Work has finally begun to extensively restore the Lewis War Memorial.

The £230,000 project had been due to start this time last year, but was put on hold after the company who were awarded the tender went bankrupt.

Another company has now been contracted to undertake the works.

The War Memorial, which dates back to 1924, is being externally scaffolded to allow the restoration works to be undertaken to all elevations.

The external works will primarily consist of stonework pointing, stone replacement where necessary, replacement of 15 slim windows with new louvres and refurbishment of four windows on the fourth floor.

Restoration works will be undertaken to the three overhanging turrets and the turret steps, entrance door ceiling and slit windows will all be refurbished.

The internal work will primarily involve the removal of existing secondary material (cement render, plaster and paint) to expose the inner rubble stone surfaces to walls.

It is envisaged that the works will take all of the summer to deliver and on conclusion of the works the scaffolding will be left for a number of months to allow for further inspection.

Cllr Norman A. Macdonald, Comhairle Convener and Chair of the Local Remembrance Group, told “There is a lot of pointing needing to be done, as there is substantial water ingress, which is why the plaques were removed all those years ago.

“They will also do restoration work on the stair, as the stairway is quite dangerous.

“You couldn’t make your way up through the War Memorial at present.

“The most significant part is to make sure that the pointing is redone, because over a period of time, with water going in through the wall, the walls themselves and the stonework have become unstable.

“But there will be access allowed up to a certain level within the War Memorial once these works have been completed.”

Cllr Macdonald said discussions had taken place concerning the Memorial Garden, and specifically whether the plaques currently on display there should return to the Memorial once works were completed.

“The reality is, until the plaques were put in the Memorial Garden, very few people ever got to see them,” he said.

“They are much more accessible in the Memorial Garden, and I think there is a strong feeling that the plaques will remain where they are and people will also be able to access the Memorial itself, once all the Health and Safety issues have been dealt with.”

The manner in which the contract had been scoped, said Cllr Macdonald, meant that workers on-site would also be doing some investigative work.

“They will have to manufacture the steel staircase that was inside the War Memorial,” he said.

“That will have to be removed and probably replaced with a new stair.

“That is something that will have to be manufactured on-site because of the contours involved.

“It is an extensive piece of work.”

He added: “As a council we have spent quite a bit of money on the War Memorial over the years, but it was more patching up, not repairing, just care and maintenance and not a proper repair job.

“This is work that will hopefully secure the Lewis War Memorial for many generations."