Lews Castle is a category A-listed mid-nineteenth century building, set in a historic designed landscape overlooking the town of Stornoway on the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Simpson & Brown is working in collaboration with Malcolm Fraser Architects to restore and extend the derelict castle to form a new hotel and museum.
Designed by Charles Wilson in the 1840s, Lews Castle was built as the country seat for Sir James Matheson with his fortune made from the Chinese opium trade. In 1918 the castle was bought by industrialist Lord Leverhulme from the Matheson family. He gifted the castle to the people of Stornoway parish in 1923. After being used during World War II as military accommodation the Castle was used as accommodation for students of Lews Castle College. The castle has been unoccupied since the late 1990s.
A Feasibility Study was carried out by the Western Isles Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar which identified that developing the building into a hotel, museum and cultural centre ensured the most economically and culturally beneficial future for the building and its grounds.
The mixed use scheme includes the comprehensive fabric repair of the castle and conservation of the principal ground floor interiors. The first phase of external repairs was completed in the summer of 2013. The second phase of work, including the hotel interior, the new museum and the archive was completed in 2015.
The project is being funded by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Historic Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund, European Regional Development Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
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