Tag Archives: Historic House

ROSNEATH CASTLE

“It was impossible to save when nobody had heard of Bonomi.” 

Rosneath Castle. Oblique aerial photograph taken from facing north. Image: Canmore.

In 1961, Kitty Cruft, the leading officer of the Scottish National Buildings Record, visited Rosneath Castle to record its last dying days. Shortly afterwards, an unsafe ruin, this grand old country house, a ghost of its past, was blown up with 200 LBs of gelignite. There wasn’t much enthusiasm to save Rosneath, as Cruft said at the time, “It was impossible to save when nobody had heard of Bonomi.” And so Rosneath Castle (or House) became another casualty of post-war severity when nobody seemed to want a crumbling old mansion.

The entrance front of Rosneath with Bonomi’s five-columned porte cochere. Photographed by Kitty Cruft before its demolition in 1961. Image: Canmore.

The story behind Rosneath Castle is sad, considering that this had belonged to the Dukes of Argyll, although only ever playing second-string to their seat at Inveraray. It was situated on the southern extremity of the Rosneath peninsula jutting out into the Firth of Clyde.

Rosneath Castle was built between 1803 and 1805 replacing an earlier castle, an ancient stronghold of the Argylls, that had burnt down in May 1802. Considering its replacement, the Duke of Argyll was persuaded by his son, the Marquess of Lorne, resident at Rosneath, to rebuild the mansion on a fresh site, taking advantage of the picturesque views.

A view down the central corridor, lit by a circular-headed window at each side. Image: Canmore.

The Italian architect, Joseph Bonomi, was selected to realise artist Alexander Nasmyth’s idealistic oil painting and watercolour interpretation of what the new house should look like. Nasmyth had already been the inspiration behind a circular court of farm offices with Gothic crenelated turrets surrounding a high tower with fretwork parapet.

Bonomi died in 1808 and his design proved too expensive to be completed in its entirety. In 1806, the Marquess had succeeded his father and became the 6th Duke of Argyll, diverting his attentions to Inveraray. However, the house later attracted Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter, who married the Marquess of Lorne in 1871. Lord Lorne succeeded his father as 9th Duke of Argyll in 1900, but died in 1914, and Rosneath became the Princess’s Dower House during her long widowhood, offering it to convalescing officers during World War One.

View of the rear facade with pilaster stumps of the unbuilt circular portico. Image: Canmore.

The Princess and the 9th Duke were childless, and he was succeeded by their nephew, the 10th Duke. Her death in 1939 prompted the sale of Rosneath’s contents, held on the premises, by Dowells of Edinburgh, between 7 and 11 October 1940.

Soon afterwards the 10th Duke attempted to sell Rosneath, but wartime events had the upper hand. During the Second World War it was used as an American Navy base and, in 1942, this was where Churchill, Eisenhower and Montgomery planned Operation Torch, the successful invasion of French North Africa. Outside its walls amphibious units were trained in preparation for the D-Day landings.

View through the screen separating the entrance hall from the transverse corridor. Image: Canmore.

Rosneath almost certainly became another one of those ‘casualties of war’ from which it never recovered. Afterwards it was unoccupied and in 1949, shortly after the closure of the naval base, there was another unsuccessful attempt to sell the house and woodland. The grounds became a caravan park with plans to use the mansion’s redundant rooms as support facilities. These never materialised and the mansion became the domain of children keen to explore the empty cavernous rooms.

Rosneath Castle suffered a fire, but its future had already been determined. It was gutted and demolished in breath-taking style in 1961.

Another view down the central corridor. Image: Canmore.
Details of the disintegrating plasterwork, exposed to the elements, of one of the pair of apses in the library. Image: Canmore.

HUNTON COURT

Hunton Court, Hunton, near Maidstone, was originally called Court Lodge. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Hunton Court, near Maidstone, dates to the thirteenth century and the traditional framed farmhouse dating to the fourteenth century, with a large roof structure and three crown posts can still be found in the attic rooms.

The house has long been associated with the Bannerman family, starting with Henry Bannerman (1798-1871), descended from a Perthshire family of farmers and distillers who, by the 1820s, had graduated into cotton-trading and manufacturing in Manchester. The firm of Henry Bannerman & Sons dealt with cotton, calicoes, muslins and plain fabrics before diversifying into manufacturing cotton goods.

