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Town hall restoration to get under way

Lerwick town hall - Photo: ShetNews

REPAIR work on Lerwick’s A-listed town hall is due to get underway in the coming weeks.

Scaffolding will be erected next week to kick off renovation work on the Victorian building’s external stonework and stained glass windows.

Laing Traditional Masonry from Aberdeen have been appointed to carry out the work on the building, which I could cost as much as £1.7 million.

As a result of the restoration work most of its first floor – often used for weddings and community events – will be out of action until summer next year.

Council meetings have already moved to the Islesburgh Community Centre and the auditorium of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

The Marriage Window – celebrating the marriage in 1469 of Margaret, daughter of Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, to King James III of Scotland - Photo: SIC

However, the Registrar’s Office will continue to operate from the town hall as will the front office.

Project managers from Shetland Amenity Trust and Laing Traditional Masonry are in the process of finalising the works plan.

Specialist stained glass conservators Cannon MacInnes will begin restoration work once the windows are removed.

It emerged last year that the sandstone surrounds of the 130-year-old stained glass windows had deteriorated to the extent that action was needed to prevent them crumbling away.

Earlier this year, Historic Environment Scotland granted £233,855 towards the renovation project. Shetland Islands Council hopes to be able to attract further outside funding.

Deputy convener Cecil Smith said it is important to preserve the Town Hall for “future generations”.

“I am pleased to see the work starting soon, led by a contractor with considerable experience in this type of specialist work,” he said.

“The closure of the main hall is unfortunate but it’s essential to allow the work to be carried out on the stained glass windows and stonework. I look forward to seeing the work progress in the coming months.”