12 February 2016

No Expense Spared


An historic Bangor home which was one of the finest in its era. Stephanie Bell reports.

Built for a 19th century linen merchant this imposing mansion house remains one of the finest and most admired on Bangor’s highly sought after Princetown Road.

Even for its time when superior homes were all about architectural detail and craftsmanship this home would have stood head and shoulders above others of its kind.

The architect is unknown, though it is thought that the gate pillars are in the Greek Revival style favoured by the Glasgow architect James Hamilton, who was certainly working for the linen merchants Ewarts in Belfast in 1869. There are also suggestions that Charles Lanyon may have been involved.

The builders were Henrys who also built the Albert Bridge in Belfast. It is believed that its owner Foster Connor, whose initials are etched on the front door, spared no expense in the construction of the house and brought a craftsman from Italy to execute the main ceiling mouldings and the impressive ceiling dome.

In 1860 the Journal of the Society of Arts named Foster Connor & Co as one of the six principal Linen Manufacturers in Belfast.

The house was passed down through generations of his family until 1972 when it was bought by Down County Education Committee to become a Teachers Centre and then sold in 1989 when it was divided into two residential properties.

Regardless of the purpose it served, all of the original beauty has been retained with fine architectural detail both inside and out.

Occupying what was once a large and prime site on Wilson’s Point, the house offers 3,500 sq ft of accommodation.

You step from an entrance porch into the grandest of reception halls where there is a myriad of original timeless features including ornate cornicing and the unique staircase which has a glass dome above it.

Pure opulence can be found in the gracious main lounge with its large bay window with decorative columns, ornate deep cornicing, ceiling rose and large marble fireplace. This room enjoys beautiful views over the gardens and Belfast Lough.

An oak fitted kitchen comes with a fridge/freezer, dishwasher, an Aga range and opens into a spacious dining area with sash windows which still have their original wooden shutters.

You can step from the kitchen into the beautiful conservatory with its high glass ceiling and wonderful views over the gardens and Belfast Lough.

There are two bedrooms and a shower room on the ground floor including the master which retains its period beauty with feature ornate cornicing and sash windows with shutters. There is a range of fitted robes and an en suite bathroom with panel bath, shower cubicle and vanity unit. The second bedroom is a good double with period features and built in shelving.

On the first floor are two more good sized bedrooms and a modern shower room.

The house also has a basement level accessed via an internal stairway from the main hall. This large space was once used as a dance hall and today offers endless potential for a games room, gymnasium or entertainment room. There is a wine cellar and two stores room, plus the boiler room in the basement.

Outside there are both private and communal gardens to be enjoyed as well as communal tennis court.

View this article and more at the Belfast Telegraph

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