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Laying foundation stone of Kirkwall Town Hall
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Laying foundation stone of Kirkwall Town Hall

Peter writes:
'The event shown on the enclosed picture was in fact the official laying of the foundation stone for Kirkwall Town Hall. In this instance the photographer is not known'

See also picture #276.
Picture added on 18 June 2004
This picture is in the following groups
Kirkwall Town Hall
Very interesting to see how big the Peedie Sea was compared to nowadays. The water is right up to the Ayre Houses and the Ayre Mills, and you also can see the trees of Grainbank House at the top edge.
Added by Alastair Kelday on 01 March 2007
I'm interested to know where this photo was taken from. From the angle it must be from the cathedral but it doen't look high enough to be taken from the spire. There are folk in the foreground standing on something which looks like a raised platform - surely that can't be the roof of the cathedral ??
Added by Whassigo on 02 March 2007
what was on the site before the town hall??
Added by Alison on 02 March 2007
There are walkways along the wall head of the cathederal on both side, so that could be the viewpoint. If you watch when you pass the cathederal, you can see the small doorways. The raised area could be site huts constructed up on the Kirk Green. The construction appears to have a sloped roof.
Added by Alastair Kelday on 03 March 2007
20th August 1884 was the day the foundation stone was laid. That of the Masonic Hall was laid the same day, both ceremonies being carried out by the Earl of Mar and Kellie, Grand Master Mason of Scotland. I wonder how many photographers were out and about. Here you can see one working with his tripod on the roof of the site hut. Is he taking it down or putting it up? The camera seems to be mounted in picture 2430 and there are a number of other differences (for example the group of boys who have clambered up the fence at the bottom left, and it looks as though you can see the foundation stone still suspended), but it's hard to say which picture was taken first. I would guess though that they were taken by different photographers, or one very agile one, for this looks as though it was taken at the triforium wall head and the other at clerestory level (ie higher and further to the left). Perhaps Steven could group all the pictures of this event together, and add the one looking down Broad Street I mentioned in my comment on picture 276? In answer to Alison's question, the Town Hall and the J & W Tait building replaced two 17th century houses with oriel windows overhanging the street. Several pictures of them exist.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 04 March 2007
Paul's plea touched my heart, so I have created a picture group called Kirkwall Town Hall, accessible from the Groups drop down box at the top of the page, or the link below each picture in the group.
Added by Steven Heddle on 05 March 2007
Steven Any chance you can do something on the computer to identify the two shops between Kirkness & Gorie's and the lane where the construction is occurring. Would be useful for my history of shops and streets.

[Hi David, I've had a go but without much success. If I was going to guess, I'd say that the one where OTE is now says Laughton. - Steven]
Added by David Partner on 16 December 2015
David, if you look at plate 29 in Gordon Wright's "Orkney from Old Photographs", you'll see the right-hand sign in its earlier location on the building that was demolished to make way for J & W Tait's. It reads "Peter Wick, Flesher". I think the emblem (a sheep?) may be in the museum. Earlier signage on the OTE building can be seen in "Shoal and Sheaf" page 105.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 19 January 2016
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