The original Stornoway Town Hall was given the go ahead in 1897 with the decision that a municipal building should be constructed in the town. The total cost for the build was £14,000 and contributions for the building came from far and wide with 10 Guineas from King Edward VII and £1,500 from Andrew Carnegie. Major Duncan Matheson of Lews Castle laid the foundation stone in 1903 on the site at the corner of Cormwell Street and South Beach Street; the stone for the building came from Isle Martin in Loch Broom. Stornoway Town Hall was opened in 7 September 1905, and was a public holiday in the town; Lord Roseberry, the former British Prime Minster, conducted the opening ceremony.
In 1918 a devastating fire burnt the building down, leaving nothing standing except the walls and destroying many important records. The decision to rebuild eventually came in 1923 with an appeal for funds towards the cost. Large sums were donated towards the £25,000 rebuild cost, many from emigrants from Lewis or their descendants, including Dr Thomas Basset Macaulay, a descendant of the Macaulay family of Lewis, who travelled from Canada in 1929 to open the rebuilt building.
Below is a diagram of the existing elevation overlaid with:
- The original 1905 elevation outlined in blue;
- The extent of fabric that survived the 1918 fire, shaded in pink and yellow;
- The extent of the original fabric that was reused in the 1929 building, shaded in pink.