It was from this fortune that Henry Bannerman bought the Court Lodge estate in Kent in 1848, enlarging and remodelling the existing farmhouse, adding a Georgian façade, with central pediment, canted bay windows and balustraded parapet.

The current garden layout is Victorian with features including two lakes which are thought to follow the form of the original moat, a bridge, kitchen garden and many specimen trees. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Henry Bannerman lived at Court Lodge until his death in 1871, leaving the estate to his wife, Mary, for life, and then to a nephew, Henry Campbell, on condition that he took the name of Bannerman, which he had reluctantly agreed to in 1872. He resided at nearby Gennings Park, part of the family estate, before moving into Court Lodge, renaming it Hunton Court, on Mary’s death in 1894.

Grade II listed Hunton Court was sold in 2008 for a price believed to be about £5.5 million. Subsequently restored it is on the market in 2019 with a guide price of £12.5 million. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836-1908), the son of Sir James Campbell, a Glasgow merchant and Lord Provost, entered politics and became leader of the Liberal Party between 1899 and 1908, and Prime Minister between 1905 and 1908.

He died a few days after leaving office and the Hunton Court estate passed to his cousin, James Campbell-Bannerman, whose descendants remained until the death of Captain Michael Campbell Devas in 2007. The following year it was sold ‘in need of renovation’ and completely restored.

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, British statesman and Liberal Party politician. He was knighted in 1895. On his death in 1908 he left estate worth £54,908, exclusive of settled estate at Belmont Castle in Scotland, and of Hunton Court and the Gennings Park estates in Kent.
The main house being occupied by his aunt, Henry Campbell-Bannerman and his wife took the nearby house at Gennings Park as their country residence, living there until 1887 . Image: Strutt & Parker.

CHEVENING

Sixty years ago, Chevening was bequeathed to the nation to ensure that the estate would not be broken up, but would instead retain a significant role as a private house in public life.

The oldest part of the house was built between 1616 and 1630 by Richard Lennard, 13th Lord Dacre, and the work had traditionally been attributed to Inigo Jones. Later, the wings were built by the first Lord Stanhope, who died in 1721. Pilaster and older stonework, added by the third Earl, completely hid Inigo Jones’ red bricks on the façade. Lord Roseberry, who as a boy stayed at the mansion, invariably called it ‘Paradise’. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

In May 1959, the Chevening Estate Bill, published details about Lord Stanhope’s gift of Chevening, Kent, to the nation. Lord Stanhope, the owner, who would leave no heir to the earldom, and had been a widower since 1940, said that as long ago as 1937 he had told Neville Chamberlain of his intention to bequeath Chevening to the country. During the Second World War he had told Winston Churchill of his wish.

However, it fell to Harold Macmillan to make a formal acknowledgement of the gift.

An endowment provided for the upkeep and maintenance of the house and the 3,000-acre estate, which could be used by Prime Ministers, or nominated members of the Cabinet, or members of the Royal Family. There was also provision in the Bill for its use as the residence of the American Ambassador if other nominees failed to make use of the house.

Mr Macmillan said that the mansion had associations with many distinguished statesmen. Lord Stanhope’s long service to the State, had been crowned with a gift which would allow the rare beauty of Chevening and its peace and serenity to serve the same high purpose which he and his forbears had always cherished.

The main staircase at Chevening, Kent. Lord Stanhope, a former first Lord of the Admiralty and Leader of the House of Commons, standing on the staircase in 1959. It was made of Spanish oak between 1720 and 1723. Behind were pieces of armour from a disbanded militia regiment in Ireland in the reign of Queen Anne. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Chevening had been in the possession and occupation of seven generations of Stanhopes, except for a brief period in 1769 when Lord Chatham stayed here with his family. During this period Pitt planned the carriage drive known as Lord Chatham’s Ride, partly to facilitate visits from his family residence at Hayes to see his only daughter, who married Charles, later the third Lord Stanhope.

The Print Gallery at Chevening, Kent. The long room contained engravings of leading personalities of the era between 1855 and 1875. Many of them were signed. There were also several framed letters of interest. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

MAMHEAD HOUSE

This country house, described as “one of the finest houses in the South of England” was Anthony Salvin’s first major commission.

