Belfast Telegraph

Eerie glimpse inside Victorian building that played host to scandal that shocked country

By Gillian Halliday

Much has been written about what happened behind closed doors in the building which was once known as Kincora boys' home, but rarely has the public been given a glimpse inside the period property.

Belfast Telegraph photographer Kevin Scott was yesterday given exclusive access to the late Victorian building, which was built in 1898, by its owner Leslie Black.

The two-storey detached property, which stands on east Belfast's Upper Newtownards Road, boasts "architectural merit, especially its front facade", according to planners in Belfast. Renamed Linden House during the mid-1990s, the building offers nearly 2,300 sq ft, on a site of 0.22 acres.

Put on the market last year for offers over £375,000, the house has canted bay windows along the entire front of the property, while above the front door are two stained-glass vertical window panels.

The door to room 14
The door to room 14

Planners have noted that the building "does exhibit signs of neglect... (but) on the whole (it) retains much of its period characteristics and is structurally sound".

In a planning report, officials have noted that the application refers to the site's "very difficult history".

The building also still displays reminders of its dark past.

The bottom of the main staircase
The bottom of the main staircase

In one of the ground floor rooms, located off the parquet-floored hallway, there is a clear sign the property was once home to young boys, who lived in the property between the late 1950s and 1980, when the scandal-hit home closed its doors.

Found under wallpaper was the word 'Arsenal', carefully drawn by a football fan.

Other reminders of its dark past include a games room - now empty - in the upper roof space.

On the ground floor there is an annex where one of the abusers lived, and there is a kitchen - where it has been recorded incidents of abuse took place - which now lies empty.

A toilet block which is accessed from outside is yet another reminder of its institutional past.

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