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.