Entrance to Italian Chapel, Lamb Holm, Orkney, Scotland.

This evening, the focus of my blog is the famous little church on Orkney which has become known as the Italian Chapel.

Orkney is an archipelago located to north of mainland Scotland. The Italian Chapel is about eight miles south of Kirkwall, the principal town on Orkney.

Interior of Italian Chapel, Orkney, Scotland

This fascinating building was constructed by Italian prisoners of war (WW2) during the period 1943-5 . The core building comprises two Nissen huts but the fixtures and decoration were made from concrete and other materials ‘scavenged’  during a period of major shortages. The result is a great credit to the British authorities (for permitting the chapel to be built), Father P Gioacchino Giacobazzi an artistic prisoner named Domenico Chiocchetti plus other skilled helpers.The same men restored the building in the 1960s and again in the 1990s.

Architectural detail

The prisoners were primarily engaged in building Churchill Barriers which had a dual purpose of connecting the islands and acting as barriers to German U-boats getting into Scapa Flow. The catalyst for the construction work was the sinking by U-47 of the battleship Royal Oak in 1939 with loss of over 800 lives.

Front and side elevation

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