Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative
Works Completed on Two Major KTHI Projects in Kirkwall
Work has finished on two major projects in Kirkwall, ‘The Storehouse’ in Bridge Street Wynd and the ‘Old Library’ in Laing Street.
Wife and husband team Judith Glue and David Spence have created a ‘Restaurant with Rooms’ in The Storehouse. This project has seen the historic B Listed building, built in 1880 and originally used as a Herring Curing Store, transformed into a large restaurant on the ground floor with eight bedrooms on the two floors above.
As the building was vacant and given its size and history it was designated a ‘Priority’ building by the KTHI, which allowed funding to be allocated toward finding a new use for it.
Under normal circumstances, due to the buildings listed status and the extra construction costs associated with re-using old buildings, it was highly unlikely that a viable business use would be found for the building. The KTHI support has allowed the owners to bridge that gap and create a sustainable business idea for the much-loved building. The KTHI could not have achieved its aim of bringing the building back into use without the vision and drive of the owners, and their desire to see the project to this stage.
The building has been in the current ownership since 2011. Previously the building was owned by George Leonard and it was used as a print works and stationery storage. The building had changed very little since 1880 and it still retains many of its original internal timbers some of which were believed to be salvaged from tall ships. The Storehouse and Restaurant and Rooms opened in July 2018, creating twelve full-time equivalent jobs.
Work has also finished at the Old Library in Laing Street.
This project saw the large vacant B listed property brought back into use through creating a multi-use venue centred around an expanded existing entertainment shop, complimented with a café and coffee shop, art gallery and music venue. This has created a destination hub just off the main high street promoting local art, music and food. The completed facility has created six or seven full time jobs and up to twelve new part-time.
The main library building is the centre piece for the new hub, with the existing Librarian’s house and Library wings making up key components of the venue, which has been largely THI funded. Furthermore, the applicant has invested significant sums in non–THI funded new build works through modifications to the former modern archive building to create the complementary café and coffee shop space, all of which has contributed to making this an excellent multi-use venue centred around one of Kirkwall’s key historic buildings.
The Kirkwall Library dates from 1683 and is recognised as Scotland’s oldest Public Library. The Library relocated to a new building in 2003. The old library building was opened in 1909 by Andrew Carnegie, who twenty years earlier had gifted funds to ensure that the Library was free and open to all. In 1903 Carnegie gifted a further £1500 for the construction of a new Library building. The building is classical in style with a Doric portico and pedimented semi dormers. In the 1960s a flat roofed, stone fronted extension was wrapped around the main building. The site includes a two-storey dwelling house, formerly housing the archive, which dates from the early nineteenth century.
For images of both of these projects, please see the Related Downloads section on this page.