Anyone who has visited Hoy recently will have been dismayed at the lack of progress for the renovation of the Lyness Museum – aka Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum. The work was supposed to be completed by 2021 and it hasn’t even started yet. Funding had been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Orkney Islands Council, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Museums Galleries Scotland and LEADER.
This very popular council owned museum was a treasure trove of artefacts from the First and Second World Wars and housed in the Pumping Station – itself an incredible artefact.
Outside is now scruffy looking and sad- with long delays on work actually starting to refurbish the building and its surrounds.
At a full council meeting on Tuesday 2nd of July it was agreed to “take forward a revised project to restore and improve the Scapa Flow Museum.”
The revised project involves the restoration of the former oil pumping station at the heart of the museum, the enhancement of interpretation and displays, and the creation of a new extension which will house an exhibition space, café, toilet facilities and information areas.
Leader of Orkney Islands Council James Stockan, who is also one of the councillors who represents the South Isles said:
“The problems we encountered in trying to take forward an all-encompassing project are among the main reasons why it has taken longer than we hoped to get to this stage.
“The remote location, the logistical challenges and the unique and complex nature of each of the buildings made it difficult to secure a contractor interested in tackling the project as a whole.
“We have now decided to focus on the pump house and museum extension and hope to be in a position to award a contract later in the summer so that construction work can begin in the autumn.
“First we need to discuss the revised project with the external funders and ensure their continuing support. The decision we took today is hugely important and will send a strong and reassuring signal to the funders that this project enjoys the full backing of the council.”
I know many visitors and locals who have expressed great disappointment that this wonderful museum is still closed.
Here’s a reminder of what it was like: Scapa Flow Visitor Centre
Currently there is a temporary museum in the nearby Hoy hotel which contains a series of display boards, an excellent Wartime Trail leaflet and guided walks.
A guided walk around the remains of the former Royal Naval Base at Lyness takes place at 11:00 each Tuesday and Thursday, starting on Tuesday 2 April 2019 – meet outside the Ferry Waiting Room at Lyness. The two hour walk is mainly on the road and includes a visit to the Royal Naval Cemetery at Lyness.
The walk costs £5.50 and as places are limited, booking is advised – please email Museums or telephone 01856791300.
Group bookings (8-16 people) can be arranged for other times – please enquire using the contact details above.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame