Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Seymour Hill House

Charley of Seymour Hill

WILLIAM CHARLEY OWNED 155 ACRES OF LAND AT SEYMOUR HILL, COUNTY ANTRIM

The family of CHARLEY or CHORLEY, passing over from the north of England, settled in Ulster in the I7th century, at first at Belfast, where they were owners of house property for two hundred years; and afterwards at Finaghy, County Antrim, where  

RALPH CHARLEY (1664-1746), of Finaghy House, County Antrim, left a son,

JOHN CHARLEY (1712-93), of Finaghy House, who died aged 81, leaving a son and successor,

JOHN CHARLEY (1744-1812), of Finaghy House, who married, in 1783, Anne Jane, daughter of Richard Wolfenden, of Harmony Hill, County Down.
His second son,

MATTHEW CHARLEY (1788-1846), of Finaghy House, married, in 1819, Mary Anne, daughter of Walter Roberts, of Colin House. His eldest son,

JOHN STOUPPE CHARLEY JP (1825-78), of Finaghy House, and of Arranmore Island, County Donegal,
a magistrate for counties Donegal, Antrim, and Belfast; High Sheriff of County Donegal, 1875-6. Mr Charley owned 6,498 acres of land in County Donegal.
This gentleman married, in 1851, Mary, daughter of Francis Forster JP, of Roshine Lodge, County Donegal. His third son,

WILLIAM CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, married, in 1817, Isabella, eldest daughter of William Hunter JP, of Dunmurry; and dying in 1838, was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN CHARLEY, of Seymour Hill,  who died unmarried in 1843, aged 25, and was succeeded by his brother, 

WILLIAM CHARLEY JP DL (1826-1904), of Seymour Hill, who wedded, in 1856, Ellen Anna Matilda, daughter of Edward Johnson JP, of Ballymacash, near Lisburn, and granddaughter of Rev Philip Johnson JP DL. 
Mr Charley was juror of Great Exhibition, 1851; chairman of J & W Charley & Company. He wrote the book Flax And Its Products.
He was succeeded by his son,

EDWARD JOHNSON CHARLEY (1859-1932), of Seymour Hill; whose sixth son, 

COLONEL HAROLD RICHARD CHARLEY CBE DL (1875-1956), of Seymour Hill,
officer, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles; fought in the Boer War, and 1st World War, with 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles; wounded and became a PoW. In 1916 he started workshops for interned British servicemen at Murren. He was Officer-in-Charge for Technical Instruction for servicemen interned in Switzerland, 1917; Commissioner, British Red Cross Society, Switzerland, 1918; commander, 1st Royal Ulster Rifles, 1919-23. CBE, 1920; City Commandant, Ulster Special Constabulary, 1924-52; originator of the British Legion Car Park Attendants scheme (adopted throughout Great Britain); Honorary Colonel, 1938, Antrim Coast Regiment (Territorial Army). 
His eldest son, 

COLONEL WILLIAM ROBERT (Robin) HUNTER CHARLEY OBE (b 1924), married Catherine Janet, daughter of William Sinclair Kingan, in 1960. 
 

Seymour Hill House

SEYMOUR HILL HOUSE, Dunmurry, Belfast, was built ca 1790 by the son of Archibald Johnston, Robert Allen Johnston, who owned the Seymour Hill estate (which, by 1813, comprised 89 acres and included a bleaching green, mill, yard and a mill dam at the Derriaghy Burn).

Seymour was the Marquess of Hertford's family surname, and at the time Mr Charley owned 400 acres of land surrounding the house.

However, the house does not appear captioned as "Seymour Hill House" until 1858.

William Charley bought the estate in 1822 and quickly invested capital to improve the bleach works.

Mr Charley had also purchased and remodelled the Dunmurry and Mossvale Bleach Greens two years previously in 1820, and subsequently transferred his business to Seymour Hill.

The House itself by this stage was in a ruinous state, but by 1825 Charley expended almost £5,000 in remodelling and reconstructing the house, having engaged the architect, John McHenry.

It is thought that much of the detailing found on the building, such as the heavily vermiculated double quoins, was added as a result of the improvements.

By 1865, the additional buildings included a steward's house, a coachman's house and a gate lodge, suggesting that the family's linen business was flourishing.

William Charley was chairman of J&W Charley & Co, linen merchants, whose high quality work received several commissions from the Royal family.

He was also a founding member of the Northern Banking Company.

