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IFA headquarters with links to Titanic on market for £1.1m

By Cate McCurry

Published 23/01/2016

The original staircase and stained glass window at IFA headquarters on Belfast’s Windsor Avenue
The original staircase and stained glass window at IFA headquarters on Belfast’s Windsor Avenue
Thomas Andrews, the architect of the Titanic, who went down with the ship in 1912

The Belfast headquarters of the Irish Football Association - once home to the Titanic designer Thomas Andrews - is up for grabs for a cool £1.1m.

The IFA HQ is setting up its new home at Windsor Park and will move in to its accommodation by February 1.

On one estate agent's website, offers are invited in the region of £1,100,000 for the Windsor Avenue property.

The organisation bought the building in 1960 from the Dixon family, who gave their name to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.

Just over 100 years ago, it was the home where Thomas Andrews lived with his young family.

Its ornate staircase is said to have inspired the world-famous split staircase on the ill-fated RMS Titanic.

The IFA says the house was built in 1863 and many period features remain, including the original staircase, stained glass windows and period fireplaces.

It also boasts a blue plaque indicating its unique link to the luxury liner, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1912.

The two-storey period-style former house which has been converted to offices was subsequently extended and benefits from its own private car park.

The extension was built in 1995, adding extra office accommodation and around 40 IFA employees now work there, although the sporting organisation also rents office space at Apollo Road.

It was this house that Thomas Andrews set off from when he was making his way to Southampton for the Titanic's maiden voyage, never to return. The designer went down with the ship.

IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson said that their soon-to-be former headquarters has seen "a lot of action" over the years.

"We're sad to be leaving behind that Titanic connection, it makes it a unique place in Belfast," he said.

"But it's time for us to move on. We are delighted with the new national stadium."

"It's seen a lot of history and would have had significant people like Harry Cavan (former president of the IFA) and Jim Boyce who was president for 12 years and all the others who have contributed to football in Northern Ireland. It's nice that we are leaving at a time when we've had great success too," he said referring to Northern Ireland's recent qualification for the Euros.

"An awful lot has taken place in that building which has been a great home to us."

Mr Nelson said it was a new era for the sport with the national stadium.

"The national stadium is going to be a huge hub for everything that's football-related and lots of football things will revolve around the stadium," he said.

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