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Historic Building Details


HB Ref No:
HB18/19/023


Extent of Listing:
Hospital


Date of Construction:
1860 - 1879


Address :
Downshire Hospital (front terrace) Ardglass Road Downpatrick Co Down BT30 6RA


Townland:
Russells Quarter






Survey 2:
B1

Date of Listing:
28/07/1983 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:
Hospital Building

Former Use
Hospital Building

Conservation Area:
No

Industrial Archaeology:
No

Vernacular:
No

Thatched:
No

Monument:
No

Derelict:
No




OS Map No:
224/12

IG Ref:
J4987 4416





Owner Category


Central Govt Health Board

Exterior Description And Setting


Extremely long (c.300m), robust looking, (mainly) three storey asylum complex by Henry Smyth, largely built between 1865 and 1869, and consisting of a series of connected hipped roof ‘terrace’ blocks of uniform red brick construction with cream brick quoins and courses. The terrace is generally symmetrical to the front, with a large, eclectic and somewhat exuberant five storey entrance tower to the centre. To the ends of the terrace are two storey blocks of c.1883 and to the rear there is a variety of extensions added throughout the 20th century, with some large overtly modern sections in evidence. The complex is set on a rise to the NE of Ardglass Road, on the SE outskirts of Downpatrick. The front elevation of the terrace faces SW and is generally symmetrical. In the main it consists of a central three storey hipped roof block, with central projecting entrance tower, flanked by longer, but lower, three storey wings, with the terrace culminating to both NW and SE with large two storey hipped roof blocks which project well beyond the main line of the elevation. Within each of these sections the elevation breaks into various gabled and canted bays, but overall, apart from the tower and in spite of its length and disparity in age, is of uniform appearance, being constructed in red brick with cream brick saw-tooth quoins and courses and with neat lines of (mainly) sash windows. To the centre is a large hipped roof three storey section. To the centre of this is a large gable and to the centre of the gable there projects the large five storey tower. This tower, (which, though part of the original section of the building, looks somehow later than 1865-69), is roughly square in plan but with round, cone capped, four storey towers, [presumably stair towers giving access to the clock], projecting from its NW and SE corners. The round towers have slit windows to most floors and are linked (along with the main tower) at ground level by a single storey canted extension with flat roof, which appears to have been built over the original main entrance. There is a (relatively utilitarian) doorway to the S face of this extension. Above the extension (to SW face of the main tower there is a tall, church-like, semicircular headed window with two large semicircular headed lights with roundel to tympanum. All these lights have margin panes. To the uppermost floor of the main tower there is a large semicircular headed louvered opening to each face. The SW and NE openings also incorporate a traditional clock face. The main tower is topped with a slated mansard-like roof [‘American gothic’ style] with open iron work crown. To each side of the roof there is a roundel ‘dormer’. The eaves course is broken to each side by the arched heads of the aforementioned louvered openings. The SW façade of the large hipped roof section to the immediate left and right of the tower is much plainer than the tower itself, with sash windows of various size to each floor and a single storey gabled entrance porch to the centre of the ground floor at both left and right. To the NW and SE the central hipped roof section is linked, (via short, single storey flat roofed corridors), to very long, but slightly lower three storey hipped roof wings. Both of these have largely identical SW elevations with long recessed outer portions flanking an equally large central projecting section. The outer portions both culminate (to the outer ends) in a full height gabled bay and to the centre of the central projecting section there is a full height canted bay. The windows are evenly arranged and have sash fames, many with glazing bars; those to the central projecting section having semicircular heads, the rest flat. The roofs of the both wings are slated and have a uniform series of large brick chimney stacks. To the outer end of the roof of both wings there rises a tall battered brick ventilation tower, with open cast iron crown. The terrace culminates at both NW and SE ends in a large hipped roof two storey ‘pavilion’ blocks. The SW elevations of these are handed, both having large full height end projections, canted and flat roofed bays and single storey ‘conservatory’ extensions. The NW block, however, has been extended to its NW side. As might be expected in an institutional building of this age, the terrace shows less uniformity to the rear elevation and has been extended over the years. Large sections of the ‘original’ rear elevation of the are still visible, however, especially the those belonging to the long three storey wings, which have a rubble façades with red brick dressings to the openings. Like their fronts, both the rears of both wings have a uniform series of sash windows to each floor and some utilitarian doorways. Towards the outer extremities both wings have large, original, three storey hipped roof returns both of which are abutted by large mid to later 20th century extensions of varying size and shape, but generally out of sympathy with the original returns. The return to the NW wing also links (to the N) to a two storey U-shaped, hipped roof block, of similar appearance as the ‘pavilion’ blocks to the front. To the N of this there is another similar block (though of different plan). This block was originally ‘stand alone’ but is now linked to the former block via a first floor brick built ‘corridor’, which also spans over the main drive to the N of the hospital. To the rear of the central section of the terrace there is a large, original, central full height gabled return (part rubble-faced, part rendered), with tall buttresses and upper level semicircular headed windows. This return is linked to several two storey gabled blocks, which also appear to be original (or at least late 19th century). These portions, like the rear elevations of the long wings, are largely rubble finished, with brick dressings to sash windows, however, they are now partly hidden by a sprawling mass of mid to later 20th century looking brick extensions, generally single storey with a mixture of flat and gabled roofs and modern windows and doors.

