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Circular oil-storage tank, interior. Detail showing steam pipes on the floor

D 3156

Description Circular oil-storage tank, interior. Detail showing steam pipes on the floor

Date 4/10/1996

Collection RCAHMS

Catalogue Number D 3156

Category Photographs and Off-line Digital Images

Copies SC 656656

Scope and Content Steam pipes, oil storage tank, World War I and II Naval Base, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney Islands At Lyness on Hoy, close to the sounds which made up the main fleet anchorage, naval quarters, stores and an oil depot were established during World War I and were considerably developed in World War II to become the Base Headquarters, HMS Proserpine. The base came to include an extensive area for the repair of anti-submarine boom nets, above-ground oil storage tanks and, beneath the nearby hill of Wee Fea, six very large underground fuel tanks. The solitary surviving above-ground tank at Lyness was one of four of 12,000-ton capacity built in 1917 when oil-fired warships were coming into regular service with the Royal Navy. In 1937-8, with another war looming, Messrs Balfour, Beatty & Co Ltd were contracted by the Admiralty to build 12 additional, slightly larger, 15,000-ton tanks, bringing the total complement of above-ground tanks to 16. The associated pumping station, which also dates from 1917, drew the heavy fuel oil from tankers at the pier. Originally coal-fired, the steam pumps were converted to diesel power in 1936, and pumping station and tank together now form the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre. This is a detail of the array of steam-heated pipes on the floor of the oil storage tank, together with (on the left) the mouth of a floating outlet pipe. The pipes, which were heated by the boilers in the nearby pump house, were designed to maintain in more liquid form the thick, tar-like consistency of the oil. The cable-controlled outlet pipe was hinged to 'float' on the surface of the oil. The tank had a storage capacity of 12,000 tons of oil. At the heart of the Orkney archipelago, Scapa Flow was the main fleet anchorage for the Royal Navy during both World Wars. Its vital importance led to the creation of one of the most concentrated defence networks in Britain. Source: RCAHMS contribution to SCRAN.

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/collection/482324

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