Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Botanic Gate Lodge

The Botanic Gardens, Belfast, opened in 1828 as the private Royal Belfast Botanical Gardens.

Its main entrance was (and remains) at 2, Stranmillis Road.

The Gardens continued as a private park for many years, only opening to members of the public on Sundays, prior to 1895.

It became a public park in 1895, when the Belfast Corporation (now Belfast City Council) bought the gardens from the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society.

The park, now comprising twenty-eight acres, contains a large conservatory, tropical fernery, rose garden, and many other interesting features.

Originally the park was considerably larger in size, though portions of land were conveyed to the Department of Education, the Ulster Museum, and the Queen's University of Belfast, for various purposes. 


The Stranmillis Road gate lodge, designed by William Batt, was built in 1877.

It was a lofty, single-storey building in red brick with Staffordshire blue bands and pointed stone arches at the openings.

A pair of portico arches were directly below the clock-tower, added three years later, which had buttresses and carved capitals.

This structure was built by public subscription.

The tower's steep roof was in the French ch√Ęteau style.


The adjoining lodge had paired windows, a tall roof with elaborate iron cresting, a pair of chimneys, and bracketed eaves.


Only the stone gates, with lamps and poppy finials, survive today.

Hugh Dixon said of its demise:-
The demolition of the lodge in 1965 was unnecessary in that the site remains empty. It was also unfortunate, in removing an important architectural focus for this busy junction, and a feature which gave arrival at the Botanic Gardens a sense of occasion.
First published in February, 2014. 

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