Restoration of former Kelly’s coal building in Carrickfergus nearing completion

Cllr Cheryl Johnston, chair of THI Project Board; proprietor Mark Cobain, Castle Seaview Developments; the Mayor, Cllr Maureen Morrow and  Angela Lavin, senior investment manager, National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Cllr Cheryl Johnston, chair of THI Project Board; proprietor Mark Cobain, Castle Seaview Developments; the Mayor, Cllr Maureen Morrow and Angela Lavin, senior investment manager, National Lottery Heritage Fund.
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The site of the old Kelly’s coal office in Carrickfergus is returning to its former glory after extensive restoration and reconstruction works.

The project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Mid and Antrim Borough Council, through Carrickfergus Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), in partnership with Castle Seaview Developments Ltd.

THI is supported by £1.55 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and £0.55 million from council.

The red brick building on Marine Highway, opposite Carrickfergus Castle, has been a landmark for more than a century, but over time has fallen into a derelict state.

The Mayor,Cllr Maureen Morrow, said: “I am delighted to see the works at Kelly’s Coal office nearing completion and we are very grateful for the funding received from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Very soon we will be able to see the building restored to its former glory.

“With such a prominent place in the town the work will allow future generations to enjoy it to its full potential.”

Cllr Cheryl Johnston, Carrickfergus THI Project Board chair, said: “We are looking forward to seeing the finishing touches in the restoration of this historic building over the coming weeks, especially as this the first THI scheme to have been awarded funds through the Townscape Heritage Initiative.”

Dating back to 1910, the building was for the coal and shipping enterprises of businessman Charles Legg. It was taken over in 1920 by John Kelly Ltd coal merchants and despite the office and yard closing decades ago, it is still known as Kelly’s.

Angela Lavin, senior investment manager, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “The restoration of Kelly’s improves the appearance of Carrickfergus’ streetscape and adds so much to the character of the town.

“We are delighted to support this project, the first to be completed through the THI scheme, and congratulate everyone involved in its success.”

Over the last year, the developer has been working with heritage experts and funders and paying careful attention to restoring the building to its former character and appearance.

Mark Cobain, a director of Castle Seaview Development, said: “We are delighted to see the project nearing its completion. Without the THI funding we could never have tackled the scale and quality of works needed to allow us to carry out a full restoration of the building.

“We are looking forward to completing the scheme in the near future and securing its future use.”

The refurbishment is expected to be completed by mid October.

The THI scheme remains open for expressions of interest for future heritage-led restoration schemes from eligible properties”. For more information, go to www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk or email CarrickfergusTHI@midandeastantrim.gov.uk