Lews Castle was built in the mid-19th century as a country retreat for the Victorian businessman, Sir James Matheson. Having made his fortune in the Far East, he returned to Scotland and purchased the Island of Lewis.
The Lewis estate was purchased by Lord Leverhulme in 1918. He modernised the castle with the latest mod cons, such as electricity, central heating and telephones. In 1923 it was gifted to the people of Stornoway to become a community hub.
It served as naval hospital during WW2, after which it became a college. Today it is part of a museum and cultural centre.