Stories & Gifts


From the Ends of the Earth:
Sailors' Souvenirs from Distant lands
Amazing stoires and gifts brought home by local mariners who sailed all over the world.

Stromness Maritime Merchants: Trades and Industries that Forged the Town
Summer Exhibition 10 April - September

This year's summer exhibition takes a look at the trades, shops and industries that forged the modern day town over the centuries.  It covers everything from Claggum toffee to Orkney Fudge, and the 19th century herring boom to The Orkney Herring Company.


"The town of Stromness takes its name from the parish in which it lies and is from the Old Norse straumr nes, meaning the headland in the tidal stream. The town grew up by the shores of Hamnavoe, Hafnarvágr, the haven bay, where ships could shelter safely in a deep water anchorage. The writer Jo Ben refers to the suitability of waters around Stromness in an account from the mid 16th century. He states that “The French and Spanish very often avoid storms here.” It was the presence of these visiting ships that prompted William and Mareon Clark to build an inn on the shores of Hamnavoe around 1590, selling the ale that they made to passing sailors. This first building was not where the town was to develop, but on the N.E. corner of the bay near to where the new Stromness Academy now stands...."
Stromness wet and dry
"When John Gow the pirate returned to Stromness in 1725 he is said to have drank at the White Horse Inn, where he scratched his name on a window pane. The café at the harbour was once the Arctic Whaler, whose name hints at their target market. Login’s Inn, called the Ship, was more up-market. Login not only supplied drink to the sea captains but also water from the well for their ships. In 1825-6 there were 12 pubs in Stromness with names like Britannia, Crown & Anchor, Jolly Sailor, Mason’s Arms, Pilot’s Inn, Rose & Crown, as well as three Ship Inns. There were also many private dwellings where home-brewed ale could be consumed. ..."
The exhibition runs till the end of September

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