The Italian Chapel

I’m not much of a lad, as a rule, for what I call ‘over the top’ religious buildings. It always seems to me that religious buildings out to reflect some kind of humility. So here’s one that, Whilst OTT in some ways, certainly also reflects humility. This chapel is on the island called Lamb Holm which is one of the Orkneys. It was constructed by Italian prisoners during World War II and is based around what looks like a Nissan hut.


It’s easy to get to if you are on mainland Orkney for causeways were built to link islands and to prevent foreign shipping from slipping through. These causeways were built by the Italian prisoners – that’s why they were on Orkney.

The chapel, built by Italians was, of course, for the Catholic tradition of the Christian faith. You expect it to be very ornate and in that sense it doesn’t disappoint.


In truth, I thought the interior was stunningly beautiful.


What an amazing piece of work from those Italian prisoners. And it is essentially two Nissan huts and whatever scrap the prisoners could find. I like the fact that the chapel now stands as a link of friendship.

My photos date from August 2004.

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