The Charley family continued to occupy Seymour Hill House throughout the 1800s, developing their linen business and bleaching techniques, eventually coming ownership of several bleach greens in the area.

They were credited with introducing the use of chlorine into the bleaching process.

The last of the Charley family to occupy Seymour Hill House was Captain Arthur Charley who, in 1944, met his death during an accident felling trees in the grounds.
Arthur's brother, WRH Charley, desired to pursue an army career rather than stay in the linen industry, which subsequently lead to the Charley business merging with Barbour Linen Thread Ltd; and the sale of Seymour Hill House and the surrounding grounds to the Northern Ireland Housing Trust.
The once extensive kitchens, wine cellars, servants hall, dining rooms, morning rooms, bedrooms and library were converted into six apartments.

By this stage the house was losing much of its internal character.

Following further vandalising and extensive fire damage in 1986, a local account describes the house as being an empty shell with no roof.

In 1990, the house was transferred to the then named BIH housing association, which invited WRH Charley, OBE, officially to open the fully-restored house providing six new one person flats.

*****

SEYMOUR HILL stands on a hill with a wide view of the Lagan Valley.

The Charley estate on both sides of the River Lagan in counties Antrim and Down once comprised over 400 acres.

They were tenants of the Marquess of Hertford, who owned all the land from Dunmurry to the southern shore of Lough Neagh.

A large walled garden and grounds were maintained by a head gardener and five or six under-gardeners.

Between the house and the walled garden there were lawns with landscaped trees and shrubs.

Near the rock garden was the dogs' cemetery, all with their individual headstones.

Every day the head of the family would walk across the paddock field to the factory of J & W Charley & Company, which was hidden from the house by a line of trees.

Here he supervised the finishing and production of the finest Ulster Linen.

It was of a particularly high quality and for many years the usual gifts from Northern Ireland to any member of the Royal Family when they married were linen sheets from J & W Charley, specially embroidered with the relevant royal cypher.

Within the grounds of Seymour Hill was a lake and a waterfall leading into a fish ponds.

The River Derriaghy flowed under the main Belfast-Lisburn road into the lake and then was divided into two mill races to work the factory water wheels.

The top stream was known locally as 'Little Harry' because baby Harold Charley's (1875-1956) pram once ran away down the drive and ended up upside down in the river!

He was none the worse for the experience, it is said.

During World War II the laundry in the upper yard was occupied by up to 100 women and children evacuated from the centre of Belfast during the air raid blitzes of 1941-42. 

I am grateful to Lisburn Historical Society as a source of reference for this article.  First published in February, 2011.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Viscount Dungannon (2nd Creation)

THE VISCOUNTCY OF DUNGANNON (2nd CREATION) WAS CREATED IN 1766 FOR ARTHUR HILL-TREVOR MP

This family and the noble house of HILL, Marquesses of Downshire, had a common progenitor in

THE RT HON MICHAEL HILL MP (1672-99), of Hillsborough, County Down,
a privy counsellor to WILLIAM III, and a member of both the English and Irish parliaments, who wedded, in 1690, Anne, only daughter of Sir John Trevor, knight, of Brynkinalt, Denbighshire, Speaker of the House of Commons, and subsequently first Lord Commissioner of the Great Seal; by whom he had two sons, Trevor, created Viscount Hillsborough, founder of the house of Downshire; and
ARTHUR HILL (1694-1771), of Belvoir Park, Newtownbreda, County Down,
MP for County Down in 1727, who inherited the estates of his maternal grandfather, Sir John Trevor, in 1762; upon which occasion he assumed the additional surname of TREVOR, and was created, in 1766, Baron Hill and VISCOUNT DUNGANNON.
His lordship espoused firstly, Anne, third daughter and co-heir of the Rt Hon Joseph Deane, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, but had no issue.

He wedded secondly, in 1737, Anne, daughter and heir of Edmund Francis Stafford, of Brownstown, County Meath, by whom he had,
Arthur, MP (1738-70), predeceased his father;
Anne, m to 1st Earl of Mornington;
Prudence, m to Charles Powell Leslie.
His lordship was succeeded by his grandson, 

ARTHUR (1763-1837), 2nd Viscount, who married, in 1795, Charlotte, eldest surviving daughter of Charles, Lord Southampton, and by her ladyship had two sons,
ARTHUR;
Charles Henry (1801-23).
This nobleman was succeeded by his eldest son, 

ARTHUR (1798-1862), 3rd Viscount, who wedded, in 1821, Sophia, fourth daughter of George D'Arcy Irvine, of Castle Irvine, County Fermanagh.