The magnificent Mamhead house which dominates the East Devon coastline has a rich and interesting history. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Mamhead House, in the Haldon Hills, Devon, is one of those country houses that hasn’t been able to find its identity in recent times. For many years we have known this Grade I-listed Tudor-Gothic property as Mamhead Park, and it has just been launched on the market at Strutt & Parker, price on application.

The impressive late Georgian country house that today stands overlooking the dramatic scenery of the coast was built in 1833, replacing a much older house. Image: Strutt & Parker.

This is one of many houses that has stood on the estate. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, the estate passed through several distinguished families. In 1547 it was bought by the Balle family. In 1672, Peter Balle, an attorney to Queen Henrietta Mara, was awarded a baronetcy for his services. Later, William of Orange billeted his supporters on the estate. It passed into the hands of the Earl of Lisburne who sold it to Robert William Newman, MP, in 1822.

The imposing home was designed by celebrated English architect Anthony Salvin. An architect who was renowned for his expertise on medieval buildings and restored many castles and churches. Image: Dartmoor Archive.

Robert Newman was a senior partner of Newman and Co, general merchants of Dartmouth. Originally Hunt, Newman, Roope, Teague and Co, the company had buccaneered out to Newfoundland, and commenced selling salted codfish to Portugal in the 1500s, encountering wines of that country through bartering fish for wine. In time, the company built up its own shipping fleet.

Newman’s family motto ‘Ubi amor ibi fides’ (where there is love there is trust) is exquisitely carved above the grand front door. Image: Dartmoor Archive.

When Robert Newman bought Mamhead Park for £106,000 the original house was built on low-ground, without the views across the Exe Estuary. He turned to Charles Fowler, an architect born in Cullompton and articled in Exeter, who produced several E-shaped plans for his client. Fowler probably intended to rebuild Mamhead Park on the site of the existing house. Alas, Newman rejected each plan, excited by new building styles and preferring a new house about 400 yards up a hill to the west of the old mansion.

The classically proportioned house has played host to a great many kings, queens and distinguished royals from around the world. Queen Adelaide even had her own private bedroom, now entitled the Queen’s Room. Image: Dartmoor Archive.

Newman instead gambled on Anthony Salvin, an aspiring young architect, who grasped his first major commission. Built of mellow Bath stone, Salvin retained one of Fowler’s original ground plans into the design and construction commenced in 1827 and the shell completed by the following year. It was a slow-build. The new house was funded out of Newman’s income and its interiors weren’t completed until 1833.

The beautiful building boasts a glorious facade constructed out of mellow Bath stone and is made up of ornate stone carvings and towering chimneys. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Mamhead Park was a ‘marriage house’ for his new bride, Mary, and one befitting a man of his status. Robert Newman had become MP for Exeter in 1818 and became a baronet in 1836.

He was succeeded by his son, Captain. Sir Robert Lydston Newman, who was killed at the Battle of Inkerman in November 1854, and Mamhead passed to his brother, Sir Lydston Newman, whose son, a prominent churchman, was created Lord Mamhead in 1931.

He died unmarried in 1945, leaving life tenancy of the estate to his brother-in-law, Frederick Lumley.

The romance of the place is unquestionable even from afar and only grows as we encounter the beautifully restored wood panelling, fine plaster work and beautiful stained glass—designed by Thomas Willement, heraldic artist to William IV— of the interiors. Image: Strutt & Parker.

On succeeding in 1948, Sir Ralph Newman, great-grandson of the first baronet, was able to buy back furnishings but eventually abandoned the idea of living on a grand scale.

In 1954, he sold the estate, but retained the house and 20 acres, choosing to let the fully furnished property to an evangelical organisation. Mamhead was sold to Dawlish College for Boys in 1963 and was acquired by a property company in 1988, who converted the house and stables into offices, at one time occupied by the Forestry Commission.

The property seems to have a natural flow as we are transported from beautiful room to beautiful room; some of the most impressive being the oak room, dining room, library and drawing rooms. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Mamhead Park returned to private use in 2000 and twelve years later was bought by a group of overseas investors, headed by Richard Fuller, for £8 million.

After considering various uses, including an ill-fated wedding business, the mansion is once again available to buy.

The property also features a music room, summer dining room, sitting room, study, snooker room and snug, Image: Strutt & Parker.

