Applications for the 2018 Heritage Angel Awards will open in the New Year
The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society is delighted to bring the Heritage Angel Awards to Northern Ireland for the first time to celebrate the efforts of local people, either individuals or groups, who have saved historic buildings and places. The Awards which have been running successfully for many years in England and Scotland are funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Department for Communities. Their introduction to Northern Ireland is welcomed by all in the local Heritage sector
Click on the + sign to expand the categories and view films on shortlisted candidates
This award recognises volunteers and professionals, individuals and groups who have rescued a historic building. This category includes buildings on the Listed Buildings Database. The building does not have to be listed, it could be part of a conservation area or a local building of significant interest. The age or type of building does not matter as long as it is historic. All sizes of rescue projects are eligible, as it is the action taken to rescue them that will be judged.
71 Main Street in Moira, County Down, is a Georgian townhouse. It is B listed and sits at a prominent location within the Moira Conservation Area. When Anthony and Eleanor acquired the building in 2013 it was a building at risk. They recognised that the building’s deteriorating condition was having an adverse effect on the village and the conservation area. Private owners with a track record of acquiring and saving historic buildings, the Damoglous had an eye for the heritage value of the building and its potential for re-use. Initial inspection revealed that it was in a terrible state of disrepair, having been neglected for many years. It was decided that extensive repair and restoration was required, and they believed the building had the potential to be restored into a family home. Many of the outside walls had serious cracks and it became apparent that none were suitably secure. Mending this required innovative repair. After the project was complete the builder admitted that on the third day of working he was worried that the whole building might collapse! The roof, ground floors and exterior walls have been repaired to modern insulation standards, traditional skills have been employed to repair or reinstate timber sash and case windows and other key features throughout. The result is a home fit for 21st century living within an impressive Georgian exterior and many other authentic features.
Sion Stables were built in 1884 at Sion Mills, the model linen village associated with the Herdman Brothers, owners of the local mill, where the finest Irish linen was produced from 1835 for a period of over 170 years. The Stables were designed by W.F. Unsworth. The village of Sion Mills is one of the first conservation areas designated in Northern Ireland, within which the stables command an important and central location. Hearth Revolving Fund is the longest established Building Preservation Trust in Northern Ireland. When they initially acquired Sion Mills Stables, the B listed, building at risk, was extremely derelict and had almost reached the point of no return. There was a lot of work to be done to bring the building back to its former glory and find it a sustainable new use. The work involved reconstruction of the belfry and much of the roof, while retaining and restoring some of the original features including the stable stalls. The project involved working with the local Sion Mills Building Preservation Trust, to whom the finished building has been leased which ensures local involvement and commitment. The Stables have now become a small museum for locals and tourists to enjoy, with an associated classroom to run education programmes and public meetings. The building also houses a successful restaurant – an enterprise that has provided jobs in an area noted for severe unemployment.
The ‘Dirty Onion’ is a former warehouse that traded everything from fish and tea to tinned soup, linen, whiskey and much more. It is B listed and is Belfast’s oldest intact timber-framed building, dating back to the late 17th Century. It sits within the Cathedral Quarter Conservation Area in Belfast, a location that has seen much progress in recent years by way of heritage-led regeneration. The warehouse had lain empty for a number of decades, as consecutive owners considered the balance between its creative reuse and the challenges associated with its protection and retention of important historic fabric. Bill Wolsey had a vision that would not only bring the building back into use, but give it a thriving social and commercial future. Bill has been responsible for restoring some of Belfast’s most important historic buildings, regenerating buildings at risk, bringing them back to life. The key objective of this project was to create one of the most beautiful and authentic bars in Ireland, with a strong association with Irish music, art and culture. The heritage value of the building was seen to be the perfect draw. The project involved removing unsympathetic additions to expose its original beams, treating the wood to protect it. Modern interventions were slotted in with minimal damage to the rear of the remaining historic structure. The building has now become a unique and popular bar and restaurant. Heritage-led regeneration projects, like the Dirty Onion, have changed the Cathedral Quarter area and contributed to its growth.
This award will recognise the contribution to heritage projects by young people up to the age of 25. The award can be for individuals or groups and can include students and/or young apprentices. Groups can include school children, projects from social clubs or local volunteer groups. The ‘contribution’ should be towards a heritage project or place (as above, this doesn’t have to be listed). Adults may enter an application on behalf of under 16s and where relevant both would be acknowledged.
