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TITLE
Lews Castle, Stornoway
EXTERNAL ID
PC_BRANLEY_LEWS_CASTLE_1
PLACENAME
Stornoway
DISTRICT
Lewis
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Stornoway
DATE OF IMAGE
22 February 2010
PERIOD
2010s
CREATOR
Stephen Branley
SOURCE
Stephen Branley
ASSET ID
21983
KEYWORDS
castles
hospitals
Lews Castle, Stornoway

Sir James Matheson, whose fortune was based on the Far East opium trade, purchased the Isle of Lewis in 1844 and commissioned the building of Lews Castle in 1847. It sits on the west side of Stornoway harbour and took 7 years to complete at a cost of £60,000.

On his death in 1878 the estate fell to his widow Lady Mary Jane Matheson and subsequently to his nephew Donald and grand-nephew Colonel Duncan Matheson. For financial reasons the Lewis estate and the Castle were put on the market in 1917

William Hesketh Lever (Lord Leverhulme) bought the Island and castle in 1918. He gave the castle electric lighting, central heating, numerous bathrooms and intercom telephones. An enthusiastic dancer, he extended the ballroom by combining it with an adjacent drawing room. He hosted many famous visitors and invitations to balls at the castle were highly sought after.

During the Second World War, the castle was used as a naval hospital. Later it housed a technical college, but has remained empty since 1987. At the time of writing it is owned by the local council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and is a category A listed building.

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Lews Castle, Stornoway

ROSS: Stornoway

2010s

castles; hospitals

Stephen Branley

Isle of Lewis photographs by Stephen Branley

Sir James Matheson, whose fortune was based on the Far East opium trade, purchased the Isle of Lewis in 1844 and commissioned the building of Lews Castle in 1847. It sits on the west side of Stornoway harbour and took 7 years to complete at a cost of £60,000. <br /> <br /> On his death in 1878 the estate fell to his widow Lady Mary Jane Matheson and subsequently to his nephew Donald and grand-nephew Colonel Duncan Matheson. For financial reasons the Lewis estate and the Castle were put on the market in 1917<br /> <br /> William Hesketh Lever (Lord Leverhulme) bought the Island and castle in 1918. He gave the castle electric lighting, central heating, numerous bathrooms and intercom telephones. An enthusiastic dancer, he extended the ballroom by combining it with an adjacent drawing room. He hosted many famous visitors and invitations to balls at the castle were highly sought after.<br /> <br /> During the Second World War, the castle was used as a naval hospital. Later it housed a technical college, but has remained empty since 1987. At the time of writing it is owned by the local council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and is a category A listed building.