Queen’s University, Belfast Marine Laboratory
This neoclassical building was built in about 1815. Portaferry was a busy coastal port, with local trade in small ships carrying potatoes, wheat and barley, but cargoes also went to Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow and Liverpool. Sailing ships left from here to take passengers on the six-week-long journey to North America.
The 1799 O’Hare map shows this area as “the old garden”. Then the Bank House was built, along with other large houses along the Shore. In 1865 the Belfast Bank took over the building and it stayed open as a bank until 1936. During the Second World War this building was used by the RAF as an Air Sea Rescue & Observation base. The Officers’ Mess was up a ladder into the loft of the old stables behind Barholm, next door. In December 1945, Queen’s University, Belfast bought the building and established a marine research laboratory here, and it continues as a research institute within the University. Queen’s University Marine Lab now has an international reputation for excellence in marine science, including marine biology and coastal engineering.
The building is described as a fine five bay, three-storey and basement house with a Doric porch with radial fanlight. It also has neoclassical features such as sash windows and pilasters highlighting the main entrance.