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


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
Walls And Flotta
ND 30999 94646
330999, 994646


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 Special 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).



Ordnance Survey. (Published 1948) Orkney Islands (South). 1 inch to the mile, popular. London: Ordnance Survey.

Burgher, L (1991) Orkney: An Illustrated Architectural Guide. 1st Ed. Edinburgh: Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. pp. 77-78.

English Heritage (2003) Twentieth Century Military Sites.

Guy, J. (1993) Orkney Islands World War One and Two Defences. (Vol 2).

Hewison, W.S. (1985) This Great Harbour, Scapa Flow. Stromness: Orkney Press. [accessed February 2014] [accessed February 2014]

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. 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 legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to FORMER PUMP HOUSE AND OIL STORAGE TANK AND BUND, SCAPA FLOW VISITOR CENTRE AND MUSEUM, LYNESS, HOY

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 29/05/2020 02:01