The titles expied on the death of the 3rd Viscount in 1862.

The Dungannon estates, including Brynkinalt, passed to the latter's kinsman, Lord Edwin Hill, third son of 3rd Marquess of Downshire, who assumed the additional surname of TREVOR and was created Baron Trevor, of Brynkinallt, Denbighshire, in 1890.

Of particular interest is the fact that Lord and Lady Dungannon had one son and two daughters, one of whom, the Hon Anne Hill-Trevor, married Garrett, 1st Earl of Mornington, by whom she had issue Richard, 1st Marquess Wellesley; and Arthur, 1st Duke of Wellington.

Of course this makes Lord Dungannon the grandfather of "The Great Duke" of Wellington; and it can be supposed that the Great Duke would have been familiar with the Belvoir demesne and spent time there during his childhood.

Below is the 1st Viscount's memorial:-


First published in February, 2010.  Dungannon arms (2nd Creation) courtesy of European Heraldry.

Lisheen House

Phibbs of Lisheen

 THE FAMILY OF PHIBBS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY SLIGO, WITH 10,507 ACRES

The earliest record of this family is found in a list of names of subscribers to a loan raised in 1589, during the reign of ELIZABETH I, to defray expenses incurred during the arming of the country at the time of the threatened Spanish Armada.

The name there appears as PHILLIPS, as it also does in the official list of High Sheriffs for County Sligo, as late as 1716, where Matthew Phibbs, of Templevaney, is styled Matthew Phillips.

Of this family two brothers came over to Ireland, as soldiers, about 1590.
From records now existing in Trinity College, Dublin, they are found on half-pay, in 1616 and 1619, under the name of PHIPPS, a name that some of the younger branches of the family resumed about 1765. Of these two, William settled in County Cork.
The elder of the two,

RICHARD PHIPPS, who served under Sir Tobias Caulfeild, and was pensioned as a maimed soldier in 1619.

He settled at Kilmainham, Dublin, where he died in 1629, and was buried at St James's Church.

His eldest son,

RICHARD PHIPPS or PHIBBS, of Coote's Horse, who was granted land in County Sligo, in 1659, and served in Captain F King's troop of horse in Lord Collooney's regiment.

He died in 1670, and was interred in St James's Church, Dublin. His elder son,

MATTHEW PHIBBS, of Templevaney, afterwards of Rockbrook, County Sligo, was High Sheriff in 1716, and died in 1738. His eldest son,

WILLIAM PHIPPS or PHIBBS, of Rockbrook and Rathmullen; born in 1696; whose second surviving son,

WILLIAM PHIBBS, of Hollybrook; high sheriff, 1781; whose only surviving son,

OWEN PHIBBS, of Merrion Square, Dublin; high sheriff, 1804; whose eldest son,

WILLIAM PHIBBS, of Seafield, County Sligo; high sheriff, 1833; sometime 11th Light Dragoons; born in 1803. His eldest son,

OWEN PHIBBS JP DL (1842-1914), of Lisheen (name changed in 1904); high sheriff, 1884; late lieutenant, 6th Dragoon Guards. His eldest son,

BASIL PHIBBS, of Corradoo Lodge, and of Lisheen; married, in 1899, Rebekeha, youngest daughter of the late Herbert Wilbraham Taylor, of Hadley Bourne, Hertfordshire, and had, with other issue, a son,

GEOFFREY BASIL PHIBBS (1900-56), of Lisheen,
born in Norfolk; Irish Guards; worked variously as demonstrator in College of Science; librarian; factory-worker in London and school-teacher in Cairo;worked with Nancy Nicholson at the Poulk (Hogarth) Press.
Mr Phibbs married Norah McGuinness in London.

He subsequently changed his name to TAYLOR, following his father’s refusal to "allow his wife over the threshold".

He lived in a Georgian house in Tallaght, County Dublin.

Denis William Phibbs inherited the house and some of the lands, which he sold to Isaac Beckett of Ballina for £1,400 ~ less than one third of the original construction price.

Beckett later sold the house to a builder, John Sisk.

In 1944, the Becketts sold the lands they owned to George Lindsay.

Other lands on the Phibbs estate were bought by the Lindsay and McDermott families.


