Manx National Heritage has commenced the second phase of its project to conserve and repair the 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.

The 22.1m (72.6 feet) diameter structure has remained one of the island’s most visited tourist attractions in the last 170 years.

John-Paul Walker, historic buildings architect for Manx National Heritage said: ‘We are pleased to confirm that the contract for completion of works was awarded to the Isle of Man based CCJ Group.

‘The latest phase of works will include the repainting of Lady Isabella’s iconic rod duct, the original of which featured an impressive series of 32 arches extending over 169 metres along Glen Mooar Valley. The T-Rocker, rods, bogies, associated timbers and iron works will also be repaired ready to set in motion, powered by the wheel once again’.

Phase one of the works, which was completed by the Summer of 2022, involved the old render and defective timbers being replaced and the wheel, housing, railings and viewing platforms being re-painted.

Experts from the Laxey Mines Research Group, which have been involved at the site since the 1980s, then completed preparatory works for the second phase of the project.

Derek Clarkson, managing director of CCJ Group, said: ‘As a local company we are immensely proud to have secured the project and look forward to seeing the iconic waterwheel fully restored.

‘The project offers a rare opportunity to study and work on one of the Isle of Man’s most treasured ancient monuments and the largest working historic water wheel in the world.’

Members of the public will have the opportunity to learn more about the conservation works in a series of guided tours, enabling visitors to experience works as they happen. The details for these tours are to be announced in Spring this year.

The Laxey Wheel will reopen to the public for the season on Thursday, March 28. The wheel will continue to turn for the majority of works, with access to the wheel’s viewing platform available throughout the project.