Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Ulster's architectural gems that could be lost forever

Cairndhu, Ballygally, Larne: Built for John Stewart Clark sometime around 1880, Cairndhu was used as a private home until 1949, when it was gifted by Sir Thomas Dixon for use as a convalescent home. That function ceased in 1986. The building was sold, firstly to the local council, and subsequently to the present private owner.
14-16 Upper Crescent, Belfast: Architectural authority Paul Larmour describes Upper Crescent as the grandest neo-classical terrace in Ulster. Numbers 14 to 16 are now boarded up on the ground floor. Buddleia growing from the property appears to be damaging the stucco detailing and finishes. *** Local Caption *** 14-16 Upper Crescent, Belfast: Architectural authority Paul Larmour describes Upper Crescent as the grandest neo-classical terrace in Ulster. Numbers 14 to 16 are now boarded up on the ground floor. Buddleia growing from the property appears to be damaging the stucco detailing and finishes.
Manor House, Milford, armagh: Originally the seat of the McCrum family, damask manufacturers of the firm McCrum, Watson and Mercer, this two-storey mansion has been empty for over a decade. It was built in the late 19th century and is unusually constructed from mass concrete. The structure is beginning to crack and the façade opens to reveal the raw concrete beneath.

They are the architectural treasures you glimpse out of the corner of your eye as you’re driving through the countryside or walking through town.

But hundreds of them are being allowed to fall into ruin.

Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) has listed its ‘dirty dozen’ — the worst of the more than 500 once-beautiful buildings scattered across Northern Ireland deteriorating through lack of maintenance.

While Northern Ireland Environment Agency can order owners to repair listed buildings, these have only been used in two cases in the last 10 years.

This week is National Maintenance Week and UAHS has issued advice for owners of listed buildings on how to prepare their property for winter.

It said that if owners undertake straightforward maintenance measures in autumn, it can prevent major faults and damage at a later date, and stop buildings from being “at risk”.

The biggest enemy of building fabric is water, but an annual cleaning of gutters and drains can be cheaper and less traumatic than having to cope with dry rot after years of neglect, said UAHS director Rita Harkin.

“Ten minutes spent outside on a rainy day checking the performance of your gutters and drains can really make a difference. Just a few minutes invested in clearing weeds and debris, or just a few pounds to mend a leaky gutter can save many hundreds, and possibly thousands of pounds,” she said.

The society suggests checking for blocked downpipes, clearing debris from gullies, drains, hopperheads and flat roofs and removing damaging vegetation from downpipes. You can use a hand mirror to check for hidden cracks behind rainwater pipes.

Owners should fit guards to soil pipes and rainwater outlets and have gutters refixed if they are discharging water onto the wall. Regular painting of cast iron is essential to n prevent rust.

More advice, including the leaflet Look Before You Leak, is available at www.uahs.org.uk/resources



COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz