Milford House Museum

 

About Milford House

Milford House is an architectural and technological wonder. The former seat of the Mc Crum family one of Ireland’s premier linen manufacturing dynasties, the proprietors of the world famous firm of Mc Crum, Watson & Mercer Ltd. They created the model village of Milford. The house was later home to the Manor House School.

Milford House is famous as the most technologically advanced house in nineteenth century Ireland – the first in Ireland to be lit hydroelectricity. The house is world famous as the birthplace and home of William Mc Crum (1865-1932) who invented the penalty kick rule in football in Milford village in 1890!

The creation of Robert Garmany Mc Crum (1827-1915), self made industrialist, engineer, and benefactor. It sums up the characteristics of one of Ireland’s greatest genius and mightiest industrialists who revolutionized the world of linen manufacturing. The house sums up his power, vigor, boldness and originality. It is not a house to wonder at but to enjoy. An extraordinary family home that symbolizes the temperament of R.G Mc Crum, his career and the greatest achievements of the Victorian age.

It was built between 1864 and 1915 and was undoubtedly designed by R. G Mc Crum. He continued improving the house throughout is life. As with business his determination never wavered despite his age.

On his death in 1915 the house was valued at £3,250 and the contents were worth £2,500. The house passed to his son William. Following the Wall Street crash of 1929, the decline in the linen industry combined with his gambling debts there was a seven day auction during which the contents were dispersed. William left Milford and upon death in 1932 the property passed to his sister Mrs. Harriette Miller of Drumsill House.

In 1936 the house was leased to the Manor House School and became a Country House residential school for girls. In 1940 with great reluctance and having been persuaded by her sons Mrs. Miller sold Milford House and forty acres of the estate and parkland to the Manor House School for £3,000- a sum which Mrs. Wilson the founder of the school considered a lot of money at that time. The house remained a school for twenty nine years until it closed in December 1965.

In 1966 the Manor House School sold the house and forty acres of estate and parkland to the Northern Ireland Hospital Authorities for £22,500 and an additional £3,000 for furnishings. It then became the Manor House Special Care Hospital. The hospital closed in 1988.

In 1996 property was acquired by Armagh City and District Council for £250,000. In 2000 the Friends of Manor House was established by Stephen Mc Manus when he was fifteen years old to work with Armagh Council to secure the future of Milford House. The property was sold to the current owners in March 2002. Both Milford House and its fountain (which was stolen in 1996) have been on the BHARNI (Built Heritage at Risk Register Northern Ireland) Register since 1999. The house is listed under the title of its last use Manor House. The house is enduring ongoing horrific vandalism and theft and it is now rapidly deteriorating at an alarming rate.

In November 2010 the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society declared Milford House as one of the top twelve listed buildings at most serious risk in Northern Ireland; as part of the ‘Dirty Dozen historic buildings at most serious risk in Ulster. The Milford Buildings Preservation Trust continues to work tirelessly to try and protect Milford House, its parkland and gardens for the benefit of the nation.