Armagh is one of Northern Ireland’s finest heritage towns. The Church of Ireland cathedral sits on top of the hill overlooking the Market Square, The cathedral is surrounded by beautiful gardens, grounds and a host of listed historic buildings including the Robinson Library, Vicars Hill and others. It also is a designated Conservation Area. The AmmA centre recognised that understanding heritage of Armagh’s historic buildings is not always compatible with the digital lifestyles that young people lead today, so a decision was taken to solve this by recreating the area as part of a one week Minecraft challenge. The project consisted of an elaborate effort to recreate historic Armagh using a range of digital and Virtual Reality tools, notably the Minecraft platform. Minecraft is an ever-popular gaming platform played by millions of young people all over the world. Approximately forty young people volunteered to participate. The young people surveyed St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh through site visits and a range of digital tools. Once a scaled plan had been prepared, the students divided into teams and proceeded to construct the cathedral and town square in remarkable detail, block by block to 2:1 scale. An example of this detail -- through their own initiative the students included a grave for Brian Boru who is rumoured to be buried in the cathedral grounds. Although guided by the AmmA Centre staff, the young people lead large parts of the project themselves, exhibiting a level of expertise in Minecraft that was unmatched by any of the staff.
‘The Village’ area, Donegall Road, South Belfast, is a part of the city that is characterised by traditional, red brick buildings, particularly red brick terraces. It is an Area of Townscape Character. ‘The Village’ and other locations across Belfast have lost many valuable red brick terraces to redevelopment. This project aimed to connect ‘The Village’ and its people, with their red brick heritage and explore ways to harness the value of that heritage to regenerate the area. The project involved a group of young people together with a range of practitioners from architecture, archaeology, ceramics and digital arts background. Over a twelve week period participants in the project recorded and interpreted red brick terraces, factories and churches identified as deserving of greater attention. The group visited the Public Record Office (PRONI) to consult historic documents and to carry out research into the buildings being explored. The group investigated examples of restored terraces at McMaster Street, in the east of the city, to understand how retention of terraces and imaginative re-use of historic buildings can meet a wide range of dwelling needs and help retain distinctive local character. Participants got to grips with hands-on repair of damaged brickwork with repointing in lime at the listed Carnegie Library in North Belfast. They even formed and fired their own brick-inspired tiles for use in their community garden. Participants helped to make a short film documenting the project featuring maps, photographs, footage and interviews the project generated.
The Belfast Hills Partnership held a Community Archaeology Dig on Divis Mountain, Belfast, focusing on a stone enclosure originally thought to be an Early Christian Cashel. The dig was held over two weeks and involved approx. 400 school children, a public open day, public training days and a walk and talk event. No Early Christian remains were uncovered causing the archaeologists to rethink dating of the site. Neolithic remains and early Victorian artefacts were found by participants, indicating that the site is much older than anticipated, and had a period of more recent use. Tom Meharg, an Archaeology student, volunteered to work on the project and share his knowledge and experience with the participating groups. Tom played a key part in making the Belfast Hills Community Dig a success. The aim of the project was to bring the past to life through archaeology and creative engagement. Tom got stuck right in, ensuring all equipment was where it needed to be for the school children, leading workshops with school groups, providing radio interviews, undertaking a flint knapping exhibition for the general public, giving generously of his time with individual visitors who wanted to see finds uncovered from the site. Tom often had to be reminded that he needed to take a break, as he was so busy on site helping everyone else!
This award will recognise a volunteer, professional individual or apprentice who has demonstrated the application of craft skills that have been key in repairing or rescuing a historic site. For example, it could be someone who has carved stone gargoyles for a church or repaired a historic window. The craft can be from any discipline, for example, woodwork, masonry, metalwork or thatching.
Ballycopeland Windmill is an iconic monument and architectural feature in County Down. It is the last remaining windmill in Northern Ireland that has its original internal mechanism still intact, along with the complex of buildings associated with it, which includes the miller’s cottage, kiln, drying floor and kilnman’s house. The project involved completing specialist conservation works, therefore, required specialist craft workmanship in the fields of conservation, blacksmithing and joinery. The three craftsmen, Chris, George and Kieran, were responsible for a range of restoration tasks, including removing the sails and fantail and constructing the new sails to a historically accurate design. They also repaired the roller reefing system, making Ballycopeland Windmill the only remaining windmill in the world that still has this patented system in working order, raising the site to international significance. The project not only focused on conservation work but also combined public outreach and engagement. This was achieved by a series of conservation showcases and opening the tower to the public on specified days. The project has resulted in this monument being saved for generations to come, reinstating the correct historical aesthetic of the tower for the first time since the 1930s.
