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Stone search causes minor delay to town hall works

With work progressing on the stonework at Lerwick Town Hall, the refurbished clock tower is now visible again. Photo: Shetland News/Hans J. Marter.

CONSERVATION work at Lerwick Town Hall is set to be completed a little later than planned following a problem with sourcing suitable stone.

The work is now due to be finished in September instead of late August. Two social events booked to take place in the upstairs main hall in September are being moved as a result.

A Shetland Islands Council spokeswoman said contractors excavated a section of stone from a quarry near Hopeman at around Christmas time, but some of it had cracks and fissures and was unsuitable.

“This resulted in the quarry having to open up other areas to find suitable stone with a reasonable colour match,” she said.

“We gave ourselves a stretch target of completion by the end of August and it should now be complete in September.”

Repair work on the A-listed building got underway last year, with the Victorian building’s external stonework and stained glass windows getting a makeover.

It emerged in 2015 that the sandstone surrounds of the 130-year-old stained glass windows had deteriorated to the extent that action was necessary to prevent them crumbling away.

Laing Traditional Masonry has been dealing with the stonework while Linda Cannon and Rab MacInnes has been working with the stained glass.

The project is being managed by Shetland Amenity Trust with lead consultants Groves-Raines Architects.

Meanwhile, a time capsule which was placed in the town hall in 1997 before being removed in December was replaced last week.

The capsule, which contains items like a town hall guidebook from 1984 and letters, coins and CDs, was taken out last year from behind the three-panel oriel window in the main hall as conservation work continued.

New items including an updated guidebook and a letter from council convener Malcolm Bell were added before it was reinserted into the building.