Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
Walls And Flotta
ND 30845 90727
330845, 990727


Circa 1840 with minor earlier 20th century addition to NW. 2-storey; U-plan; former custom house (now two houses) with symmetrical 7-bay principal (NE) elevation with flanking gable ends; small single storey addition to NW. Coursed rubble with droved sandstone quoins at arrises to principal elevation; SW ends of wings and NW elevation harled. Architraved openings to single storey addition. Coped gables throughout.

NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical 7-bay arrangement; paired bays to slightly advanced flanking gable ends. Steps up to central entrance; flanking pairs of concrete columns with drum capitals support flat-roofed canopy; segmental arch at front inscribed 'OLD CUSTOM HOUSE'; flanking lion statues to roof (all probably of 1930's date); 4-panel timber door with 6-light rectangular fanlight. Window above and one to each floor of flanking bays (those to left bay of 1st floor to each of gable ends and that to right of ground floor of right gable end blocked).

SE ELEVATION: symmetrical 3-bay arrangement. Central entrance with later gabled timber porch. Window above; window to each floor to flanking bays.

NW ELEVATION: gable end of earlier 20th century single storey addition projects to centre; architraved window to right. Entrance to left of left return; plain timber door with rectangular fanlight. Entrance with plain timber door and rectangular fanlight to right of right return; small window to outer right. Central window set back to 1st floor of main block (cill raised to accommodate addition); flanking windows to each floor.

SW ELEVATION: flanking projecting gable ends of wings. 2 windows to ground floor of that to left; one to right of 1st floor; former entrance (now window) to right return; narrow window to outer right to ground and 1st floors. Window to left of ground floor to gable end to right; entrance with boarded timber door to left of left return; narrow window to outer left to ground and 1st floors. Entrance with plain timber door set back to right of central section; window to right; narrow window to left to ground and 1st floor; window to outer left of ground floor. Outline visible of single storey lean-to formerly stretching across entire width of central section.

Predominantly 12-pane and some 4-pane timber sash and case windows; border-glazed fixed frame with stained glass outer panes to centre of principal (NE) elevation; 5-pane fixed frames to narrow windows. Asbestos slate roof with red ridge tiles to main block; stone slate roof to single storey addition. Gablehead stack with moulded cornice below concrete coping to each of 4 gable ends of main block; pair of similar ridge stacks to central section; tall rendered gablehead stack (extended vertically) with 2 band courses to single storey addition; round cans.

BOUNDARY WALL: rubble boundary wall encloses rectangular-plan plot to SW, NW and SE. Plot subdivided longitudinally by rubble wall incorporating outbuildings of various dates immediately to SE of house; that with pitched stone slate roof to SE one of earliest.

Statement of Special Interest

A handsome symmetrical official building of circa 1840 which stands out within the village. According to Burgher the side wings would appear to have been originally domestic (presumably for customs officials) and the central section for official purposes.



1st Edition County Series OS MAP (1881); Leslie Burgher, ORKNEY, AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE (1991) p74; John Gifford, THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (in the 'Buildings of Scotland' series, 1992) p366.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 20/11/2018 00:57