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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Betty's Reading Room

One of my favourite places to visit on the Orkney Mainland is Betty's Reading Room. It's in Tingwall, near the ferry terminal to the island of Rousay. It was put together by two friends who wanted to create a tribute to their friend, Betty Pricter, after her death.  Betty was a much loved teacher and friend and I cannot think of a better tribute than this beautiful and atmospheric reading room.  Folk passing by can pop in and sit on one of the sofas, browse the books, take one away, or bring others in their place.  There's a fire on often in the winter to keep warm by.  Several TV programmes have used the location as have the Orkney Storytelling Festival.

I took Irene from Graemsay there for her first visit last week and she was as entranced as I was with the place when I first saw it some four years ago.  So here are a few pictures.

Betty in happier times.....

And the story how the reading room came about.....

In summer there are flowers on the fire....

A stained glass window made especially for the door, with light flooding through it.

Betty must have loved hares as they are all over the place.

Oil lamps for lighting....

And lanterns as well as books....

Did I mention books?

Erm.... more books

And a rocking chair and sofas to sit on while..... you look at more books!

And a memory of another lassie gone too soon?

And lots of lovely touches.... Teddies feature too....

As well as hares....

Another Ted....

Oooh a coo!

Trouser!  Lovely name for a dog!! (there is even a dog basket in the corner for your canine companion)

Looking back towards the hearth

And what a hearth!

And one of my favourite poems!!  Oh I so love a good book! Then I am sad when it is finished....

Meanwhile outside, where the sun was shining  and the air was warm...... something to help you forecast the weather. Heehee!

A glimpse of other old buildings and past lives....

And through the old doorway, to the present, with the wind turbines on Burgar Hill.

And facing the sea, a selkie woman?  Beautiful wood carving by Frances Pelly.

Hope you enjoyed your trip to Betty's Reading Room, sorry we couldn't stay longer.

And then when I got home, my very own peedie (small) hare was waiting for me.  Made by a clever Crafty Lady, Krris Perry.  He has sparkly whiskers!


  1. Lovely. We missed this when we were in Orkney a couple of years ago. I don’t know why because I knew about it. Just ran out of time I suppose.

    1. Easily done with so much to see in Orkney!

  2. What a great place and a tribute to Betty.

  3. What a meaningful memorial.... it keeps her legacy alive. Lovely post, Sian.

    1. Thanks. It's one of my favourite places in Orkney. And yes such a beautiful and meaningful memorial.

  4. What an esoteric hideaway and a fine testimony. If and when we visit Orkney it will be on my list.

  5. Thank you for this post. The reading room such a fantastic idea! Wish we had one here.
    Love the stone forecasting!
    And the peedie hare!!

  6. Wow, what a lovely tribute!

  7. Hilde in Germany22 June 2018 at 05:11

    What a great tribute! This lady must have been truly loved. It is a lot of work to keep a room like this in good shape.
    There are so many books just thrown away after their owner has died. Enough for a reading room in every town and village.

    1. I know, wouldn't it be wonderful if there was something like this in many more places. We are lucky in Orkney though, the Cat Protection charity shop has a wonderful room full of books to buy for pennies, with a chair to sit in and a cat for company!

  8. Betty must have been a fabulous lady to inspire this wonderful tribute place of Betty's Reading Room. I like all the little touches like the dog bed and flowers.

  9. I am just back from Orkney. Posting about it on my blog now.