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Former First World War Paravane Shed / Second World War Royal Naval Recreation Centre, Lyness, Hoy

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.8311 / 58°49'51"N

Longitude: -3.1995 / 3°11'58"W

OS Eastings: 330845

OS Northings: 994354

OS Grid: ND308943

Mapcode National: GBR L5GD.321

Mapcode Global: WH6BN.T9LC

Entry Name: Former First World War Paravane Shed / Second World War Royal Naval Recreation Centre, Lyness, Hoy

Listing Date: 31 January 2002

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395739

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48356

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Walls and Flotta

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Traditional County: Orkney

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Description

Circa 1917. Large near rectangular-plan corrugated iron military shed, constructed as a paravane shed for use during the First World War and reused as a Royal Navy recreation centre during the Second World War, situated on the north shore of Ore Bay.

Comprising 2 rectangular-plan sections with a long double segmental-arched roof (longitudinally aligned) to the north east. Slightly wider section with roof divided into 5 transverse segmental-arched sections to the south west. Cast iron frame structure with corrugated iron cladding, painted red. Mainly fixed timber frame multi-pane windows. Corrugated-iron roof, with some evidence of timber panelling to the roof interior.

The interior, seen in 2013, is divided into aisles by cast iron structural uprights and timber Belfast roof truss arrangement.

Statement of Interest

The former First World War Paravane Shed and Second World War Royal Naval Recreation Centre building is a rare survivor from the First World War and has an important Belfast roof construction in its interior. Its reuse during the Second World War as a Navy, Army and Air Force Institute (N.A.A.F.I.) and cinema is also of interest. It is part of an important group of facilities put in place to supply the Royal Navy stationed in Scapa Flow immediately before, during and after the First and Second World War, and forms part of a wider group with other significant military buildings associated with the First and Second World War in the area (see separate listings).

Built in 1917 as part of the Paravane and Torpedo depot for their storage and maintenance, the sheds were adapted by the Cox & Danks Shipbreaking Co. from around 1924-39, for their operations in salvaging the remains of raised German ships that were scuttled during the First World War.

There are very few surviving structures with Belfast truss roofs in Scotland, which are more usually associated with airfield hangars. This building is one of only 3 known remaining military structures with a Belfast roof in Scotland and the only other examples are known at RAF Leuchars in Fife (see separate listing).

During the Second World War the building became the location of the HMS Proserpine Royal Naval Recreation Centre in 1939. This included the NAAFI (who functioned as caterers), education centre and provided retail and leisure opportunities for the base. By February 1940, Lyness Cinema opened in the west of the building. Earlier film screenings could only be shown in a small section as the remainder was still taken up with Metal Industries machinery, and therefore the seating could not be laid out to full capacity.

Prior to the First World War, Britain was considered to be most at risk of attack from continental Europe and the British Navy was based on the south coast of England. However the changing political situation at the beginning of the 20th century meant that the threat changed to focus on the German Navy in the Baltic sea. It was this, combined with the geography of the Orkney Islands which was the impetus for moving part of the Grand Fleet to Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. Scapa Flow is is one of the world's largest natural harbours and it is mostly enclosed by surrounding islands, including Hoy, where Lyness overlooks Scapa Flow.

The enormous impact on the Orkney Islands of both World Wars has left us with an important legacy of military structures, many of which do not survive elsewhere in the UK.

By 1942 the naval base at Lyness supported thousands of military and civilian personnel. Lyness would become a self-contained town that provided accommodation, recreational and practical facilities for the number of service men and women who were stationed there during the First and Second World War.

Previously listed as 'Walls (Hoy), Lyness, Former Metal Industry Shed'. Category changed from B to A and listed building record updated as part of the review of Lyness (2014).

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