Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
Papa Westray
HY 49726 51924
349726, 1051924


Later 18th century. Two 2-storey kelp stores; forestairs to SE gables. Exposed local rubble stone; slaister pointing.


SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: central door; flanking windows (openings have been altered); 2 1st floor windows centred above. Forestair set back to right; open dog-leg stone stair; access from SW.

NW ELEVATION: plain gable; large entrance at ground floor; modern sliding double doors. Lean-to to left; large entrance.

NE ELEVATION: Store: central door; blocked up window to right; 1st floor window centred above door. Lean-to extends length of store: central door; window to left.

SE ELEVATION: forestair to left leads to 1st floor door. Ground floor window to right of stairs.

Crowstepped gables to roofless store; roofless adjoining lean-to, some slates remaining.

INTERIOR: exposed stone at ground floor; plastered 1st floor walls. Central ground and 1st floor fireplaces in SE gable. Flagstone floor remains in places.


SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: plain elevation; large central door; replacement door. Stone steps to right lead to 1st floor door in SE gable.

NW ELEVATION: plain gable.

NE ELEVATION: blocked up central door; window to right.

SE ELEVATION: forestair leads to 1st floor door positioned off centre to right.

Replacement, corrugated roof.

INTERIOR: not seen, 2000.

Tall stone walled enclosure to rear of SE store.


L-plan pier to E of stores. Flagstones. 2 sets of steps built into wall to E. Later wall to W and later slip to W of wall.

Statement of Special Interest

Seaweed was often used as a fertiliser and spread out onto the fields; however by the 18th century the burning of seaweed to create kelp became an industry which dominated the Orkney economy during the late 18th to early 19th centuries, diverting labour from farming and fishing. The buildings stand as a reminder of this important period in the Orkney economy and its contribution made by Papay, and of the processes of kelp production no longer continued in Orkney. Seaweed was harvested from the shore; laid out to dry on the grass or on top of stone foundations (steethes) and burnt in shallow, circular, stone lined pits to form a liquid which when cooled; became a solid lump of kelp (alkaline ash). Kelp was used in a number of processes, especially the production of soap and glass and became a flourishing industry in Orkney by the mid 1700's, reaching a peak in 1825 which fell by 1830, 1840. Lairds built kelp stores to prevent the spoilation of the kelp by rain. Here, the kelp would be weighed, (payment was by the ton) and stored before being transported by boat. Kelp stores are therefore often found close to piers as are Nouster Stores. Orkney kelp was shipped to many places in England and Scotland, but especially to Newcastle where it was used for crown glass production. The Nouster kelp stores belonged to Thomas Traill of Holland Farm. His sloop, the Mary Traill was stored in a boathouse by the pier and transported the kelp. The remains of the boathouse walls are situated to the rear of the SE store. The date of the kelp stores is uncertain but they were probably built at the height of the kelp making period. The NW store is a shell at present (2000) without a roof; the 1st floor joists have gone; there are some remains of the roofing timbers in the wallhead. The SE store continues to be used for storage (2000).



1st Edition 25" OS Map (LXXI.9), 1881; A Fenton, THE NORTHERN ISLES, 1978, pp58-66; J Rendall, PAPAY, 1996, pp40-41.

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 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.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but 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. 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 advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 17/02/2019 16:08