Saturday, September 12, 2009

Heritage Open Days

European Heritage Open Days 2009 is taking place this weekend. Today, Nick and I decided to visit Campbell College and Netherleigh House, both within walking distance of our home.

Campbell College was built in the 1890s by W H Lynn, a partner in Lanyon’s architectural firm, and I was struck by the likeness to Queen’s . We were given an interesting guided tour and information booklet. My father was a pupil at Campbell and I’d had a brief look around with him a few years ago. He was one of the children of clergymen admitted on reduced rates, which the guide mentioned was a particular feature of the school. The pupils were evacuated to Portrush in the Second World War and the site used for a hospital, so his younger brother was sent to Inst instead.

Then we walked the short distance round to Netherleigh House, which is also thought to have been designed by Lynn. It has an unusual and rather sad history in that it changed hands many times (including being owned by Campbell College for a while) and when bought by the government in 1974, some of the old house was demolished to build new offices. The original entrance on the Belmont Road is now disused (pictured). Again we had an interesting tour, although the practicalities of office use have somewhat muffled the house’s character. There was some amazing art on display, part of the NI Civil Service collection apparently.

Tomorrow we hope to go to Stormont Castle. European Heritage Open Days is a great opportunity to have a look inside some interesting buildings. Many are still open on Sunday, so go for it.

P.S. We did go to Stormont Castle on Sunday, very interesting and, again, some fantastic art.


Moochin Photoman said...

I love the heritage open days and enjoyed the Antiochian Orthodox church up the Antrim road along with the Clifton Rd cemetary and Townsend.St Presbyterian church.
I wrote and complained about the brochure as it was unweildly (not easily slipped into a bag) and in my opinion badly designed (well the cover at least.) So much so that i overlooked it as the lime green colour and dreadful font made me think it was something to do with children.
Still.... always a weekend for the diary

Jenny Muir said...

Moochin - Welcome, and glad you also enjoyed the weekend. I did think the problem with the brochure (at least in its internet version) was that it looked too aimed at families, but in fact most visitors to the places we went to were older, with very few children.

There's so muich to choose from, the weekend will keep us going for years! It would be important to get out of Belfast some time as well.

Johnny said...

another notable episode in the recent history of campbell was the scandal surrounding the child abuse cover-up, which hit the headlines a few years back.

Jenny Muir said...

Johnny - yes, I remember that, wasn't it Cabin Hill and a prefect? Funnily enough it wasn't mentioned on the tour :) but I did notice the new junior school under construction and I presume that's at least partly a wish to bury the Cabin Hill name.