fishing since the building of Maes Howe, shore defences in the form of Martello Towers were built at Crockness and Hackness, protecting the Longhope Sound. At the beginning of the 19th century and in World War I, the entire German fleet was escorted to Scapa Flow where every ship was scuttled to prevent this German fire power falling into British hands. The 1917 site comprised four storage tanks behind the pumphouse, each holding 12,000 tons. In 1936 twelve larger capacity steel tanks were installed, and in 1938 work commenced on an underground storage facility in a nearby hill called `Wee Fea'. This massive construction was complete by 1942, and the spoil was used to build the so-called Golden Wharf. By this time the base at Lyness supported 12,000 military and civilian personnel, but early in 1945 the navy pulled out leaving only a skeleton staff. The base closed in 1956 and the derelict site was purchased by Orkney Islands Council in 1977. The Council cleared much of the site, leaving just a few structures and this one oil storage tank. The pumphouse was refurbished with assistance from the Manpower Services Commission and in April 1990 the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre was officially opened by the Convenor of Orkney Islands Council and Captain M C Henry, Royal Naval Regional Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Separately listed associated military structures at Lyness are the Lyness Pier, Decontamination Shed, Romney Hut and WWI Former Metal Industry Shed as well as the Lyness Naval Cemetery.
The Pumping Station and Oil Storage Tank were designated as a scheduled ancient monument in 1992. This was reviewed in 2006 with listing now considered to be the most appropriate designation for this site.
Scapa Flow Visitor Centre Publication. Historic Scotland Scheduling Proposal. www.scapaflow.co.uk. English Heritage Twentieth Century Military Sites (2003). Historic Scotland Architect's Report on Salt Penetration (1999).
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