LISHEEN HOUSE (formerly Seafield), near Ballysadare, County Sligo, although now in a ruinous state, casts an impressive presence on the landscape.

Many clues as to its original state survive, including some fine stonework to the facades, chimneys, and openings. This was clearly a house rich in history and skillfully designed.

The Sligo architect John Benson, who designed the house, was knighted for designing the building at the Dublin Exhibition of 1853.

Lisheen is a two-storey rendered house, built ca 1842, now ruinous.

Symmetrical main elevations, extensive vegetation growth internally and externally; roof collapsed; remains of chimney-stacks survive; section of moulded eaves cornice survives.
 

Painted smooth-rendered walling, horizontal banding between floors, plain pilasters to corners, moulded dado, ashlar limestone plinth.

Square-headed full-height window openings, moulded architraves, entablatures supported on console brackets, all evidence of timber windows missing.

No evidence of entrance doors survive; all internal finishes and features removed; remote location in fields.

First published in November, 2012.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Mount Stewart Pool

 
CHARLES VILLIERS, A GRANDSON OF THE LATE LADY MAIRI BURY AND GREAT-GRANDSON OF THE 7TH MARQUESS AND MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY, HAS KINDLY PROVIDED ME WITH A COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ABOUT 1970 AT MOUNT STEWART'S SWIMMING-POOL

The family's private swimming-pool was located at the edge of Mount Stewart estate, between the main Portaferry Road and Strangford Lough.

The swimming-pool was kidney-shaped

A wooden gazebo structure overlooked Strangford Lough. It stood on a revolving mechanism.

Parts of the retaining wall and foundations remain.
The salt-water, kidney-shaped pool was surrounded by exotic trees and tropical flowers.


 
The small figures in the pool are Charles and his sister Charlotte, being watched by their long-suffering Lancastrian nanny, Sheila.
Charles's parents were invariably present too and, on this occasion, Charles's godfather, Edward Biddulph (1934-2001) was present. 

First published in November, 2010.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Valete: Mount Stewart Pool


If, at Mount Stewart, you stroll along the coast-line to the south of the main road and between two of the gate lodges on the other side of the road, you shall find the remains of a low, stone wall with a sort of tower further along.

This part of the estate is across the main Portaferry Road, opposite the demesne itself.


There's a circular concrete base in the ground, with a rusty, iron rail within it.

Look inland and you will see a sunken wilderness, overgrown with gorse and long grass.

The concrete base was constructed for a wooden, revolving gazebo. 

The sunken wilderness is all that remains of Lord and Lady Londonderry's lovely salt-water, kidney-shaped swimming-pool.


It was the most picturesque, splendid pool I have ever seen; tranquil and heavenly, surrounded by luxuriant flora, including palm trees.

On the patio beside the pool there were changing-rooms and a little fountain.

The base of the fountain and pool was painted aquamarine.

The changing-rooms were adjacent, their back against a high, stone wall.

I seem to recall a small stone plaque, or lozenge, between the cabins with Charles and Edith Londonderry's monogram.

This wall surrounded three sides of the pool area; and there was an elevated bank at the seaward side with stone steps and various features, like stone benches.

I think there was a diving-board, but I cannot be certain. It felt like another world, within these walls; a true haven, sheltered from the sea breeze.

The pool was designed and built, it is believed, in the 1930s by Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry DBE, whose husband was the 7th Marquess.

They were really the last of the Londonderrys to live at Mount Stewart.

Their daughter, Lady Mairi, lived at Mount Stewart till her death in 2009.

The pool lasted barely sixty years.

This was a haven where family members, including Lady Jane (The Lady Rayne), Lady Annabel (Goldsmith), their brother Alastair, Lord Castlereagh, and other friends spent many happy summers in the 1940s, playing games, swimming and picnicking.

It was still serviceable, though a bit decrepit, by the mid-eighties. 

We did our best to restore it and even managed to get water from the lough flowing in and out again.

By the 1990s, however, gangs of beer-swilling vandals had requisitioned the pool.

Its location across the main road cut it off from the rest of the estate, so it became vulnerable. 


Alas everything, including the walls, was completely demolished thereafter. It is now a wilderness.

Imagine the scenario: The owner is advised, in the strongest terms, that, were one of the trespassers to injure themselves, fatally or otherwise, the owner could be held liable.

