Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:
HB23/07/001 A

Extent of Listing:
Town Hall, terraces, fretted stone walls, gate and steps

Date of Construction:
1840 - 1859

Address :
Town Hall Bangor Castle Castle Park Avenue Bangor Co Down BT20 4BN


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Town Hall

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J5045 8119

Owner Category

Local Govt

Exterior Description And Setting

A substantial asymmetrical two-storey with attic level, over basement, Jacobethan style house dated 1852. Architect disputed with attribution made to both William Burn and Antony Salvin. Multi-bay, informal courtyard arrangement with adjoining stables (HB23/07/001B). Located north of Castle Park, at the end of Castle Park Avenue, off Abbey Road in the centre of Bangor. Natural slate pitched roof with clay ridge tiles and lead valleys. Replacement slates to the inner pitch of the roof. Cast-iron/lead rainwater goods with monogrammed (REW) hopper heads breaking through parapet level with box section downpipes. Ashlar buff-pink and Giffnock sandstone walling imported from Ayrshire. (Patton, p.33-5, www.stonedatabase.com) with associated quoins, plinth, string courses, surrounds, detailing and chimney stacks (in various states of survival). Squared-headed transom and mullion windows single glazed 1/1 timber sliding sash inset to sandstone surrounds. Doors Tudor arched timber sheeted with cast-iron ironmongery. The principal elevation faces east and is asymmetrically arranged. From left: a three-storey castellated tower with square corner turret; single window to ground and first floor; irregular spaced narrow windows to uppermost stage. Clock face to all facets of turret; pyramidal stone roof with filigree weather-vane. Recessed section three openings wide with steep pitched wall head dormers linked by fretted stone parapet, abutted at ground floor by entrance porch to left and box bay to right, matching proportions and balustraded parapet. Entrance door accessed by modern steps and handrails; architraves and label moulding with indented spandrels; pediment with carved monogrammed tympanum (REW). To right, a projecting M-profile section; two windows wide with two-storey box bay to right surmounted by decorative stonework parapet; skew-table gables with terminating finials. South elevation abutted by single-storey with attic double-pile secondary accommodation with subordinate detailing. Wall-head dormers over ground floor openings. Trenched basement level to east face of abutment. South face of abutment forms part of the courtyard to the adjoining listed structure HB23/07/001B. The west face of the abutment matches in detail to the east face; full length basement windows with wider trench. Fronted by modern ramped access. To west; principal part of elevation (to left) is symmetrically arranged, comprising gabled bays to either side of a recessed central bay; ground floor has single-storey canted bays to either side of central bowed bay; full width tripartite window to central bay, attic windows to gables, centre wall head dormer. Extended to right by two-storey subordinate wing; lower ridge and eaves level; matching style; subdued detailing. Symmetrical north elevation three-storey, three bays with large dormers matching gable style and proportions. Two-storey canted bay to central bay surmounted by decorative stone parapet, flanked by matching single-storey box bay with matching parapet detail; paired first floor windows over. Setting On an elevated site north of Ward Park, the principal
setting to the south and west is wooded landscape. Car park located to the east with landscaped gardens including sandstone and brick terraces, fretted stone walls and stone steps to the north, overlooking Bangor town centre. To the south is the adjoining former stable-yard(HB23/07/001B). East of the entrance to the car park is Bangor Leisure Centre, Glenlola Collegiate and Bangor Academy. Roofing: Natural slate Walling: Sandstone Windows: Timber RWG: Cast-iron/lead


Salvin, A Burn, W.

