|Now part of a courtyard
Rose Cottage was built about 1862 as a cottage ornée in what was
then very much open country on the southern outskirts of the town of
Belfast. It was built for John Coyle of the Cromac Grocery and Spirit
Store, on the line of one of the avenues or 'passes' through the Earl
of Donegall's estates. As Belfast expanded, the cottage was rapidly
surrounded by terraces of red-brick artisan dwellings, and its address
became Coyle's Place. Internally, it retained its spacious rooms and
ornate plasterwork, but to the casual passer-by it had been thoroughly
absorbed into its surroundings.
In the late 1970s, the N I Housing Executive identified the Donegall Pass environs as a redevelopment area, and many streets were vested for clearance, including Coyle's Place. Local feeling about the cottage however was strong, and following representations by the local Residents' Association and the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, Rose Cottage was listed, and Hearth offered to take on the restoration of the building. The Executive cooperated by redesigning their courtyard which was replacing Coyle's Place and Walnut Street to incorporate the cottage, and the restoration was carried out in six months.
Disentangling the cottage from the buildings erected against it necessitated extensive reconstruction of the gable walls, while the back wall had been constructed of very soft brick that had to be replaced completely, but brick salvaged from nearby demolition was used for this and the original elevation has been replicated. An old entrance at the back, possibly built to house a pony and trap, was converted to a store, but internally the plan was unchanged and work consisted of restoring the damage caused by time and neglect. Vandals had stolen many of the slates from the roof and where possible removable items like balustrading were taken into store before work started, but much of the plasterwork had to be restored in the course of the work.
Client: Hearth Housing Association
Main Contractor: A M Cole, Carrickfergus
Funded by Housing Association Grant
Accommodation: Four-bedroom house
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