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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:
Former house

Date of Construction:
1920 - 1939

Address :
Stormont House Stormont Estate Upper Newtownards Road Belfast County Antrim BT4 3XX


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
13/03/1987 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J4013 7478

Owner Category

Central Govt

Exterior Description And Setting

Symmetrical detached multi-bay two-storey with attic brick and stone former house, dated 1926, to the designs of Ralph Knott. Located on the grounds of Stormont Estate to the southeast of Parliament buildings on its own mature site with a large single-storey flat-roofed wing attached to the east, built c.1975. Hipped terracotta tiled roofs with large profiled brick and cast cement chimneystacks, terracotta ridge tiles and lead-lined dormer windows. Cast-iron rainwater goods with a single decorative box hopper having raised digits; ‘1926’. Machine-made red brick walling laid in English garden wall bond with cement pointing and a lead-lined continuous brick plat band at first floor sill level. Gauged brick flat-arched window openings with bipartite and tripartite multi-pane timber casement windows and multi-pane French doors. Symmetrical principal north elevation is five windows wide with advanced end bays and a central square-plan entrance porch housing an elaborate pedimented carved stone doorcase. Flat-roofed entrance porch has double-leaf timber doors with a single decorative raised-and-fielded panel to each leaf, a rectangular fanlight with decorative glazing bars and a carved stone surround. Deep stone architrave surround is surmounted by a segmental pediment supported on scrolled console brackets in turn surmounted by a decorative ball finial and swags. East side elevation is abutted by a lower two-storey section and a later flat-roofed single-storey extension. This section is also abutted by a flat-roofed glazed wing, built c.1975. Symmetrical south garden elevation is nine windows wide with a central flat-roofed entrance bay. French doors to the entire ground floor with stepped keystones. The bay comprises a tripartite arrangement of multi-pane timber French doors with stone columns having stylised capitals, elaborately carved stone overpanels and a continous fluted entablature. West side elevation is abutted by a lower two-storey section with a square-headed door opening having a replacement timber panelled door and a painted Doric portico. Roof Terracotta tiles RWG Cast-iron Walling Red brick Windows Timber casement Setting: Located on a mature site to the southeast of Parliament buildings (HB26.13.013) surrounded by steel security fencing. Bitmac front driveway with modern security cabin to the northwest. Stepped stone paved rear terrace enclosed to the rear garden by rough-hewn sandstone wall.


Knott, Ralph

Historical Information

Speaker’s House (now known as Stormont House), a neo-Georgian two-storey redbrick building located within the Stormont Estate to the south-east of Parliament Buildings, was constructed in 1926. The Speaker’s House was the first building to be erected as part of the redevelopment of the Stormont Estate; following the Government of Ireland Act (1920) the former estate of Stormont Castle (see HB26/13/014) was selected as the home of the newly-formed Northern Ireland Government and Parliament. The Stormont Estate was acquired by the Commissioners of Public Works and Buildings of the Imperial Government in 1921 at a cost of £20,334, however the Parliament Buildings were not completed and opened until 1932 (Gallagher) The architect chosen to design Speaker’s House was Ralph Knott (1878-1929), an English-architect and a partner in Knott & Collins. Knott is best known for designing London County Hall opposite Westminster, and was originally selected by the Board of Works to design the Parliament Buildings, however, he was replaced as architect by Arnold Thornely. Despite losing the contract for designing the main block of Parliament Buildings, Knott was still contracted to design a pair of parallel administration blocks that would accommodate the civil service offices, however following a financial reassessment in 1925 it was decided to merge the formerly separate blocks into a single four-storey building; as a result Knott’s services were not required but the intended name ‘Parliament Buildings’ has been retained in the plural as a number of offices were originally envisaged (UAHS; Larmour; Gallagher, pp 30-31). Despite losing these contracts, Knott was able to complete Speaker’ House in 1926; the Annual Revisions set the rateable value of the redbrick building at £150, however the First Revaluation (1935) increased this to £220 following the opening of Parliament Buildings in 1932. Speaker’s House was first recorded on the fifth edition of the Ordnance Survey maps (1938-39) which depicted the building along its current layout (excluding the two-storey administration block to its east). Following the partition of Ireland, architecture in Ulster did not immediately follow modern trends but embraced a neo-Georgian revival. Dixon states that buildings of this type possessed their own distinct identities but derived some elements from earlier buildings in Ulster; Speaker’s House, along with T. F. O. Ripphingham’s contemporary series of police stations, possess features such as a hipped roof, Georgian multi-pane glazing and side chimneys. Focussing on Rippingham’s police stations, Dixon wrote that neo-Georgian architecture was popular in newly-formed Northern Ireland as the style ‘was an environmental success, blending with the older buildings along the streets of Ulster’s towns, or taking its place quietly in more isolated country situations;’ in the case of Speaker’s House, it is clear that the neo-Georgian style could also be successfully applied to state buildings (Dixon, p. 189). Speaker’s House was the official residence of the Speaker from 1926 until 1972 when the Northern Ireland Government was abolished and Direct Rule implemented. The Second Revaluation (1956-72) increased the value of the building to £280 and Speaker’s House was subsequently listed in 1987. Since the devolution of Government, Speaker’s House is no longer utilised as the official residence of the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly; the neo-Georgian building is currently occupied by the Northern Ireland Office. The neo-Georgian building was extended in the 1970s when a large two-storey administration complex was added to the eastern side of the former dwelling. The NIEA HB Records note that the Speaker’s House (now known as Stormont House) underwent a renovation in 2008. References Primary Sources 1. PRONI OS/6/3/5/5 – Fifth Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1938-39) 2. PRONI VAL/12/B/17/5A - Annual Revisions (1923-1929) 3. PRONI VAL/3/B/4/4 – First General Revaluation of Northern Ireland (1935) 4. PRONI VAL/4/B/3/21 – Second General Revaluation of Northern Ireland (1956-1972) 5. First Survey Record – HB26/13/017 (1985) 6. First Survey Image – HB26/13/017 (No Date) 7. NIEA HB Records – HB26/13/017 Secondary Sources 1. ‘Parliament Buildings Stormont: The building, its setting, uses and restoration 1922-1998’ Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 1999. 2. Dixon, H., ‘An introduction to Ulster Architecture’ Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 2008. 3. Gallagher, J., ‘Stormont: The house on the hill’ Belfast: Booklink, 2008. 4. Larmour, P., ‘Belfast: An illustrated architectural guide’ Belfast: Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 1987. Online Resources 1. Dictionary of Irish Architects -

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation D. Plan Form H-. Alterations detracting from building I. Quality and survival of Interior J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

V. Authorship W. Northern Ireland/International Interest


Well proportioned and detailed symmetrical detached multi-bay two-storey with attic brick and stone former house,dated 1926, designed by Ralph Knott (1878-1929). The classical detailing of this former house demonstrates an early twentieth-century revival of Queen Anne style architectural devices such as multi-pane flush timber casement windows, oversized chimneystacks and the pedimented stone doorcase. The main decorative detailing has been retained internally and externally. It has group value with the other listed structures in the Stormont estate.

General Comments

Listing Criteria R - Age; S - Authenticity; T - Historic Importance and U - Historic Associations also apply.

Date of Survey

12 February 2014