Architects


Smyth, Henry

Historical Information


This building, originally the Down District Lunatic Asylum, was largely built between c.1865-69 and c.1904. The earliest section, which appears to have consisted of the main central section, the returns to the rear of it, and the long side wings, was designed by County Surveyor, Henry Smyth, and built at a cost of just over £60,000. It contained four wards, two infirmaries (male and female) and 45 single rooms, providing 333 beds and opened in October 1869 In 1882-3, the two storey ‘pavilion’ end blocks were added, with further extensions (presumably the two storey red brick portions to the north) added between c.1895 and c.1904, with a gasworks built in 1905. Throughout the 20th century, but mainly during the 1930s and 1950s), further extensions were added to the rear of the complex, as well as separate buildings within the extended hospital grounds (e.g. Finneston House in 1955). In 1894 the Hospital changed its name to ‘Down County Lunatic Asylum’, becoming ‘Down Mental Hospital’ and, with the establishment of the NHS in 1948, ‘Downshire Hospital’. References- Primary sources 1 Linen Hall Library ‘Irish Builder’ (15th March 1883) 2 George Henry Bassett, ‘County Down guide and directory’ (Dublin 1886), p.187 3 PRONI OS/6/3/37/3, 38/3, OS maps, 2nd ed, Down sheets 37 and 38, 1901 Secondary sources 1 R.E. Parkinson, ‘The centenary of the Downshire Hospital’ 1869-1969 (1969) 2 Lady Dunleath, P.J. Rankin, A Rowan, Historic buildings…Downpatrick’ (Belfast 1970), p.20 3 Hugh Dixon, ‘Ulster architecture 1800-1900- An exhibition of architectural drawings…’ (Belfast 1972), p.28 4 Anthony M. Wilson, ‘Saint Patrick’s town’ (Belfast 1995), p.174, 185-87, 192, 194, 209, 221, 223 5 R.H. Buchanan and Anthony Wilson, ‘Irish historic towns atlas no.8: Downpatrick’ (Royal Irish Academy 1996)

Criteria for Listing


Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form H-. Alterations detracting from building H+. Alterations enhancing the building J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

X. Local Interest Z. Rarity



Evaluation


Extremely long and impressive, (mainly) three storey asylum complex by Henry Smyth, largely built between 1865 and 1869, and consisting of a series of connected hipped roof ‘terrace’ blocks of uniform red brick construction with cream brick quoins and courses. The terrace is generally symmetrical to the front, with a large, eclectic and somewhat exuberant five storey entrance tower to the centre. To the ends of the terrace are two storey blocks of c.1883 and to the rear there is a variety of extensions added throughout the 20th century.

General Comments




Date of Survey


10 November 2000