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Romney Hut, Lyness, Hoy

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.835 / 58°50'6"N

Longitude: -3.1971 / 3°11'49"W

OS Eastings: 330996

OS Northings: 994789

OS Grid: ND309947

Mapcode National: GBR L5GC.XWG

Mapcode Global: WH6BN.V6RB

Entry Name: Romney Hut, Lyness, Hoy

Listing Date: 31 January 2002

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395740

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48357

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Walls and Flotta

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Parish: Walls And Flotta

Traditional County: Orkney

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Description

British Directorate of Fortifications, 1942-1945. Long, rectangular-plan Romney hut constructed as part of the Chief Constructor's Department workshops at Lyness. Set to the west of the pier, and north of the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum at Lyness (see separate listing). It has a semi-circular section with corrugated-iron cladding, built on a low concrete basecourse. There is a large sliding door to the east elevation and an emergency door to the west, with some square window openings to the north and south elevations.

The interior was seen in 2013. Parallel, evenly disposed steel hoops and purlins supporting and bolted to corrugated metal cladding.

Statement of Interest

The Romney hut is a good survivor of a standard military building type, and is part of an important group of buildings put in place to supply the Royal Navy stationed in Scapa Flow immediately before, during and after the Second World War. It 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).

As a building type, Romney huts are common features of most military installations, and were mass produced and prefabricated by the Ministry of Works. However, the survival of these large huts is rare as the majority of them were dismantled by the Ministry of Defence at the end of the Second World War. The Romney hut was developed in the Second World War from the earlier and smaller Nissen huts which were introduced in 1915. Romney huts were usually made at low cost, were easy to erect (without the use of lifting gear or skilled labour) and could be used for a variety of purposes. They were also useful because they were simple buildings to dismantle and re-erect elsewhere if required.

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.

The Romney hut is in use as part of the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum site. Previously listed as 'Walls (Hoy), Lyness, Romney Hut'. Listed building record updated as part of the review of Lyness (2014).

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