Victorian details have at times been removed from, or damaged, in traditional terraces, and other buildings, detrimentally affecting the quality and survival of important interiors. In a Victorian terrace, located on Belfast’s Fitzroy Avenue, a private owner had taken the initiative to reinstate important original plasterwork detailing. Bernard Cunningham, a skilled plasterer, was commissioned for its restoration. Bernard has dedicated work to traditional fibrous plastering over the past eighteen years. An example of this expertise, Bernard was commissioned to reproduce the original centrepiece in this Victorian property and, guided solely by surviving bedding pieces and a profile drawing, he successfully created a new and accurate replacement. This delicate reconstruction job was achieved by using bespoke moulds, created by Bernard, to remodel the majority of the feature. Further ornamentation was added to complete the project. The room was then fitted with a period style cornice to complete the look. Over the last 18 years, Bernard has built a positive reputation for himself in the field. Having gained formal qualifications in ‘Heritage Skills’, Bernard now teaches in a local college where he passes this knowledge in plaster-work on to others starting out in this important skills field.
Mount Stewart is a 19th-century house and garden in County Down. The house was built by the Marquees of Londonderry. The National Trust undertook an extensive conservation and restoration project at Mount Stewart that was completed in 2015. The main aim of the project at Mount Stewart was the safeguarding of one of the most significant buildings in the country and preserving it for the benefit of the whole nation forever. A key objective of the project was to maintain and develop traditional skills and craftsmanship, therefore, the employment of apprentice joiners was crucial in achieving that. Callum McCaffrey was the most able and worthy apprentice working on the project, carrying out repair work to the doors, architraves and windows. His efforts extended beyond the physical conservation work as he engaged with visitors at events to explain the work that was being carried out. Callum took on highly complex tasks. A key example was the replacement of the cast iron balustrade and railings to the gallery in the Central Hall, and restoration of the wooden balustrade. The balustrade contained a detailed and ornate wooden spindle and Callum’s passion for working with timber was evident when he volunteered to produce the prototype spindle, working from black and white photographs with minimal details he was able to turn out, on the workshop lathe, various spindle examples, one of which was selected by Lady Rose as that which represented most the original shape and profile. Under the supervision of the Senior Joiner, he quickly became proficient in timber repairs and by the end of the project his work was worthy of someone far in advance of his age. Callum’s work acted as integral part of the project and his engagement skills also helped to showcase the conservation work carried out at Mount Stewart.
This award recognises volunteers and professionals, individuals and groups who rescue, record or interpret any kind of historic place. This could be an archaeological site or scheduled monument. For example it could be group of local people identifying areas of improvement for their local conservation area, an individual who has restored a historic garden or a team who have helped research archaeological remains in a landscape.
Irish soldiers who would make it home from the trenches of World War One were promised ‘a piece of their motherland’ by Lord French as part of a recruitment drive in 1918. One of the most extraordinary resettlement schemes was on Cleenish Island. Eleven holdings, ranging between 26 and 42 acres and each with a stone-built farmhouse, were provided on the island to help men who had experienced the war at first hand settle back into civilian life. The island had no infrastructure and was only accessible by boat. Today, most of the stone houses lie abandoned decaying and at risk, amongst fields of grazing cattle. Bellanaleck Local History Group’s project allowed them to pursue their interest in uncovering Cleenish Island’s links with WWI. They focused on the story of eleven survivors of WWI who were settled there, piecing together accounts of their war experiences and the impact this had on their lives, adding to the challenge of making a financial success of holdings in such a remote location. The group have gathered valuable oral histories and discovered extensive archive material. Workshops were held to upskill the group including digital photography, genealogy and audio recording. A large community event was held which included a tour of the houses and culminated in the planting of a commemorative tree. An exhibition was mounted in the local hall to showcase their findings. An extensive pictorial record of the houses was created. A narrative film about the project was commissioned and screened. An interactive online Storymap of the project has been prepared in collaboration with CAF at Queens. A summation of the project has been achieved with the publication of a fully illustrated book entitled ‘Making it Home’.
