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Stornoway ironwork in focus

7 April 2008

The stunning ironwork of Stornoway is the focus of a new exhibition.

The celebration of the amazing decorative cast ironwork will go on display at Museum nan Eilean from April 9 in a joint project between Historic Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The exhibition will run until the end of the year.

Historic Scotland Research Fellow Ali Davey has been studying the ironwork of the area. Following on from her 2006 survey of the town’s ironwork, she has organised the exhibition and is currently working on a publication which will be launched in May.

Ali’s research has shown that the cast ironwork in the Isle of Lewis capital is among the largest collections and best maintained examples in the country. Like other island communities, Stornoway retained its Victorian and Edwardian ironwork during the war.

She said: “Stornoway’s ironwork is remarkably intact and allows you to see what streets across Scotland would have looked like before so much of the ironwork was taken away for the war effort.

“What has been fascinating has been piecing together which designs came from which foundry. At the time that most of these were cast Scotland was one of the leading exporters of ironwork and this exhibition allows you to see how skilled the foundries were.”

Mairi MacIver, Local Learning Officer for Historic Scotland said: “It has been a pleasure to have worked on such an interesting locally based project. The cast iron work gives a fascinating insight into the townscape of Stornoway and it  allows pupils and teachers to appreciate their own local environment linking the fishing industry, culture and history of Stornoway and it has been a privilege  to have been part of  such a fascinating exhibition.”

Notes to Editors

  • With a handful of other locations, Stornoway retains an important collection of ironwork. The 2008 exhibition and publication is intended to illustrate the wonderful diversity of ironwork to be found.

  • The main aim of the exhibition will be to draw attention to the immensely varied forms and patterns that can readily be seen when walking round the town. Individual patterns have been traced back to the original manufacturing foundries and extracts from original pattern-books and catalogues will also be on display.

  • The exhibition will also outline how the ironwork was originally manufactured together with artefacts from foundries. Owners will also be able to get advice on how to maintain their cast ironwork.

  • Local schools will also  be invited to take part in activities and specially prepared material to engage young people in recognising Stornoway’s special place in the history of decorative cast ironwork.

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873