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Stromness, Orkney, UK

Garrison Hall was built in 1888, which is carved into the keystone in the large arch above the main entrance, for the 4th Company Orkney Artillery Volunteers. The company was formed on 23 June 1863 but later became part of the Orkney Royal Garrison Artillery.

The original uniform of the 1st Orkney A.V. was frock-coats with blue cuffs and collars and five rows of black lace on the breast, the men having scarlet and the officers silver piping on the collar and Austrian knots on the sleeves, blue trousers with red stripes, blue peaked caps with black bands and scarlet piping, with the Royal Arms in front, and white belts.

The Stromness drill hall is believed to have consisted of an armoury and a four room cottage for the sergeant and a rifle range nearby. There would also have been a practice battery for 64 pounder guns and you can still see the remains of this along the shore at the Point of Ness, just past the campsite.

You can find out more on a short walk which we have put together which takes you past all of the information boards.

When the company was disbanded the Parish Council took over the building as the Town Hall and extended it to include a stage. It would have still played it’s part though during the war years as there is a concrete base in the garden, which was probably part of a communication tower. There was also a large communal air raid shelter which previously stood where the car park is. There is a similar size one at the North end of the town as well.

Royal Garrison Artillery Volunteers outside the main entrance
One of the cannons used by the garrison
Newspaper advert for the cinema at the hall
Royal Garrison Artillery Volunteers
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The Town Hall was regularly used as a cinema and many locals still remember coming to see a film here or to enjoy a show or a dance.

During the 80’s the Scottish Youth Hostels Association took over the building and converted it into dormitories sleeping up to 40 people. It was later sold into private ownership but remained as a youth hostel and then as supported accommodation for young people.

We purchased the property in 2018 and completely renovated the building into what you see today, with modern insulation and facilities yet maintaining much of the buildings original character.