Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Sandown House

SANDOWN HOUSE, Sandown Road, Belfast, is a two-storey Regency-style villa with basement.

This late-Victorian villa was built about 1889 on land owned by Robert Edward Ward, of Bangor Castle, County Down.

Mr Ward, great-grandson of Bernard, 1st Viscount Bangor, owned 5,735 acres of land in County Down.

Robert Corry, a local builder and contractor whose commercial premises were on University Street, Belfast, leased the land from Mr Ward in 1887 and built Sandown House.

Mr Corry and his family were the first occupants.

The census of 1901 described Sandown House as a first-class dwelling with twelve rooms.

The outbuildings (now demolished) included a stable, cow-house, dairy, barn and laundry.

Robert Corry continued to live at Sandown House until his death in 1909.

Sandown House was inhabited for a short time thereafter by William Virtue, managing director of the United Distilleries Company.

In 1919, it was leased to Sir Frederick Ernest Rebbeck KBE JP DL (1877-1964), a distinguished shipbuilder and marine engineer.

It is said that Sir Frederick had a staircase installed, reputedly from a local church.

There is a maritime theme throughout the design of the main hall: a ship’s wheel motif features on the glazed skylight above the main door.

The front hall has glazing or stained-glass reminiscent of work undertaken by Italian craftsmen at the Harland & Wolff shipyard during the 1930s.

Sir Frederick retired in 1962 and died at Sandown House two years later.

Following his death, Sandown House was acquired by William J Glover, a company director, who lived there from 1964 till the 1990s.
Mr Glover's daughter, Carole-June, married Anthony Lyle Skyrme, in 1972. They lived at Eglantine House, near Hillsborough, County Down.
Sandown House was listed in 1987.

The original windows and timber conservatory were replaced in the 1970s and the house continued to be occupied by the Glover family until 1999, when it was sold to Fraser Homes.

The house had fallen into a state of disrepair by the 1990s and remained vacant until about 2009, when it underwent extensive refurbishment and conversion it into a number of self-contained apartments.

The central return and flat-roof extension, located to the rear of the building, were added at that time.

The restoration of Sandown House was undertaken to the designs of Sutherland Architects, Belfast, who were also responsible for the construction of the modern red-brick apartment blocks located within Sandown’s former grounds.

First published in September, 2016.

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