Either secure the swimming-pool and its environs from trespassers; risk prosecution; or remove the problem entirely.

Obviously the latter, simplest solution was chosen, and a decision was taken at the highest level.

Given such a beautiful creation, it cannot have been taken lightly.

I have taken a few pictures, including a stone memorial cross to some staff on the estate who perished at sea.

I adored this place. I still miss it. I cherish fond memories of it before it was spoiled.

This is my tribute.

First published in April 2009.   Londonderry arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Dromantine House

 THE INNES FAMILY OWNED 2,822 ACRES OF LAND IN COUNTY DOWN

This family claims descent from that of INNES of Leuchars, a younger branch of the ancient house of INNES, proprietors of the lands of that name in the year 1160; when by a crown charter of MALCOLM IV of Scotland,

BEROWALD, styled of Flanders, became first feudal baron or lord of Innes. His lineal descendant, 

JAMES, 16th feudal Baron of Innes,
held the appointment of Esquire to JAMES III of Scotland; and among the family papers is still preserved a charter of some lands granted to him by that monarch, "for faithful service to us of our beloved Esquire, James Innes of that Ilk."
JAMES INNES, laird of Innes, who, in 1490, had the honour of entertaining JAMES IV of Scotland, and many distinguished personages of his court, at his mansion of Innes, married Lady Janet Gordon, daughter of Alexander, 1st Earl of Huntly, and had two sons,
Alexander, whose line subsequently failed;
ROBERT, of Cromy and Rathmackenzie, m the daughter of W Meldrum, Baron of Fyvie.
This Robert was succeeded by his younger son,

ALEXANDER INNES, of Blackhills, ancestor of the family of INNES of Leuchars, Fife. His grandson,

ALEXANDER INNES, of Cotts,
and afterwards on the death of his half-brother in 1619, of Leuchars, and Baillie of the Regality and Constable of the Castle of Spynie, known in the family by the quaint sobriquet of Craig-in-Peril, married his cousin, Marjory, eldest daughter of William Gordon, Baron of Gight, great-great-grandson of George, 2nd Earl of Huntly, and his Countess, the Princess Annabella Stewart, youngest daughter of JAMES I of Scotland.
Mr Innes died in 1634, leaving with other issue, his eldest son,

JOHN INNES, of Leuchars, Baillie of the Regality and Constable of the Castle of Spynie (offices confirmed to him by Act of Parliament, 1641).
In 1625, this gentleman joined the Scots Guards in the service of the King of France. He married, in 1622, Elizabeth, only daughter of Archibald Douglas, of Pittendreich.
Dying in 1645, he left issue,
JOHN, of Leuchars, imprisoned by the Covenanters; his estate sequestered until the Restoration;
Robert, killed by the Covenanters at Leuchars;
ALEXANDER.
The last named,

ALEXANDER INNES, is said to have gone to Ulster at the Restoration, and from him is traced the Irish branch of the family.

He married the daughter of the Rev Edward Brice, minister of Ballycarry, County Antrim, and by her had issue, his youngest son,

WILLIAM INNES, of Belfast and of Dublin, who married his cousin Jane, daughter of Robert Brice, of Castle Chichester, County Antrim, and had, with two daughters, five sons.

The eldest son,

WILLIAM INNES, of Glen Manor, then of Dromantine, County Down, married, in 1744, Dorothea, daughter of Charles Brice, of Castle Chichester, County Antrim.

He died in 1785, having had issue, his eldest son,

CHARLES BRICE INNES, of Dromantine, High Sheriff of County Down, 1775, who died unmarried in 1804 and was succeeded by his brother,

ARTHUR INNES (1755-1820), of Dromantine; Captain, Dragoon Guards; High Sheriff of County Down, 1814.

Captain Innes married, in 1796, Anne, daughter of Major Edward Crow, of Tullamore, King's County, and had issue, a son and heir,

ARTHUR INNES JP DL (1805-35), of Dromantine; High Sheriff, 1832; Lieutenant, 3rd Dragoon Guards;

Mr Innes married, in 1829, Mary Jervis, daughter and heir of William Wolseley, Admiral of the Red.

He died in 1835, leaving issue,

ARTHUR CHARLES INNES-CROSS JP DL (1834-1902), of Dromantine, MP for Newry, 1865-68.

This gentleman's second wife, Jane Beauchamp Cross, of Dartan, was daughter of Colonel Cross DL, of Dartan, County Armagh (whose name he assumed by Royal Licence).

