Milford House Gate Lodge acquisition to house museum collection and enhance visitor experience wins Heritage Lottery Fund Support!!

The Milford Buildings Preservation Trust has received a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project, to secure the future of Milford House collections through the purchase of the Milford House Gate Lodge, in Milford village near Armagh City. The new project will allow the museum’s collection which is owned by the Milford Buildings Preservation Trust to be more fully opened up; a number of artefacts will be restored and several new items purchased to add to, and enhance the current offering. The funding will enable the team to conduct an enhanced programme of outreach and educational work. New literature will be produced and the website updated to promote the collections, conservation works and facilities at the Museum. The local community will be invited to get involved in the project, with volunteers recruited and trained to act as tour guides and visitor assistants.

Milford House Gate Lodge, which is currently for sale and which Milford Buildings Preservation Trust have been awarded grant funding from Heritage Lottery Fund to purchase

Providing a beautiful entrance to Milford House, the gothic style gate lodge and entrance screens are B1 listed buildings. Built c.1880 the buildings are nationally importance for both their architecture and associated history. Milford House was the seat of the extraordinary Mc Crum family, proprietors of the famous linen manufacturing firm of Mc Crum, Watson & Mercer Ltd, who built the model village of Milford. The house was the creation of Robert Garmany Mc Crum and was architecturally unique, being one of the earliest houses in Ireland to be built of mass concrete and one of the only houses in Europe to have plasterwork by Rudolph Steiner. It was also famous as the most technologically advanced house in 19th century Ireland- the first private residence in Ireland to have hydroelectricity. The avenue at the gate lodge was the first in Ireland to be lit with electricity and people came from miles around to see the phenomenon. In truly decant style Milford House even had a proper waterfall in the Dining room!

Today it is world famous as the birthplace and home of William Mc Crum who invented the penalty kick rule in football in Milford village in 1890. From 1936 to 1965 it was home to the Manor House School and later the Manor House Special Care Hospital. Today Milford House is derelict and is one of the top twelve buildings on the NI Buildings at Risk register. The Trust undertook a caretaker’s agreement of the Milford House gate lodge from 2007 to 2009 and used the building to display the Milford House collections. The building repair work undertaken during this time was supported by past pupils of the Manor House School and local businesses. The gate lodge has recently come up for sale on the open market and the Trust are keen to relocate their collections back to its former home.

The Milford House collections are comprised of the remaining Mc Crum and Miller family possessions, costumes, documents and furnishing from Milford House and Manor House School collections gifted to the Trust. One of the star items for visitors is the wedding dress of Harriette Mc Crum (worn on the occasion of her marriage to Rev. David Miller in Armagh in 1898) and this will be one of the items conserved and re-presented using the Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The collections also include the furniture from Somerset House London, gifted to the Trust by HMRC in 2012.

Commenting on the award a spokesperson for the Trust said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will ensure local and wider public to have pride in and access to the Milford House heritage. This is a unique opportunity to purchase the Milford House Gate Lodge and continue restoration will be revolutionary in allowing visitors to interpret the collections in the context of the historic house estate from which they came. The Gate Lodge means a lot to the local community, the people of Northern Ireland and throughout the world who have strong association with Milford. The Trust is currently the highest bidder and is negotiating on purchase of the Gate Lodge property”.

Paul Mullan, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund NI added their support “We were pleased to support this project to help Milford House Museum take the next step to secure their long term future. Our grant will not only contribute to the planned purchase of new premises but will also help the Trust carry out essential restoration work on their collection and improve their education, learning and volunteering work. We wish them every success as they move forward with their new project”

Notes to Editors

Milford Buildings Preservation Trust is a registered charity established in 2005 to protect, promote, preserve and restore Milford House (sometimes referred to as Manor House), its gardens and parkland and the built and natural heritage of Milford village for the benefit of the nation. It works with the community and local and national government to raise awareness of the plight of Milford’s architectural heritage.

It is currently a provisionally accredited museum.

Milford Buildings Preservation Trust contact details: 48 Hill Street Milford Co. Armagh BT60 3PB. Telephone: 02837525467 / 07854784256

Email: website:

Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.

Since 1994 the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £173million to over 1,000 projects across Northern Ireland.