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Nouster Stores Including Pier

A Category C Listed Building in North Isles, Orkney Islands

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Coordinates

Latitude: 59.3509 / 59°21'3"N

Longitude: -2.8853 / 2°53'6"W

OS Eastings: 349756

OS Northings: 1051954

OS Grid: HY497519

Mapcode National: GBR M470.NZ1

Mapcode Global: XH8K9.Q7S8

Entry Name: Nouster Stores Including Pier

Listing Date: 20 October 2000

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 394737

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB47378

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Papa Westray

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

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Pierowall

Description

Later 18th century. Two 2-storey kelp stores; forestairs to SE gables. Exposed local rubble stone; slaister pointing.

NW STORE

SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: central door; flanking windows (openings have been altered); 2 1st floor windows centred above. Forestair set back to right; open dog-leg stone stair; access from SW.

NW ELEVATION: plain gable; large entrance at ground floor; modern sliding double doors. Lean-to to left; large entrance.

NE ELEVATION: Store: central door; blocked up window to right; 1st floor window centred above door. Lean-to extends length of store: central door; window to left.

SE ELEVATION: forestair to left leads to 1st floor door. Ground floor window to right of stairs.

Crowstepped gables to roofless store; roofless adjoining lean-to, some slates remaining.

INTERIOR: exposed stone at ground floor; plastered 1st floor walls. Central ground and 1st floor fireplaces in SE gable. Flagstone floor remains in places.

SE STORE

SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: plain elevation; large central door; replacement door. Stone steps to right lead to 1st floor door in SE gable.

NW ELEVATION: plain gable.

NE ELEVATION: blocked up central door; window to right.

SE ELEVATION: forestair leads to 1st floor door positioned off centre to right.

Replacement, corrugated roof.

INTERIOR: not seen, 2000.

Tall stone walled enclosure to rear of SE store.

PIER

L-plan pier to E of stores. Flagstones. 2 sets of steps built into wall to E. Later wall to W and later slip to W of wall.

Statement of Interest

Seaweed was often used as a fertiliser and spread out onto the fields; however by the 18th century the burning of seaweed to create kelp became an industry which dominated the Orkney economy during the late 18th to early 19th centuries, diverting labour from farming and fishing. The buildings stand as a reminder of this important period in the Orkney economy and its contribution made by Papay, and of the processes of kelp production no longer continued in Orkney. Seaweed was harvested from the shore; laid out to dry on the grass or on top of stone foundations (steethes) and burnt in shallow, circular, stone lined pits to form a liquid which when cooled; became a solid lump of kelp (alkaline ash). Kelp was used in a number of processes, especially the production of soap and glass and became a flourishing industry in Orkney by the mid 1700's, reaching a peak in 1825 which fell by 1830, 1840. Lairds built kelp stores to prevent the spoilation of the kelp by rain. Here, the kelp would be weighed, (payment was by the ton) and stored before being transported by boat. Kelp stores are therefore often found close to piers as are Nouster Stores. Orkney kelp was shipped to many places in England and Scotland, but especially to Newcastle where it was used for crown glass production. The Nouster kelp stores belonged to Thomas Traill of Holland Farm. His sloop, the Mary Traill was stored in a boathouse by the pier and transported the kelp. The remains of the boathouse walls are situated to the rear of the SE store. The date of the kelp stores is uncertain but they were probably built at the height of the kelp making period. The NW store is a shell at present (2000) without a roof; the 1st floor joists have gone; there are some remains of the roofing timbers in the wallhead. The SE store continues to be used for storage (2000).

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