He died in 1902, having had further issue,

ARTHUR CHARLES WOLSELEY INNES-CROSS MC, born in 1888, of Dromantine; Captain, 4th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers; married, in 1915, Etta, daughter of William Bradshaw, of 1 Wilbraham Place, London.


DROMANTINE HOUSE, near Newry, County Down, was described as new in 1834, replacing a former dwelling of 1741; and was re-modelled from 1860-64, to the designs of McCurdy.

In the 1860s, Arthur Charles Innes-Cross extended the original house, making it even more stately and imposing.

In the early 20th century, the fortunes of the Innes family waned and they decided to sell Dromantine estate.


THE SOCIETY of African Missions (SMA), based in County Cork, was looking for a suitable property in which to prepare their students for missionary work in Africa.

They bought Dromantine House and the 320 acre estate in 1926.

Paying special attention to a harmonious blend with the original architecture, work on St Patrick's wing on the east side commenced in 1931.

St Brendan's wing on the west side was built in 1935 and a new Chapel, which was added to the end of this wing, was consecrated by Bishop Mulhern in 1937.

St Colman's wing, with 62 study-bedrooms for students, and a new assembly/lecture hall, was opened in 1959.


In 1996, major renovation work was completed.

In 2004, the original 19th century courtyard building was sensitively and completely renovated to provide additional conference rooms and facilities.

The 320 acre, part-walled demesne is in a beautiful situation, in undulating drumlin country, and is well maintained.

In 1806 Arthur Innes built the original part of the existing house in Neo-classical style.

When he died in 1820 he left a magnificent house within a beautifully landscaped demesne complete with a newly formed lake.

Parkland and stands of trees occupy most of the ground, which is laid out in the style of a landscape park, possibly designed for the present house.

There is a good deal of woodland. One area, known as Racecourse Wood, possibly used as such, has now gone.

Terracing at the house is now in lawns but a decorative fountain remains.

There is a modest, late 19th century arboretum to the northeast of the house.

The gardens are mentioned in the Garden Annual & Almanac of 1908.

The walled garden is some distance from the house, to the southwest. It is no longer cultivated and ruinous glasshouse can be seen. The head gardener’s house has been modernised.

The site has been a missionary college since 1928.

There were two gate lodges, of which one remains. One was built pre-1834; the other, late Victorian.

First published in October, 2012.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Stormont House


STORMONT HOUSE, built in 1926, is a neo-Georgian, Queen Anne-style, two-storey, red-brick building located within the Stormont Estate to the south-east of Parliament Buildings, Belfast.

It was formerly known as Speaker's House and served as the official residence of the Speaker of the NI House of Commons until 1945, when the present Lord Dunleath's grandfather, Sir Harry Mulholland Bt MP, retired.

Thereafter, it became the official residence of the NI Prime Minister (Sir Basil Brooke Bt, Sir Harry Mulholland's brother-in-law).
Sir Harry purchased Sir Basil's town house, Storbrooke, on Massey Avenue; thereby effectively doing a house-swap!
The House was the first building to be erected as part of the redevelopment of the Stormont Estate.

Following the Government of Ireland Act (1920), Stormont Castle and its grounds (former seat of the Cleland family) was selected as the home of the newly-formed Northern Ireland Government and Parliament.

The Stormont Estate was acquired by the Commissioners of Public Works and Buildings of the Imperial Government in 1921 at a cost of £20,334 (£870,000 in today's money).

However, the Parliament Buildings were not completed and opened until 1932.
The architect chosen to design Speaker's House was Ralph Knott, an English architect and a partner in Knott & Collins. Knott is best known for designing London County Hall opposite Westminster, and was originally selected by the Board of Works to design the Parliament Buildings.
Knott was, however, subsequently replaced as architect by Arnold Thornely.

Nevertheless, Mr Knott was able to complete Speaker's House in 1926.

Speaker's House was first recorded on the fifth edition of the Ordnance Survey maps (1938-39) which depicted the building along its current layout (excluding the two-storey administration block to its east).

It was subsequently listed in 1987.

Since the devolution of government, Speaker's House is no longer utilised as the official residence of the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

It is currently occupied by the Northern Ireland Office.

It was extended in the 1970s when a large two-storey administration complex was added to the eastern side of the former dwelling.

I am grateful to The Lord Dunleath for information regarding Speaker's House.