The sale also includes Grade II*-listed Mamhead Castle, also designed by Salvin as stables at the same time as the big house, a copy of a pele tower at 14th century Belsay Castle in Northumberland, and currently providing six office suites.  

One of the most intriguing things about Mamhead though is the fact that it has its own Grade II listed castle on the grounds. Believed to be an architectural copy of Belsay Castle in Northumberland, the astonishing building is constructed of local red sandstone in the baronial Gothic style and was originally used as stabling and a brewery. Image: Strutt & Parker.

LYPIATT PARK

One hundred years ago. The mid-Gloucester correspondent for the Cheltenham Chronicle reported that the whole of the Lypiatt Estate had been sold by private treaty and that the new owner intended to take up residence soon.

Lypiatt Park - Country Life (1)
Lypiatt Park, Gloucestershire. Image: Country Life.

“There is much historical lore surrounding the fine old Elizabethan mansion. The mansion has been in the hands of faithful servants since the death of Lady Dorington, and it is hoped that with the advent of a new owner some of the former glories of Lypiatt will be revived.”

The house was Lypiatt Park, mostly of the 16th century, once belonging to Throckmorton, of Gunpowder Plot fame. A west tower and crenelated parapet were added by Jeffry Wyatville as part of his works of 1809-1815. An extension was added by Thomas Henry Wyatt in 1877 for Sir John Edward Dorington, a Conservative politician. He died in 1911 and his widow had been in failing health until her own death in 1913.

Lypiatt Park - Hetty Hikes (1)
Lypiatt Park, Gloucestershire. Image: Hetty Hikes.

The house and most of the estate was bought by Walter John Gwyn in 1919 and occupied by his sister and brother-in-law, Judge Hubert Bayley Drysdale Woodcock. However, the house was later leased to Barbara Grace Talbot, widow of Major John Talbot, until her death in 1938. It is debatable how long Walter Gwyn spent at Lypiatt Park, but he was certainly resident here from 1939 alongside the Woodcocks.

Gwyn died in 1940 and Judge Woodcock remained here with his daughter until it was sold in the early 1950s. Falling into a state of disrepair it was bought by the Modernist sculptor Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003) who restored the house, and which remains in the family.

Lypiatt Park - South Cotswold Ramblers (1)
Lypiatt Park, Gloucestershire. Image: South Cotswold Ramblers.

SINGLETON ABBEY

On this day, one hundred years ago, the Daily Express reported that Lord Swansea had decided to sell his ancestral home, Singleton Abbey, Swansea, owing to rates, taxes and the general increase of the cost of upkeep.

Singleton Abbey - The Penny Illustrated Paper - June 11 1887 - BNA
During the 19th century, Swansea became a major centre of industry and commerce, its port a gateway to the world. There were opportunities for shrewd-minded entrepreneurs (many from outside Wales) to cash in on the economic boom, among them the Vivian family from Truro in Cornwall. Already with major investments in the Cornish copper trade, in 1809 John Vivian established the Hafod copper works and subsequently created the company Vivian and Sons. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

The whole estate of 250 acres and the mansion, with its priceless contents of 70 fully furnished rooms was going to auction.

“I don’t want to do it,” said Lord Swansea, “but it is a sad necessity. To keep up the place as I should like would entail £100,000 a year, and I have not the means to do it. That accounts for my living away from Swansea so largely. It will be a great wrench to part with the place, but it is inevitable.”

Singleton Abbey - Coflein (1)
In 1817, John Henry Vivian, purchased Marino, an octagonal neo-classical villa, and went about enlarging the original house into a mansion befitting his new wealth and growing social status. The house grew over the following two decades into the building in the photograph. “Marino” became “Singleton Abbey” in 1832. Image: Coflein.

The nucleus of the house was built in 1784 by Edward King, a customs official. In 1817 it was bought by the industrialist John Henry Vivian who extended the house and later engaged architect Peter Frederick Robinson to re-model it in neo-gothic style.

Singleton Abbey - Coflein (2)
Before 1851 the stables and coach house were added and minor works were carried out in 1887 for visit of Prince of Wales. A major fire in 1896 resulted in some rebuilding. Image: Coflein.

Ernest Vivian, 2nd Baron Swansea, sold Singleton Abbey to Swansea Corporation for £115,000 in July 1919, and died three years later.

