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Longhope Lifeboat Station, Walls, Hoy

A Category B Listed Building in Stromness and South Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 58.7797 / 58°46'46"N

Longitude: -3.2279 / 3°13'40"W

OS Eastings: 329102

OS Northings: 988661

OS Grid: ND291886

Mapcode National: GBR L5DJ.822

Mapcode Global: WH6BV.DL48

Plus Code: 9CCRQQHC+VR

Entry Name: Longhope Lifeboat Station, Walls, Hoy

Listing Name: Walls (Hoy), Longhope Lifeboat Station

Listing Date: 31 January 2002

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395733

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48347

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Walls and Flotta

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Parish: Walls And Flotta

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Probably designed by William Tregarthen Douglass. 1905-106. Lifeboat station comprising large rectangular-plan boatshed supported on pier/substructure, partially inclined as slipway. Boatshed clad in corrugated metal (painted grey with blue trimmings) with segmental-arched roof. Tarred timber pier supported on series of closely spaced vertical tarred timber posts with full-height timber cross braces; both supported on square-plan concrete plinths sunk into shore.

PIER: orientated northeast/southwest at right angles to shoreline. Main rectangular-plan section linked to land by narrow walkway supported at centre by pair of braced vertical posts; lower part of slipway slightly narrower than main section. Main section largely set at incline (horizontal platform at southwest end/nearest shoreline). Timber handrail (painted white and red) to walkway and northwest side of main platform (boatshed situated asymmetrically along southeast edge) and at far end of southeast side (adjoining boatshed). Pair of slightly inclined timber-framed hull supports (with metal grilles) to lower part of slipway (below boathouse); keel track in between.

BOATSHED: southwest elevation: lean-to section projects across entire width of boatshed; entrance with red painted, timber boarded door to centre; flanking windows immediately adjacent. Central window set back above within segmental arch of roof. Northeast Elevation: large central entrance for lifeboat; boarded multi-panel hinged and sliding timber door. Large segmental-headed 8-light mullioned and transomed window centred above within segmental arch of roof. Northwest and southeast elevations: 3 regularly disposed mullioned and transomed tripartite windows (each set at different level according to incline of slipway). Mainly 3 and 2-pane timber casement windows. Segmentally arched corrugated metal roof with central rooflight.

INTERIOR: most of original fixtures and fittings intact. Braced steel roof trusses. Boarded timber sarking to roof and similar facing to walls. Timber loft at upper (southwest) end. Central section of slipway partially recessed with timber and cast-iron hull supports and central keel track incorporating rollers and winding flex. Cast-iron winding machine at apex (for dragging lifeboat up slipway over rollers). Petrol-powered engine for powering winding adjacent. Timber boards listing names of lifeboat crews to walls. Timber plaque with running total of number of lives saved ('623' - 2000).

Statement of Interest

An attractive, well preserved and maintained early 20th century lifeboat station. The Longhope lifeboat service was established in 1874. Formerly it operated from a boatshed (still standing although altered and of little interest except historically) immediately to the south of the Ayre Causeway. This larger station was designed to accommodate the larger Watson-type lifeboat. A 1905 newspaper advert for contractors indicates it was designed by William Tregarthen Douglass, inspecting engineer to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. It is understood the lifeboat station was opened in 1906.

In 1969, eight members of the lifeboat crew were drowned when the 47-ft wooden lifeboat overturned off South Ronaldsayafter answering a mayday call from the Liberian cargo vessel 'Irene' during a gale of Force 9. They are commemorated in a bronze statue by Ian Scott in the nearby Osmundwall churchyard.

The lifeboat station closed in 1999 and the building became the Longhope Lifeboat Museum the following year. It houses The Thomas McGunn lifeboat, which was on station from 1933 to 1962.

The first lifeboat in the UK was sponsored by members of a private club in South Shields. In 1824 the predecessor of today's Royal National Lifeboat Institution (The R.N.L.I.) was established on a more co-ordinated nationwide basis, regular sponsorship being organised from the late 19th century onwards. The organisation continues to be funded by public sponsorship and lifeboats are still manned by voluntary crews.

Listed building record updated in 2020 to correct date of building.

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