The Plight Of The Big House In Northern Ireland

J.A.K. Dean

Regular price €30.00

Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 2021
Paperback, 154 pages

The ‘Big House’ is a truly evocative entity. With the recent extraordinary rescue of Ormiston House in East Belfast, for example, such buildings are once again capturing the public imagination, yet in Northern Ireland the ‘Big House’ is still an endangered species. This captivating and attractive new illustrated book – which is a fascinating read in itself but which also functions as a useful ‘field guide’ – features not only ‘Big Houses’ now sadly lost to us but also noteworthy survivors, and focuses on the contemporary plight of those still at risk in a highly timely way.  While the ‘Big House’ term usually refers to country houses of the landed aristocracy and gentry in this publication it is extended to include the grander Anglican rectories and aspiring suburban villas of the merchant class, set in pocket estates, which will broaden its appeal and reference value.

Each entry in the compilation combines concise research and field notes which are referenced and related to a bibliography while pictures and photographs have been sourced for nearly every entry. The author, J.A.K. Dean, is a retired architect and is the author of the acclaimed The gate lodges of Ulster (1994), The gate lodges of Leinster (2016), The gate lodges of Munster (2018) and The gate lodges of Connaught (2019) for which the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain awarded him the prestigious  Colvin Prize.

Dean’s motivation for assembling this record of Big Houses in Northern Ireland results from  his abiding fascination for the enduringly picturesque image of the Big House and its setting – tempered with a melancholy concern about grievous losses – but also because of his desire to fill a gap left by equivalent publications in the UK and Ireland. Ulster Architectural Heritage, with its mission to promote the huge value of our built heritage and its unparalleled reputation for publishing distinguished Ulster architectural historical books, is proud to present this informative volume.