Historical Information

The building, constructed c.1848, is first shown on the second edition OS map of 1858 and appears, with few changes, through subsequent editions. ‘Bangor Castle’ is listed in Griffith’s Valuation (1856-64) as a ‘house, offices, steward’s-house, gate-lodges and land’ valued at £230 and owned in fee by Robert E Ward. By the first Annual Revision of 1866 the steward’s house has been removed from the description and the entire property is valued at £200. (Annual Revisions, Patton, p.33-5) A house belonging to the Ward family or their antecedents, the Hamilton's, has occupied the site since at least 1611, when Sir James Hamilton was first granted lands in Bangor. This first mansion appeared on Raven’s map of 1625 and subsequently underwent several phases of rebuilding and remodelling culminating in a late eighteenth century gothic ‘castle’ which is depicted in at least two paintings dating from the 1830s. The first edition OS map of 1833 shows this substantial building captioned ‘Bangor Castle’ which is listed in the Townland Valuation (1828-40) at £54 and owned by Colonel Ward. Following the death of Colonel Ward in 1837, his son Robert Edward Ward demolished the old castle, some accounts stating that he disliked it and others that the castle had been destroyed by fire. According to Patton, there is some uncertainty surrounding the architect or architects responsible for the current building. A foundation stone of 1848 names William Burn who was credited with the designs in his obituary. However, Anthony Salvin is also credited in his obituary with a ‘new house or substantial alteration’ for Robert Edward Ward. It also appears that William Walker, an architect of Monaghan, was consulted by Ward and produced some plans, but these were never executed. There is a visible difference in style, with regard to the stonework and detailing, between the main castle and the stable block and it may be that both Burn and Salvin had a hand in the design of the building with Burn perhaps designing the main house and Salvin the stable block. The obituaries of both men state that the cost of the building was £9,000. Several photographs have survived depicting the castle with chimney stacks intact and the interior as it appeared when inhabited as a private mansion. (Wilson, p.46-8) Patton states that the first floor consisted of bedrooms each with a tin bath painted in a colour to match the hangings and the basement of kitchens and servants’ quarters. Children’s accommodation was in the attic. (Patton, p.46) In Robert E Ward’s census return of 1901 he records himself as ‘landlord’ and the return shows that he was then, at the age of 82, presiding over a very substantial household. His son-in-law Lord Clanmorris was present, as were three of his ten grandchildren, their rank described as ‘honourable’. The staff of sixteen comprised a groom, two nursemaids, a housekeeper, five housemaids, a cook, two laundresses, a butler, two footmen and another male domestic servant. The majority of the staff were of English or Scottish extraction. (1901 census) There are few changes in Annual Revisions, but the property passed to Baroness Clanmorris in 1908 on the death of Robert Ward, Lord Clanmorris having married Ward’s daughter in 1878. (Annual Revisions, Patton, p.33-5) This is also confirmed by the 1911 census as it is now the home of Lord and Lady Clanmorris. The Clanmorris children were all away from home at the time of the census, the youngest of them perhaps still at school. Again, a substantial staff of thirteen was employed at the house, a noteworthy addition being the chauffeur who was employed in addition to a groom. By now the majority of staff employed were of local or southern Irish birth, apart from the butler and the housekeeper who were both English. The Clanmorris family employed laundresses, housemaids, a cook, a kitchen maid, a lady’s maid and an ‘odd man’ in addition. (1911 census) The arms of both the Ward and the Clanmorris families appear in the castle stonework. The porch bears a plaque reading, ‘Erected by Robert Ward 1852’ and Ward’s monogram also appears on rainwater hoppers. When Baroness Clanmorris died in 1941, much of the castle grounds were sold to Bangor Council and the demesne wall was taken down. In 1952 the castle became Bangor Town Hall and it is subsequent to this that most of the chimney-stacks were removed. The large saloon where Ward held music recitals is now the Council chamber, the organ having been sold off. Stained glass windows in the chamber include depictions of Edward III from whom the Wards claimed descent. (Patton, p.37, Brett, p.123, Information leaflet) At the time Brett was writing in 2002, the castle was undergoing an extensive programme of stonework restoration. (Brett, p.122) The North Down Heritage Centre is housed in the former laundry building and was opened in 1984. A modern extension to the stable courtyard houses the restaurant. (Patton, p.36) References: Primary Sources 1.PRONI OS/6/3/2/1 – First Edition OS Map 1833 2.PRONI OS/6/3/2/2 – Second Edition OS map 1858 3.PRONI OS/6/3/2/3 – Third Edition OS Map 1901 4.PRONI OS/6/3/2/4 – Fourth Edition OS Map 1919-26 5.PRONI OS/6/3/2/5 – Fifth Edition OS Map 1939 6.PRONI VAL/1/A/3/2 – Townland Valuation Map (1828-40) 7.PRONI VAL/1/B/31 – Townland Valuation (1828-40) 8.PRONI VAL/12/B/23/7A-K – Annual Revisions (1866-99) 9.PRONI VAL/12/B/23/9A-S – Annual Revisions (1900-1930) 10.PRONI VAL/12/E/129/1 – Annual Revisions Town Plans (c.1864-1899) 11.PRONI VAL/12/E/129/2 – Annual Revisions Town Plans (1898-c.1916) 12.Griffith’s Valuation online 13.1901 census online 14.1911 census online Secondary Sources 1.Brett, C.E.B. “Buildings of North County Down” Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 2002 2.“The Town Hall Bangor Castle” Information leaflet (2006) 3.Patton, M, “Bangor, An Historical Gazetteer” Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 1999 4.Wilson, I “Bangor, Historic Photographs of the County Down town” Belfast: Friar’s Bush Press, 1992

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

V. Authorship W. Northern Ireland/International Interest


Large two-storey with attic level, over basement, Jacobethan style house dated 1852. Architect disputed with attribution made to both William Burn (who also designed Castlewellan Castle(HB18/12/001)) and Antony Salvin, although William Burn may have designed the main house and Antony Salvin the stable yard. Formerly the residence of Robert Edward Ward, a significant figure of local interest, the building has served as council offices since 1952. As a result some of the character has been institutionalised, accommodating offices on all floors. The principal rooms have retained much of the decorative plaster and joinery work, with particular interest in the former double height music room, now the council chamber. The external fabric of the building has remained largely unaltered. The setting has been compromised by modern car parking but largely survives with good stone terraces, fretted walls, gate and steps of the landscaped garden. Its forms an important group with the former stable yard (HB23/07/001B and gate lodge (HB23/07/001C) . It is also of importance as one of the finest Victorian residences in Northern Ireland designed by prominent architects for the Ward family and later occupied by the Clanmorris family.

General Comments

Please note this record has been renumbered it was previously recorded as HB23/07/001

Date of Survey

Monday, September 06, 2010