The house from a circa 1919 postcard
Built / Designed For: Sir James Matheson
House & Family History: In 1844 Sir James Matheson purchased the entire Isle of Lewis for approximately £550,000 using money he made from the Chinese opium trade. After arranging for 500 local families to emigrate to Canada, Sir James began the building of Lews Castle. In 1918 Lord Leverhulme purchased the Lews Estate; in 1923 he gave the property to the people of Stornoway. During World War II the castle was used as accommodation for the crew of the 700 Naval Air Squadron. In the 1950s the house was used as dorms for students of Lews Castle College.
House Listed: Category A
Park Listed: Designated Garden & Designed Landscape
Past Seat / Home of: Sir James Matheson, 1848-78; Colonel Duncan Matheson, early 20th century; Matheson family here until 1918. William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, 1918-23.
Current Ownership Type: Government
Primary Current Ownership Use: Mixed Use
Ownership Details: The Castle is owned by the local council and operated as a museum and cultural center; accommodation is available on the upper floors.