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Thu June 24 2021

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Graham named for Stornaway museum

13 Jun 13 Graham Construction has been named preferred bidder for the £8.5m Lews Castle Museum and Archive project in Stornaway.

The contract includes a new museum and archive extension on the site of the former glasshouses as well as extensive works to repair and restore the historic interior of the castle.

It is anticipated that construction work will start in August with completion and opening by summer 2015.

Lews Castle is a Category-A Listed building set in 600 acres of woodlands overlooking Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.  Built by James Matheson around 1850, it was owned by Lord Leverhulme in the 1920’s and became the first home for Lews Castle College in 1953.  The building has been unused since the early 1990s and is now owned by the local council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, which is overseeing a £13.5m regeneration project to restore the castle as a tourist attraction for the Outer Hebrides.  A new museum and archive, extension, designed by Malcolm Fraser Architects, will showcase the heritage of the islands.  Through a partnership with the British Museum the displays will include six of the world famous Lewis Chessmen.

Graham is taking on phase two of the works.

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The first phase of construction works, involving repairs and conservation work to the external fabric of the castle, is already on site and is due to be completed next month.  This work is now being led by Neil Mackay & Co , which took over after original contractor Patton went into administration.

Council leader Angus Campbell said: “The construction phase will provide a boost for the local economy over the next two years and the project will be a catalyst for further investment in and around the Castle and across the islands.

“‘We will be working closely with the main contractor on delivering community benefits which are an integral part of the contract.  This will include maximising opportunities for local sub-contractors and suppliers, training, apprenticeship and other opportunities.  We want to ensure that this project creates a legacy in terms of the specialist skills required for conserving and maintaining our historic buildings.

Graham regional director Gary Holmes said: “Lews Castle is a cultural asset to the Western Isles and we are tremendously proud to be playing such a pivotal role in bringing it back into productive use.”

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