Saturday, 22 May 2021

Norwood Tower Chart

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A map dated 1938 showing Norwood Tower in its grounds, with two gate lodges, extensive outbuildings, greenhouses, walled garden, pond, walks and paddocks.

Norwood Tower was probably one of the largest private homes in east Belfast.

The grounds comprised about 50 acres.

Circular Road can be seen to the north of the mansion.

Is the smaller building below Norwood Tower a summer-house?

Or a gardener's lodge?

A path runs down to it from the front garden.

The main drive to the west now forms part of Norwood Court; while the drive to the east is now Norwood Drive.

 Norwood Tower (Image: Mrs Primrose Henderson, 2011)

Norwood Tower was the residence of the Hendersons, proprietors of the Belfast Newsletter newspaper.

Norwood Tower was demolished for housing development ca 1954.

Ardnagreena House is just outside the picture; its gate lodge remains, though the Victorian villa was demolished in the 1990s.

Ardvarna House and its gate lodge were demolished after the 2nd World War.

First published in May, 2011.


Anonymous said...

I live in Norwood Park: wonder if the old red brick wall at the back of my garden (now with lovely tromp dieul(sp?) mirror)once belonged th the 'Tower'. Prsumed it was old Belmont Church boundary.

Timothy Belmont said...

Interesting. mind you, seems that they bulldozed the old house and features and obliterated them, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I lived in Norwood Avenue from 1954, though I think the houses were built in 1952. I remember playing in the old stables and amongst what had been extensive ornamenttal gardens and ponds. Great fun for a small boy but a shame that more care wasn't taken with what was there.

Timothy Belmont said...

Perhaps work began on housing before Norwood Tower was demolished?

Anon, many thanks for that. Do you have any more memories of the house and grounds?


Anonymous said...

The even number houses in Norwood Avenue opened out onto what had been the estate. The stables were at the top of the hill opening out to Sydenham Avenue and were oppcupied by squatters up to the early 1960s when they were demolished. Further down the hill was what would have been a paddock and in the early 1960s this had a commercial nursery byond it. There were trenches too which may have been used for training during the war and by the TA afterwards. Great fun for us kids. Lower down the road was what had been the ornamental gardens below the big house on the hill. This was around a large pond which had degenerated into what we called 'the swamp'. Quite a scary place but great for collecting frogspawn. Don't remember the big house so probably demolished before houses but do remember plenty of rubble on top of the hill and down the slopes.

Anonymous said...

Hi I live in Edgcumbe now which is on the edge of the map near the Kinnear area were the army camp is now. I lived in the Carolhill area and as a child in early 1960's we all played in the estate which we called the woods. I remember the monkey tree and palm trees which were at the top of the hill. The swap area was very dark and yes I too collected tadpoles, There were lots of fruit berries. A friend told me there were apple and pear trees near the stable area. Near the gate lodge at circular Road there were 2 large trees which we eventually managed to climb and hang a rope swing. We also played cowboy and indians where the house was knocked down and I remember that it was very red sand. We made trails and played hide and seek and follow my leader.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Norwood Ave in the 1960's. I remember well the old stables that faced on to Sydenham Avenue. There was a courtyard entrance surround by red bricked buildings with slate roofs that were decaying. Further down were mounds of rusty old tins and rubble partly grassed over and small streams and springs that used to dry up over the summer months. Also some swampy lowlands that were like red iron deposits.

Timothy Belmont said...

Anon, Utterly fascinating.

Do you recall any other features? Did you see the big house? Was it possible to walk into the grounds?

I'd be very interested to learn more.


Claire said...

You have given me great delight finding your blog.

My mother who is 78 this year has a great love for the history around Norwood Tower. Her grandfather was the coachman in 1907 and later became their chauffeur. She has many childhood memories of play there after school. She has a few family picture that she holds dear. One is her grandfather and grandmother on the front steps, one of her grandfather in the field with a horse and another shows her great grandfather which was taken down the lane. She knows little about her great grandfather but does remember a story that he was the coachman for Queen Victoria on a visit. Not sure if true?? `
I was hoping to make a memory book for her of Norwood Tower and your blog has made this a lot easier.
I will try to get her to recount these precious memories and will forward them.

Thanks and keep blogging


Timothy Belmont said...

Hi Claire.

A pleasure. Don't suppose you grandmother might consider sharing the photos? If they could be scanned and my email address is


Bill Young said...

In Norwood Drive one day, I recall being ill in my parents' bed, with a view of the Tower when it was demolished. Like others who have posted here, I played in the landscaped but derelict gardens after the house had gone. Exactly as they recall, it was sandy, there was a large pond with a lot of frogspawn, and several ornamental trees, including that monkey-puzzle. It was an enchanting place and we were fortunate. I could never quite overcome the resentment as building development encroached gradually on my childhood.
More prosaically, I have read that many of East Belfast's 'grand' houses of the late nineteenth century were 'all fur coat and no knickers': built to impress, not to last.

Unknown said...

Re first post on this line - assuming you live in no 12 or 14 Norwood Park - I was brought up in Norwood Park in the forties and fifties, and was very friendly with the older boys who lived there.
The red (brick) wall I remember was part of the boundary of the manse garden of Belmont Presbyterian Church; it was very high (or so it seemed to us children) and stopped many a ball from disappearing. At that time the plot either side of you was empty - the one down the road being known as "the field",scene of many a bonfire and tunnel and the one on the other side part of the even then rundown Norwood Towers estate I think.
My mother - last of the family there, left Norwood Park in the 90s.