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Circular oil-storage tank, interior. Detail showing steam pipes on the floor and floating outlet pipe.

D 3158

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

Date 4/10/1996

Catalogue Number D 3158

Category Photographs and Off-line Digital Images

Copies SC 656657

Scope and Content Oil storage tank interior, 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 view of the interior of the oil storage tank shows the array of steam-heated pipes on the floor of the tank, together with (on the left) a floating outlet pipe. The pipes, which were heated by the boilers in the nearby pump house, were designed to liquefy the thick, tar-like consistency of the stored oil. The cable-controlled outlet pipe was hinged to 'float' on the surface of the oil. The tank had a 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.


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