The Newry canal is a scheduled ancient monument, and is the oldest still-water canal in the UK and Ireland. Opened in 1742, it provided a template for the many miles of canal soon to be built in England. Abandoned in 1949, it had fallen into increasing dereliction. Newry and Portadown Branch of Inland Waterways Association of Ireland had the ambition of seeing the whole canal re-opened. The branch has around 50 active members drawn from all the communities that border the canal. The volunteers share a passion for the canal and making its unique heritage more relevant and accessible to the 250,000 visitors that annually use the canal towpath. Although Northern Ireland does not have a working canal network, Newry has the unique distinction of possessing the oldest summit canal that is intact. In 2014, the group undertook a restoration pilot project to restore eleven lock gates and re-water 4 miles of canal. The aim of this project was to make the canal’s history more make the canal’s history more relevant and accessible to visitors who visit the towpath annually. Re-watering part of the canal offers visitors the opportunity to better understand how a canal works, as well as enhancing the whole area. This was a highly successful project, as the canal is now regularly used by canoeists throughout the summer months. To compliment the re-watering project, the group created a website and a ‘Towpath Tour’ guided walk app to allow visitors to engage with the area’s unique heritage. A disused visitor centre on the towpath has now been reopened at weekends and is staffed by volunteers to inform visitors about the canal, the project and the potential for future regeneration.
The Mills of Northern Ireland project consists of the development of an online resource which maps over 3,200 mills of various types across Northern Ireland. The website, www.millsofnorthernireland.com, has been developed solely by Sebastian Graham without any external funding, using a range of source materials available via the Public Records Office, N.I. and local historical records and maps. Following his employment as a National Trust guide in Wellbrook Beetling Mill, Sebastian developed an interest in combining modern information technology and historical records to improve recording and interpretation of mill sites and buildings. He recognised the desire from many local and overseas visitors to be able to access information on mills and local connections to history. This led him to develop a website to map mills and their history. Sebastian, has in his own time, also carried out extensive site visits to historic mills and industrial sites, and has interviewed many local people about their local significance and stories. The aims and objectives of the project changed and modified as it progressed. Initially it was intended to gather information about mills solely in the vicinity of Cookstown, however, it then grew to include a much wider geographical focus, across Northern Ireland. Sebastian has received regular requests to conduct talks and presentations on the subject. Until the development of this resource, much of the information about this topic was not readily available to the general public. Through this project many more people are able to access and learn from the online resource and explore an enriched, permanent record of mill heritage in Northern Ireland.
All 12 shortlisted projects from the four categories above will be open to this award voted for solely by the public.
The Angel Awards also run in England and Scotland. Andrew Lloyd Webber and a representative of each region’s judging panel will decide on an overall winner from the winning 12 (the category winners in each country). The 4 winning project teams from Scotland and Northern Ireland will be invited to attend the Historic England Angel Awards in London, on 20 November 2017, where the winner will be crowned.
To view examples of 2016 English and Scottish Award Winners, please click on the logos below.
Protecting architectural heritage is a vital part of cultural life. Architecture is the most vulnerable art form and one that I have been passionate about all my life. I’m delighted my Foundation can support the Heritage Angel Awards in Northern Ireland and shine a spotlight on those who have made a significant contribution towards protecting the country’s heritage. By raising awareness of the impact individuals can have, our aim is to inspire others to get involved and work together to save and protect Northern Ireland’s heritage for our future generations.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
The quest for the first ever Heritage Angels in Northern Ireland came to a conclusion on Tuesday 7 November with the presentation of six awards at the inaugural Heritage Angel Awards NI, which took place in the Grand Opera House, Belfast. Each of the winners will go forward to a high profile London ceremony for the opportunity to become overall winner.
Bill Wolsey - Project: The Dirty Onion – WINNER
Hearth Revolving Fund Project : Sion Mills Stables - highly commended
A and E Damoglou Project: 71 Main Street, Moira - highly commended
Tom Meharg – Project: Belfast Community Archaeology Dig – WINNER
Red Brick Belfast Project: Red Brick Belfast - highly commended
AmmA Centre Armagh Project: AmmA 2.0 - highly commended
Chris Balmer, George Irwin & Kieran Loughran – Project: Ballycopeland Mill Restoration – WINNER
Callum McCaffrey Project: Mount Stewart Restoration – highly commended
Bernard Cunningham Project: Ceiling Rose Restoration – highly commended
Bellanaleck Local History Project: The resettlement of eleven WWI ex-Group servicemen on Cleenish Island, Upper Lough Erne - WINNER
Inland Waterways Assoc Project: New Life for the Old Canal – highly commended
Sebastian Graham Project: Mills of Northern Ireland – highly commended
Sebastian Graham, Mills of Northern Ireland
Dr Fred Hamond, Industrial Archaeologist
The ceremony, hosted by Wendy Austin, Journalist and BBC Presenter was entertained by local artists including Brigid O’Neill; Duke Special; Anthony Toner and Gareth Dunlop with the Ulster Youth Orchestra who collaborated on Heritage in Song an initiative funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Material included bespoke compositions on the Floral Hall; the Grand Opera House, Bank of Ireland, North Street and Templemore Baths, Belfast. Further entertainment was provided by comedian Nuala McKeever and poet Ciaran Carson. Over 700 people were in attendance and guest presenters included the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Makesh Sharma; Primrose Wilson, President UAHS; Suzanne Wylie, CEO, Belfast City Council; Joe Mahon, Lesser Spotted Ulster Presenter; Paul Mullan, Head, Heritage Lottery Fund and William Crawley, Journalist and BBC Presenter. See ceremony highlights
The search for Northern Ireland’s first Heritage Angels is moving forward with the final Heritage Angel Awards shortlist revealed today. These annual awards aim to celebrate unsung angels of local heritage- individuals or groups, who have rescued an historic building or site, worked as craftsmen or apprentices, or recorded and interpreted a historic place.
