Contractors sought for Laxey Wheel conservation project

Can you help with the conservation of one of the Isle of Man’s best known and loved ancient monuments? Manx National Heritage, the registered charity responsible for the care and promotion of the Isle of Man’s natural and cultural heritage, has commenced the search for contractor to complete a crucial maintenance programme at the world’s largest working waterwheel, The Great Laxey Wheel.

Designed by the Victorian engineer, Robert Casement, the wheel was completed in 1854 to pump water from the depths of the Laxey mines using water from Glen Mooar to power the wheel. The impressive 22m (72.5 feet) diameter structure found immediate popularity and has remained one of the Island’s most iconic and dramatic tourist attractions for over 165 years.
The world famous waterwheel was last repainted between winter 2014 and spring 2015, and prior to that between winter 2003 and spring 2004 in time for her 150th anniversary celebrations. 

Steve Blackford, Head of Properties for Manx National Heritage said: “This unique contract offers a rare opportunity to work on conserving one of the Isle of Man’s most treasured ancient monuments and the largest working water wheel in the world.  This is a complex and demanding project, which will see the iconic structure clad with scaffolding before works commence over a four month period and the wheel unveiled in time for the 2022 visitor season.  

“Advance surveys reveal that work is needed on stone masonry on the wheel housing, with repairs to handrails, cladding, buckets and the wheel structure also required.  Old render and defective timbers which have suffered decay caused by natural weathering will be replaced, and then the wheel, housing, railings and viewing platform will be re-painted.  Additional works will also take place on the T Rocker and rod duct, which will be advertised on the procurement portal shortly”.

Work will commence on site in November 2021, with the project scheduled to conclude in April 2022, when the famous waterwheel will reopen for the visitor season.   

Interested contractors should visit the Isle of Man Government Procurement Portal to register interest in the project.  Expressions must be submitted by 12 Noon on 1 October 2021.