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The Old Market House

Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland

Kilcooley Womens Centre

Old Market House to provide new home for social enterprise, creating a welcome community space

Grade B1

Built in 1780 as the Market House for the seaside town of Bangor, this centrally located building became the Court House and Assembly Rooms in the 1820s, and was altered in 1895 to form a National School. It subsequently became the Town Hall in 1933 and was opened by Viscount Craigavon, Prime Minister for Northern Ireland. The building was then converted into a public bank, which closed in May 2019, and is, therefore, in relatively good condition. However, most of its historic interior has been lost. A low, single-storey tower behind the parapet, topped by a cupola was also removed. The Market House has significance for the community, given its tangible links with the earliest development of the town, and it is important to local people that this historic asset remains publicly accessible.   

Kilcooley Women’s Centre is an award-winning social enterprise, which provides key services for women, children and families in the Ards and North Down area. The Centre focuses on training, education, health and well-being, and provides transformational change programmes that enable participants to improve their life chances through better outcomes. It plans to sensitively restore the building, including reinstating its historic roofline with cupola. It will use the space as its core base, as well as accommodate new uses, including office space, co-working spaces, training and meeting rooms, and a large, flexible foyer for community events.

The project has benefitted from a Project Viability Grant and a Project Development Grant to help form the business case, devise architectural plans and fund a staff member who will coordinate the project. A £250,000 loan was approved from the Heritage Impact Fund to help the group to acquire the building now that it has secured planning permission – a condition of sale.

AHF Funding

Project Viability Grant - £5,000 (2019)

Project Development Grant - £8,000 (2021)

Heritage Impact Fund Loan - £250,000 (2021)

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