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Former Steam Pumping Station And Oil Storage Tank, Scapa Flow Visitor Centre, Lyness, Hoy

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

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Latitude: 58.8337 / 58°50'1"N

Longitude: -3.197 / 3°11'49"W

OS Eastings: 330999

OS Northings: 994646

OS Grid: ND309946

Mapcode National: GBR L5GC.XYC

Mapcode Global: WH6BN.V7TB

Plus Code: 9CCRRRM3+F6

Entry Name: Former Steam Pumping Station And Oil Storage Tank, Scapa Flow Visitor Centre, Lyness, Hoy

Listing Name: Former Pump House and Oil Storage Tank and Bund, Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum, Lyness, Hoy

Listing Date: 21 July 2006

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398783

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50533

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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1937. Former pump house and oil storage tank, converted to the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum in 1990, and located next to Lyness Pier (see separate listing), part of a significant and large group of military structures at Lyness situated next to Scapa Flow.

PUMP HOUSE: 1937. 3 tall gabled ranges and 2 further axially aligned gabled ranges flanked by later low, full-width, lean-to ranges; square brick plinths formerly supporting 2 industrial stacks (see Notes). Steel frame construction with rendered brick walls, and thickened brick base course to cill height. Multi-pane metal windows with hopper openings. Roof (replaced 1980s) with profiled sheet metal cladding and retaining roof lights. The interior was seen in 2013 and is divided into 2 spaces containing pumping machinery dating to circa 1936-39. 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 AND BUND: 1937. Circular storage tank of riveted steel plates with exterior access stair and metal safety railing; associated bund (an earthen spillage containment bank), and surviving oil pipe connections.

Statement of Interest

The former pump house and oil tank are exceptionally rare surviving examples of Second World War buildings and they are 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. The pumphouse contains rare surviving and largely unaltered machinery 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).

There is an additional pump house nearby which also served the base at Lyness (see separate listing) and it is of similar date however the fuel there was pumped by diesel engine rather than steam engine. The two pump house buildings at Lyness are the only pump houses of their type in Scotland and the only surviving examples of out of the four Admiralty fuel stations built in Scotland. The oil tank, including its associated bund, is also very rare.

The installation at Lyness was used to pump fuel to and from the underground storage tanks in Wee Fea, Hoy.. The machinery required for this process remains intact and inlcudes the steam engines, pumps and associated plant. The technology and materials used for the construction and operation of the pump house and oil tank are thought to have been amongst the most advanced of the period.

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 became a self-contained town that provided accommodation and recreational facilities for the service men and women who were stationed there during both World Wars.

In 1957 the Royal Naval base at Lyness was decommissioned and the pump house ceased operation. Orkney Islands Council purchased the former pump house site in 1980, and by 1990 it was opened as a museum and visitor centre. A permanent exhibition was erected within the circular plan form of the oil tank in 1990. Chimney stacks were removed from brick plinths due to maintenance work in 2014.

Previously listed as 'Hoy, Lyness, Scapa Flow Visitor Centre, Former Steam Pumping Station and Oil Storage Tank'. Listed building record updated as part of the review of Lyness (2014).

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