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Historic Building Details

HB Ref No:

Extent of Listing:

Date of Construction:
1760 - 1779

Address :
23 Ballyskeagh Road Ballyskeagh Lisburn Co Antrim BT27 5SZ


Survey 2:

Date of Listing:
14/10/1975 00:00:00

Date of De-listing:

Current Use:

Former Use
Canal Structure

Conservation Area:

Industrial Archaeology:





OS Map No:

IG Ref:
J2887 6687

Owner Category


Exterior Description And Setting

This mid 18th century two-storey former lock keeper’s house is situated on the summit of a hillock at Ballyskeagh Bridge, a short distance SE of the lock (no.8) which it served on the Lagan Navigation. It is accessible only on foot, up a narrow path from the east end of the bridge. Pitched natural slate roof with small rebuilt brick chimneys on both gables. Half-round cast-iron gutters and down pipes. Walls of lime washed random rubble. There is a finely dressed sandstone string course between ground and first floor levels and also a sandstone eaves course under an ogee-profile sandstone cornice. The cornices continue along the base of the gable apexes as plain string courses. All openings have flat heads and replacement frames. The house is aligned NE-SW, with its principal elevation facing NW towards the lock. This façade is symmetrical and has a six-panel timber door to centre, with (replacement) stepped ashlar sandstone jambs and voussoired head of identical material (with projecting keystone). The door has a sandstone cill and is accessed up three concrete steps. It is set within a semicircular-headed recess, the curved section of which is at first floor level above the string course. The doorway is flanked to each side by a 6/6 timber sliding sash window. At first floor level, directly above these windows, are two 3/6 sash windows of diminished height. All the windows retain their original sandstone cills. The NE gable also has a semicircular headed recess to centre, identical to the façade but for the addition of a sandstone keystone to the crown of the arch. There is an 8/8 sash window with replacement sandstone cill to the ground floor. The SE (rear) elevation is not symmetrical. Although it has a keystoned semicircular headed recess to centre, with a 6/6 sash window, there is a smaller 6/6 sash to its left in what is probably a new opening. There is a 4/4 sash and 6/6 sash at left and right respectively to the first floor, again of diminished height. These windows have a mix of both original and new sandstone cills. There is no door to this elevation. The base of the wall projects outwards along this elevation. The SW elevation is identical to the NE one in every respect. Windows: Timber sliding sash replacements Doors: Paneled timber replacement Rainwater goods: Cast-iron half round replacements Roof: Natural slate replacement


Historical Information

The government-appointed ‘Corporation for promoting and carrying on an Inland Navigation in Ireland’ was responsible for the construction of the Lagan Navigation between Belfast and Lisburn. Work commenced at the Belfast end in 1756 under the direction of the canal engineer Thomas Omer. The waterway opened in 1763. This lock house, associated with lock 8 on the system (as measured from the Belfast end), was probably built around 1760. Both it and its associated lock are shown on the 1834 OS six-inch map. The house ceased to function as a lock keeper’s house when the navigation was officially abandoned for commercial traffic in 1956. It fell into dereliction. It was restored by HEARTH in 1992 -93 and has been occupied since then. References – Primary sources 1. PRONI OS/6/3/8/1 First edition OS six-inch map, Co Down sheet 8 (1834). References - Secondary sources 1. Green, E.R.R. The Industrial Archaeology of Co Down, pp 70-75 (Belfast: HMSO, 1963). 2. McCutcheon, W.A. The Canals of the North of Ireland, pp 40-61 (Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1965). 3. Delany, R. Ireland’s Inland Waterways (Belfast: Appletree Press, 1986). 4. McCutcheon, W.A. The Industrial Archaeology of Northern Ireland (Belfast: HMSO, 1980). 5. Blair, M. Once Upon the Lagan (Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1981). 6. Information from current owner.

Criteria for Listing

Architectural Interest

A. Style B. Proportion C. Ornamentation J. Setting K. Group value

Historic Interest

V. Authorship W. Northern Ireland/International Interest Z. Rarity


This mid 18th century two-storey former lock house is to Thomas Omer's trademark design (also seen, from example, on the Grand Canal). Although of relatively simple design, it is made distinctive with its curved-headed recesses and use of sandstone in its dressings which contrast strikingly with the limewashed walls. It has been sympethetically restored using traditional materials and techniques. Set apart on a wooded hillock high above the Navigation, it nevertheless retains its group value with the other listed structures on the Lagan Navigation. It is one of three Omer lock houses to survive in Ulster (all are on the Lagan Navigation), and one of only two still inhabited (the other is at Drum Bridge). It thus has interest for its authorship and for its scarcity value as well as being of national interest in the context of Ireland's waterways.

General Comments

Listing criteria R Age; S - Authenticity and T - Historic Importannce also apply to this building

Date of Survey

13 August 2010