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Imperial Hotel, Albert Street, Kirkwall
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Imperial Hotel, Albert Street, Kirkwall

This is quite interesting. I was wondering where it was when I chanced across it, and only worked it out on closer inspection. The sign pointing down the lane says Albert Hotel, suggesting that the lane is Mounthoolie Lane (or The Lang Gutter as it was previously known) and that the Imperial Hotel is what is now known as Quest Buildings (home of The Stables, the beauty salon and The Herald Printshop) or The Old Education Offices for those of an earlier vintage.

This rang a bell, so I have just strolled up the street and looked in the doorway of the Herald Printshop, and sure enough, etched into the glass of the inner door are the large words 'Imperial Hotel'. The doorway in question will be the nearest one as you view the picture.

Thus the railing is in front of where Woolies is now, and the two shops with cart in front of them have become Mackays, formerly John Sclater's.

The date is an estimate (based on it saying ER on the plaque above the banner), and I wasn't aware that Tome Kent was still taking pictures then. Would it be possible for someone to provide a brief biography of Tom Kent for the contributor details? Are there any of Tom Kent's relatives in Orkney today?
Picture added on 31 May 2004
I'm sure somebody will know better but the bunting looks to have a g.r. on it signifying 1936?? or even earlier----george v??
Added by geoff linnitt on 01 June 2004
>...and I wasn't aware that tome kent was still taking pictures then.<
... If I remembered it right: tk died 11th August 1936 ... Isn't there a short biography on the website of orkney library?

Added by Wolfgang on 02 June 2004
The shot is probably taken around the 12th May 1937 (Coronation of George VI and Elizabeth). Look at the Union Jack on both sides of the arms of Ireland, England, Scotland etc. with the different colours esp. the lighter blue. It does not fit to the kind of darker blue used in the mid 50es.
... or a bit later the same year, when she visited Orkney. The Royal Commission for Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings has some shots from August/September 1937 showing ER walking in the garden of Melsetter House.
Added by Wolfgang on 02 June 2004
See picture 155 for close ups of the bunting and the Albert Hotel sign pointing down Mounthoolie Lane.
Added by The Administrator on 02 June 2004
This certainly looks like the work of Tom Kent. Could it possibly date from 1901 and the coronation of Edward VII. This would explain the "ER" and the "Edwardian" look of Albert Street.
Added by Tom Scott on 03 June 2004
Added by Wolfgang on 04 June 2004
Edward VII's coronation was postponed for a year as he took appendicitis and the coronation finally took place in 1902 By 1936 this hotel had become the Education offices

David Partner
Added by David Partner on 30 April 2011
King Edward VII's coronation was originally arranged for 26th June 1902 but postponed to 9th August owing to his appendicitis. The following week "The Orcadian" described the celebrations that had taken place in Kirkwall. Of the Imperial Hotel it stated: "The decorations here did not differ in any material points from those on other buildings, but the taste displayed, the arrangement, and the absence of overcrowding showed artistic ability of no mean degree."
Added by Paul Sutherland on 04 May 2011
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