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Castle Hotel, Kirkwall
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Castle Hotel, Kirkwall

Craig sends in this picture from Dougie Shearer's collection, showing the Castle Hotel at the corner of Castle Street and Albert Street, where the LLoyds TSB bank now stands, and also The Long Partnership and the Wrigley Sisters' new venture in the former Oxy Club.

Date is an estimate.

Can anybody from the bank confirm the rumour that there is still access to the cellars of the old Kirkwall Castle under the bank?
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Picture added on 24 September 2004
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Comments:
From "Kirkwall in the Orkneys", 'this property was sold to John Dennison, merchant, who built on it the house which, with additions is now the Castle Hotel, the property of Mr W.H.Statham.'
John Dennison ran a drapery, etc from here around 1840 to 1859, we believe.He left Kirkwall with his family in 1860 and opened a drapery in Newmarket, New Zealand. His eldest son became the first Town Clerk of Newmarket. John and Elizabeth (Leask) Di(e)nnison were my husband's gt gt grandparents.
Added by Margaret Gentil on 07 November 2006
As part of the MA Archaelogy course at the college we discovered remains of the castle walling in the cellar beneath the Wrigley sisters. For some reason the bank were relucant to discuss their cellar arrangements with us.

Pipe laying in the 80s found the remains of a huge 2m wide section of the castle wall running across castle street just where the middle door. A well was found covered by a large flagstone directly in front of the tourist board front door in the middle of the road. This and the remains of two wells in the back courtyard of the tourist board indicate the castle yards is the right name for the location. Just think of what we'd find if we excavated those wells!
Added by Graham Macdonald on 17 November 2006
Yes you can still access the cellars from below the Wrigley sisters place. I was in them recently through my work at Hydro Electric. It is like going back in time!
Added by Ian Tait on 25 March 2008
Considering Hossack says that the last vestige of the castle a wall of great length and thickness was only removed in 1865 I don't think Dennisons building could have been on the site before then
Added by David Partner on 03 June 2011
Presumably Dennison's property was the right-hand part of the Castle Hotel with the three first-floor windows facing what is now Foubister & Bain's. It can be seen alongside the remaining wall of the Castle in a drawing in Hossack by T. S. Peace.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 06 June 2011
I can only reiterate. In 1832 the land belonged to Robert Grant's son-in-law, William Trail, Esq. of Frotoft. He sold it to John Dennison, merchant, who built on it the house......... John and his family left Orkney in 1860, so I can only assume the house was built before that. Would be interested in any other comments.
Added by Margaret Gentil on 06 June 2011
That last section that was removed was located to the left of the TSB bank where the courtyard for Low's Solicitors is. I don't have a copy of Hossacks to hand but there is an engraving showing this section of wall. Dennisons building was built on the area of castle that was demolished in the new harbour project that created Castle Street. Interestingly some worked stone from the castle was used in the building, most noticably the red sandstone block showing the Sinclair Arms located between the two windows.
Added by Graham Macdonald on 06 June 2011
There is also a copy of a drawing of the remains of Kirkwall Castle in "The Orkney Guide Book" by Charles Tait, showing the remains of the castle between the shop/bank building and another building, in what is probably now the end of Broad St. It appears both buildings face onto Castle St. Can anyone enlighten me? The Dinnison's address at the 1851 census was Broad St (No 1, I believe).
Added by Margaret Gentil on 07 June 2011
Very interesting thanks Graham. In the etching/drawing in the Orkney guide book I wonder if the building on the right of the old castle remnants is the stone building on Broad St opposite TSB and next to the white building beside the cathedral grounds. I have only been to Orkney once and that was 5 years ago so am looking on Google maps and streets.
Added by Margaret Gentil on 09 June 2011
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