Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Killaire House

Photo Credit: http://www.stonedatabase.com/

KILLAIRE HOUSE, Carnalea, Bangor, County Down, is a multi-bay, two-storey, sandstone and ashlar house, built ca 1870 to the designs of James Hamilton.

It is located on the southern shore of Belfast Lough, at the end of Killaire Road, Carnalea.

Killaire sits in mature ground, with a driveway to south-east, accessed via ornate sandstone gate piers and iron gates.

The original coach house and gate lodge have been converted into private homes.

The house is surrounded by lawn to the front.

Photo Credit: http://www.stonedatabase.com/

A stone retaining wall to the west and north affords a low ornamental balustrade, adorned with free-standing stone urns.

The grounds to the rear have mature trees.

Development of this area of the coast, to the west of Bangor, County Down, commenced following the construction of the Belfast-to-Bangor railway in 1865.

Open fields are shown on maps of 1858; by 1901, however, several substantial houses had appeared, including Killaire House.

The railway station at Carnalea opened in 1877.

J A Henderson, Mayor of Belfast, 1873-4

In 1871 Killaire was the residence of James Alexander Henderson, of Norwood Tower, Strandtown, Belfast, who leased it from Richard Rose-Cleland, of Rathgael.

Henderson was Mayor of Belfast when he was building Killaire House, and was a magistrate for Belfast and County Down.

As Mayor he was instrumental in Belfast Corporation's purchase of the Gasworks (for £432,000).

He also owned Norwood Tower in Strandtown, where he died in 1883.

Killaire subsequently passed to other members of the Henderson family.

Management of the Belfast Newsletter passed to his eldest son, (Sir) James Henderson.

Sir James Henderson, Lord Mayor of Belfast, 1898

Following the death of James Alexander Henderson, Killaire was let temporarily (ca 1888) to Samuel Davidson of the Sirocco Engineering Works, who later moved to Seacourt, but was otherwise occupied by the Hendersons until the 1920s at least.

In 1900 Sir Trevor Henderson, joint manager of the Newsletter with his brother, lived at Killaire.

During this time the house comprised eighteen rooms and twelve outbuildings, including a stable, coach-house, harness-room, cow-house, calf-house, dairy, boiling-house, turf-house, potato-house, shed, store and laundry.

Alexander Mackay Henderson (1850-1904), a younger son of James Alexander Henderson, was the head of the household and lived with his wife and son, who worked as a clerk.

They had three staff: cook, housemaid and "general man".

Henderson's monogram can be seen in the frosted glass of the inner door.

By 1906 his widow, Susan M Henderson, was the occupant.

Her son, Raymond Leslie Mackay Henderson, resided with her and continued the family business as proprietor of the Belfast Newsletter.

A niece lived with them at the time, and the staff was reduced merely to a 65 year-old cook.

Killaire, though considerably renovated, retains many of its original features today.

First published in January, 2019.

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