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Kelly’s Coal Office nearing completion

Press release   •   Oct 11, 2019 11:06 BST

Chair of THI Project Board Cllr Cheryl Johnston, Proprietor Mark Cobain, Castle Seaview Developments, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Cllr Maureen Morrow, Senior Investment Manager National Lottery Heritage Fund Angela Lavin.

The former site of Kelly’s coal office in Carrickfergus is returning to its former glory following extensive restoration and reconstruction works, which have been 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.

The THI is an ambitious regeneration scheme for the town’s Conservation Area, supported by £1.55million in funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and £0.55 million from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. This is the first building to have been awarded funding from Carrickfergus THI, with several further schemes under development.

The scaffolding has come down at Kelly’s revealing once again this well-known former coal office.

Located on the main marine highway opposite Carrickfergus Castle, the red brick building has been a local landmark for more than a century, but over time has fallen into a derelict state.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor 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 fromThe 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.”

Carrickfergus THI Project Board Chair, Cllr Cheryl Johnston said: “With the restoration nearing completion we can finally appreciate the positive impact of Kelly’s Coal Offices on the character and appearance of Carrickfergus Conservation Area, after many years of it lying vacant and in a poor state.

"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.”

Angela Lavin, Senior Investment Manager, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: “It is wonderful to see this well-known and much loved historic building restored to its former glory.

"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.”

The building dates back to 1910 and was the office for the coal and shipping enterprises of prominent businessman, Charles Legg.

The business was taken over in 1920 by John Kelly Ltd coal merchants and despite the office and coal yard closing decades ago, it is still affectionately known as Kelly’s.

Over the last year, the developer has undertaken a painstaking restoration and reconstruction of Kelly’s, working with heritage experts and funders and paying careful attention to restoring the building to its former character and appearance from its days as a thriving coal office.

Mark Cobain, a director of Castle Seaview Development Ltd, 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 of the Kelly’s building is expected to be completed by mid October 2019.

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

  • The National Lottery Heritage Fund Townscape Heritage programme supports communities improve the built historic environment of conservation areas in cities towns and villages across the UK. It supports partnerships of local, regional and national interests that aim to regenerate economically disadvantaged historic areas for the benefit of local residents, workers and visitors.
  • About The National Lottery Heritage Fund:
    Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk. Follow @HeritageFundNI on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund
  • For more information, on the Carrickfergus THI Programme contact Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s THI Project Manager Philippa Martin by telephone on 028 9335 8243, or email philippa.martin@midandeastantrim.gov.uk
  • For Mid and East Antrim Borough Council media enquiries, T: 028 2563 3522.
  • Press releases are available from our website www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/news
  • Join Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/MEA-Borough-Council/ and follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/mea_bc