The Angel Awards are not just about heritage, but the people that make heritage projects happen. Showcasing what is possible when people take interest in and get involved with the care and consideration of our heritage.
Comprising 12 projects across four different categories, the shortlist showcases a range of diverse heritage initiatives across Northern Ireland. The 2017 shortlist includes private owners; volunteers; community groups, commercial owners, apprentices, craftsmen and young people. All of whom have developed their interest in heritage, in different ways and applied their interest into quality schemes in Northern Ireland.
The overall winner in each of the categories will be named at the Northern Ireland Heritage Angel Awards ceremony on Tuesday 7th November at the Grand Opera House, Belfast. The event will also celebrate ‘Heritage in Song’, where local artists including Brigid O’Neill; Duke Special, Anthony Toner and Gareth Dunlop will perform bespoke material around the heritage theme. We will also be joined by Poet Ciaran Carson and Comedian Nuala McKeever. Tickets are free. All welcome. Book online at: www.uahs.org.uk/events
The Awards are funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation; the Department of Communities and the Heritage Lottery Fund. An overall UK winner from the three award schemes, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, will be selected and celebrated at the London ceremony on Monday 20th November.
Local artists to support first ever Heritage Awards for Northern Ireland
The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society is pleased to announce that it has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, Buildings of Belfast – Heritage in Song. The idea was conceived by local songwriter Brigid O’Neill who will work with the UAHS and other local songwriters including Duke Special, Anthony Toner, Steve McCartney and Gareth Dunlop to compose songs around the heritage theme to raise awareness of the threats and successes of some of Belfast’s most historic sites and buildings. The material will be performed by the artists at the Heritage Angel Awards NI Ceremony in the Grand Opera House on Tuesday 7 November 2017.
The Heritage Angel Awards is an exciting new project for Northern Ireland, launched in June 2017. These annual awards aim to celebrate unsung angels of local heritage and are funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Department for Communities. We are looking for individuals and groups who have rescued an historic building, completed heritage projects, worked as craftsmen or apprentices, or perhaps recorded and interpreted a historic place.
Applications close on Tuesday 15th August
From 26th July 2017 the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society has been out across Northern Ireland hosting public workshops to help local people discover all about the Heritage Angel Awards Northern Ireland. These workshops will help to explain the award categories and give advice on how you can nominate a person, group or heritage project in your area for an award. By joining us you can learn how a person or project can gain recognition for their tremendous efforts in preserving, protecting and understanding our heritage.
Join us in:
Cookstown, Banbridge, Antrim, Derry~Londonderry and Enniskillen:
The Inaugural Launch of the Heritage Angel Awards NI took place on 20 June in Riddel’s Warehouse, Belfast. Dr David Johnston, Chair, UHAS welcomed attendees and expressed his thanks to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Department of Communities for their support in bringing the Heritage Angel Awards to Northern Ireland, and added that the Awards present an excellent opportunity to highlight the many successful heritage projects throughout Northern Ireland and to also promote interest and learning to a new audience. Iain Greenway, Director, Historic Environment Division, Department of Communities, stated that the Department is delighted to be associated with and to support the Awards which will help stimulate action in raising awareness of how our heritage can bring benefits now and into the future.
UAHS is a charitable, membership organisation founded in 1967. It exists to promote appreciation, preservation and conservation of architecture across the nine counties of Ulster. For nearly 50 years the UAHS has established itself as a fearless campaigner for buildings of merit, a generous resource of information on local architecture, and a fair and helpful source of advice. Its main activities include campaigning and lobbying, support and advice, publications and events.UAHS