The council wanted to develop the estate largely for housing purposes and gifted the mansion to the Swansea University College in 1923 – still used today as offices for Swansea University on its Singleton Park campus.

Singleton Abbey - Coflein (3)
The London architect, P. F. Robinson (1776-1858) was well-known at the time for his ‘Designs for Ornamental Villas’ and other pattern book publications. Image: Coflein.

Swansea_University_Singleton_Abbey
Singleton Abbey, and a portion of the estate, became part of the University College of Swansea during the 1920s. It now houses many of the administrative offices of Swansea University.

WILMONT HOUSE

The descendants of  Sir Thomas and Lady Edith Dixon look on with anguish, as this Victorian country house, gifted to the people of Belfast in the 1950’s, falls into ruin.

Wilmont House - Belfast City Council
Wilmont House is a house of 1859 in a demesne established in 1740. Since 1959 the demesne has been subdivided, part being given to Belfast City Council for public recreation as the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park. Image: Belfast City Council.

Back in April 1956, the gift of Wilmont House, at Dunmurry, Co Antrim, might have seemed a blessing to Belfast Corporation. Lady Edith Dixon offered Wilmont and its 140 acres of land to the city, with the wish that it be used as a hospital, convalescent home or home for old people, and that the lands be used as a public park. The old lady was winding down her affairs, the only other stipulation was that she be able to occupy the house and lands for her lifetime, thereafter they should be managed by the Corporation for “the greatest good of the citizens of the city.”

Lady Edith died in 1964 and her wishes were granted. Wilmont House became a home for the elderly, a role it carefully fulfilled until closure in 1992. However, by now the old house was less of a good thing, and more of a burden for Belfast City Council.

Wilmont House - Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland (1)
The present house was built in 1859 to the design of Thomas Jackson for James Bristow, a director of the Northern Banking Company. Image: Lord Belmont in Northern Ireland.

By 2013, Wilmont House had been used for occasional events, as a parks office for the council and briefly as the headquarters for the Belfast Marathon. A proposal for a seven-year refurbishment was rejected, the house was too expensive to maintain, and the only viable option might have been to hand back Wilmont to the Dixon family.

Six years later, the situation hasn’t changed. Wilmont House has deteriorated, windows are broken and boarded-up, and the Grade B1 listed former country house is designated a ‘Building at Risk.’

Wilmont House - Belfast Telegraph (1)
“Sadly what we look at now bears little resemblance to what the house was in its heyday. It’s boarded up, windows are broken, and it stands in a place of such beauty that it’s disappointing to see all the history of the house.” – Andrew Dixon. Image: Belfast Telegraph.

Its sorry condition hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Dixon family. This week the Belfast Telegraph reports that Andrew Dixon (58), a great, great nephew of Lady Edith, has told Belfast City Council that it should make “alternative arrangements” if it cannot look after the stately home in its most famous park. ‘The family has watched on in horror as the derelict house in the grounds of Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in south Belfast has gradually decayed since it was handed over to the council by his great, great aunt.’

It is suggested that discussions took place at Belfast City Council several years ago on the future of Wilmont House during which it was suggested the Dixon family should be contacted to discuss its future. According to Andrew Dixon that call never came.

The situation at Wilmont House is no different to many other country houses that ended up in the care of local authorities. A recent Country Life article on Oldway Mansion at Paignton, in Devon, reads remarkably similar, although on a grander scale.

Wilmont House - Albert Bridge (1)
The present Wilmont House is the second of that name to stand on this site. The original Wilmont was built c. 1740 by William Stewart, son of John Stewart of Ballydrain. Image: Albert Bridge.

Wilmont House was one of three houses that belonged to the Dixon family – the others being Drumadarragh House and Cairndhu, also in Co Antrim. Drumadarragh remains in the family, the seat of Lord and Lady Glentoran, but Mr Dixon fears that Wilmont might go the same way as Cairndhu in Larne, another property gifted by the family, presented to the Northern Ireland Hospitals Authority in 1947, which now lies in ruins.

Andrew Dixon might be frustrated by events at Wilmont, but Belfast City Council remains restrained over the situation. “We’re currently preparing an invitation for expressions of interest to go to the market to seek a suitably qualified developer for the restoration and regeneration of Wilmont House, to bring it into a new use. As part of this, we’re pursuing efforts to get in touch and engage with the beneficiaries of the will of Lady Dixon.”

