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Community / Work on refurbishing historic lodberry gathers pace

THE REFURBISHMENT of a 200-year-old lodberry in Lerwick is progressing as a local company presses ahead with plans to transform the historic building into a marine training resource for its staff.

The Copeland lodberry was bought by Ocean Kinetics in November last year, but significant work was needed on the tired building.

Scaffolding is now up and contractors are on site renovating the property, which was formerly used by the local sea scouts.

Ocean Kinetics managing director John Henderson said: “Our priority has been to restore and preserve the building so that it continues to serve as a prominent feature of the town for centuries to come.

“The first phases of the project have therefore been to make the building wind and watertight. The erection of the scaffolding was an early challenge, given that it was part in and part out of the sea.”

It is all being carried out by local craftspeople and in addition to the work on the house itself, the lodberry’s courtyard and pier are also being repaired, with the deck of the pier being relaid to allow it to be used safely.

In the building, the ground floor will be covered in traditional stone flagstones, reusing the old flags wherever possible.

“We have now been able to start the roof work,” Henderson added.

“The slates and timbers there were in very poor condition. They have been stripped and will be replaced with new wood and traditional Welsh slates.

“Meanwhile, a stone mason is carefully repairing the stonework.

“The timber trusses and floor will follow and, in keeping with our wish to use local craftspeople, traditional windows are being made locally.

“Following this, the next phase of the project will be flood prevention and groundwork.”

The building is one of the few lodberries left on Lerwick’s seafront.

Lodberries were merchants’ dwellings – usually from the 17th or 18th centuries – which included a house, courtyard, warehouse and pier.

The project architect for the Copeland work is Colin Sim from Malcolmson Architects and the engineer is Arch Henderson’s Karl Tait.