Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Sir Robert Anderson Bt, 1837-1921

The Northern Standard, 22 July, 1921.



We regret to announce the death of Sir Robert Anderson, Bart., a former Lord Mayor of Belfast, which occurred at his residence, PARKMOUNT, Antrim Road, Belfast, on Saturday morning. 

The deceased, who was in his 84th year, had occupied a prominent position in the civic, commercial, and religious life of that city for many years, and his death will be a cause of deep sorrow to a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. 

He had been in failing health for over twelve months, but was able to devote his attention to his business interests until a fortnight ago.

Born on December 8, 1837, Sir Robert Anderson was a son of the late Mr James Anderson, of Corbyfin, County Monaghan, and a grandson of the late Mr. Andrew Ker, of Newbliss.

His father was engaged in the linen industry in County Monaghan, and controlled a large business at a time when handloom weaving was still in vogue. 

Sir Robert Anderson went to Belfast when he was fifteen years of age, and early in his career he entered the employment of Messrs. John Arnott & Co., Bridge Street, of which he eventually became chairman of directors. 

In 1861, in conjunction with the late Mr. John B. McAuley, he established the now well-known firm of Anderson & McAuley. 

Sir Robert’s commercial activities increased with the progress of the years, and in addition to being chairman of the firm of which he was one of the founders, he attained a similar position of responsibility in connection with the Milfort Weaving and Finishing Co. Ltd., Wm. Ross & Co. Ltd., of the Clonard Mills, Vulcanite Ltd., the City Estates Company Ltd. And the Baltic Firewood Co. Ltd., whilst he was also a director of the Laganvale Estate Brick and Terra Cotta Works Ltd., and a member of the local board of the Ocean Accident and Guarantee Corporation Ltd. 

He also opened a factory in Monaghan, which provided employment for a large number of persons.

Sir Robert Anderson became a member of the Belfast Corporation in 1893 when he was elected one of the councillors of St. Anne’s Ward, and later he held the position of alderman for the same constituency. 

On the death of the Right Hon Sir Daniel Dixon, Bart., he was appointed chairman of the Tramways and Electricity Committee, and he occupied that position for many years. 

In 1903 he filled the office of High Sheriff of Belfast, and in August of the same year, in connection with the visit to Ireland of King Edward VII, he received the honour of a knighthood.

In 1908 Sir Robert was elected Lord Mayor and he was again elected in 1909. 

During his two years’ tenure of the office he worthily upheld the dignity of the chair.

Further honour was bestowed upon him in June, 1911, when His Majesty conferred upon him a baronetcy, designated of Parkmount in the City of Belfast.

On the death of the late Mr R J McMordie MP on 25th March, 1914, Sir Robert Anderson temporarily filled the office of Lord Mayor until the election of Sir Crawford McCullagh on 1st April following.

Sir Robert Anderson, 1st Baronet (Image: Belfast City Hall)

He resigned his seat in the City Council a few years ago, owing to failing health.

In 1911 he was High Sheriff of the County of Monaghan, where he owned the fine estate of Mullaghmore.

He subsequently disposed of this property.

As is well known, Sir Robert was prominently connected with several Belfast institutions, especially the City Young Men’s Christian Association, which he supported in a most generous manner.

He was a member of that organisation for the long period of 65 years, and was president for over thirty years.

He was also actively interested in the Samaritan Hospital, and the Hospital for Nervous Diseases.

He was an earnest and convinced total abstainer, and took a warm interest in the work of the Irish Temperance League.

He was connected with the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, and his practical interest in agriculture was proved by the fact that he was a successful breeder of hacks and hunters and Angus and Kerry cattle.

Sir Robert was a Presbyterian, taking an active part in the work of the Church in its various branches of activity, and he was an elder in the Fortwilliam congregation.

He was a justice of the peace for the city and for the County of Antrim, and in politics he was a staunch Conservative.

Lady Anderson is a daughter of the late Rev Andrew Long, MA, of Monreagh, County Donegal, and she energetically seconded all her husband’s efforts in religious and philanthropic work.

The funeral took place to the Belfast City Cemetery on Tuesday last.


The Rose estate included 25 townlands with a total of 2,688 acres.

It was originally church lands, or termon lands, attached to St Dympna’s Church or Abbey. 

The Gaelic system of land-holding was abolished in County Monaghan in 1591.

The Tydavnet termon lands were allotted to John Connalon, parson, of Moynalty. 

James Rose bought his lands from the Bishop of Clogher in 1821 for £20,000.

Mr Rose died in 1841 and was succeeded by his daughter, Gertrude, who ran the estate until her death in 1907.

When Gertrude Rose died the holding became the property of Sir Robert Anderson who used it as his country residence.

He erected the entrance gates in 1910.

Anderson was born in 1837, son of James Anderson of Corbofin, County Monaghan.

Sir Robert Anderson died in July 1921.

Mullaghmore then became the residence of Captain S R Tufts.

On the night of 24th January 1925 a disastrous fire swept through Mullaghmore House razing all but the servants’ wing and stable block behind.

The family were away visiting friends in County Tyrone and there were no servants in the house at the time.

No cause for the fire was discovered. 

The residence was demolished and the service wing fitted out to serve as a house.

The house was bought by Luke Owens, school teacher, in 1928. 

The Owens family sold the house in 1964 to Samuel Johnston who lived there until his death in July 1972. 

It then passed by purchase to Danny Aughey who sold it on to Peadar Ronaghan later in the 1970s.

The Ronaghan family continue to live there.

Danny Aughey kept most of the land, about 120 acres.

Land Owners in Ireland in 1876 lists Gertrude Rose as the owner of 3,943 acres with a valuation of £2,187.

First published in September, 2011.  I am grateful to Henry Skeath for this article.

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