For now,  Wilmont House is surplus to requirement and only time will see how it emerges from a distinctly despondent period.

Wilmont House - Lisburn-com (1)
The architect chosen to design the new Wilmont was an up-and-coming young Waterford man, Thomas Jackson (1807-1890), whose Belfast Buildings included the Museum Building in College Square North, and St. Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church, Alfred Street. Image: Lisburn.com.

The house was built in 1859, ‘a plain two-storey red-brick Victorian house, with a three-bay front and balustraded porch.’ It replaced a 1740 property built for William Stewart, the son of John Stewart of Ballydrain, an important farming family.

In 1855, the estate had been sold to Alexander Mackenzie Shaw, a Belfast brewer, but he was quickly forced to sign over the property to the Northern Banking Company in lieu of debts of £12,505. About 1858, it became the property of James Bristow (1796-1866), a director of the aforesaid bank, who demolished the run-down old house and substituted it with the present mansion designed by Thomas Jackson, one of Belfast’s outstanding architects.

James Bristowe - Lisburn-com (1)
James Bristow. Image: Lisburn.com.

According to historian Eileen Black, Wilmont House was really a house of two-halves. One part was occupied by James Bristow, the other by his son, James Thomson Bristow (1827-1877), another banker.

James Thomson Bristowe - Lisburn-com (1)
James Thomson Bristow. Image: Lisburn.com.

Following J. T. Bristow’s death in 1877 the estate passed to his trustees, William Laird of Birkenhead, and his brother, Samual Smith Bristow of Liverpool, and was sold in 1879 to Robert Henry Sturrock Reade (1873-1913), of the York Street Flax Spinning Company. After his death, Wilmont passed to his son George who sold it to Sir Thomas and Lady Edith Dixon in 1919.

Robert Henry Sturrock Reade - Lisburn-com (1)
Robert Henry Sturrock Reade. Image: Lisburn.com.

Sir Thomas Dixon (1868-1950), Privy Councillor for Northern Ireland, and a well-known figure in Irish and British racing circles, belonged to a family of shipowners and timber merchants who had been among the founders of modern Belfast.

His father, Sir Daniel Dixon, 1st Baronet, was the first Lord Mayor of Belfast and MP for North Belfast, half-brother to Lord Glentoran, president of the Ulster Unionist Council.

Thomas Dixon entered the business of his father, Thomas Dixon & Sons, timber merchants, and owners of the Lord Line Shipping Company of which he was a director. On the death of his father in 1907 he became managing director, a position in which he remained until the closing of the firm in 1938. (He was also a director of the York Street Flax Spinning Company).

When Larne was created a Borough in 1939, Sir Thomas was elected its first Mayor. He was a Senator until 1949, was a member of the Ulster Unionist Council from its inception and was appointed to the Privy Council in 1930.

He died in Harrogate in 1950 and was survived by Lady Edith Dixon (1871-1964), formerly Miss Edith Stewart Clark, daughter of Stewart Clark, of Cairndhu, and Dundas Castle, South Queensferry, whom he married in 1906.

Lord and Lady Dixon - Lisburn-com (1)
Sir Thomas and Lady Edith Dixon. Image: Lisburn.com.

Lady Dixon was appointed a Dame of the British Empire in June 1921, in recognition of her valuable work on behalf of all the services during World War One.

For the time being, Wilmont House must live with its memories. To the time when Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the famous Antarctic explorer, visited during his stay in Belfast in 1904. To 1934, when it became the temporary residence of the Governor of Northern Ireland when Government House at Hillsborough was damaged by fire, and to the Second World War when it was the headquarters of the American Army in Northern Ireland.

The last word goes to Andrew Dixon and the uncertainty over Belfast City Council’s ownership of the property: –

“They have said they would like to talk to the family. I have plenty of ideas on how it could be used and surely that’s more preferable than letting it go to ruin. I and my father Robin Dixon, Baron Glentoran, have already watched how another of the properties at Cairndhu in Larne has been handled and I would hate to see Wilmont House go the same way,” he said.

drumbe65
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was a guest in 1935, during Sir Thomas Dixon’s period as His Majesty’s Lieutenant. During World War II, the house served as the Northern Ireland headquarters of the United States Army. Image: drumbe65.