MOVING HOUSE: lock, stock and barrel

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

MOVING HOUSE: lock, stock and barrel thumbnail

Plans are under way to dismantle and relocate one of the last original temporary houses built for workers at the Silent Valley water complex in the 1920s.
However for a Kilkeel man, the relocation of the listed building from the Head Road in Annalong to its new site at Silent Valley Park is an emotional one.
John Haugh's grandmother Mary Cunningham lived in the house, once part of Watertown, in its current location for half a decade before her passing in 2010.
Even now when he goes up to the Head Road and sees the iconic building, John can still imagine his grandmother standing at the door.
“I do have mixed emotions about it all," he said.
“When I am there and walking about I can always picture my granny standing at the back door of the house and when the house is longer be there, I will not be able to see that memory.
“However it will be lovely to see it being cared for and I think my grandmother would be happy too that it is being cared for and where it is going."
Watertown was a temporary town created at Silent Valley to house the workers during the construction of the Silent Valley Reservoir between 1923 and 1933.
John's grandparents, Tommy and Mary Cunningham, bought the house from someone who had purchased the 'trim bungalow' at an auction after the construction works at the Dam were complete.
“My mother recently found a receipt from when my grandfather bought it which had all the details," John said.
When he was first approached by the Mourne Heritage Trust (MHT) and informed that they wanted to dismantle, relocate and re-assemble the building as a key piece of local heritage, he thought it was a great idea.
“I think they tried to do something like this in the past but it didn't work out so this time they will be dismantling it and re-building it straight away.
The MHT, who are behind this, said that "due to the age and nature of the building it is no longer suitable as a residence and replacement dwelling planning permission has been granted and work has started".
The Trust wants the listed building to "become an interpretative exhibit to tell the story of the people who built the Silent Valley complex".
Despite some more recent modifications including two brick chimneys, dividing walls and an extension, the majority of the building is the original material and construct from 1923.
In the Trust's planning application, it states that "the site at Silent Valley was chosen because of the association with the workers' monument and because it will be accessible to all visitors to the park, making it easily linked to the interpretative centre and the various interpretative boards and exhibits around the valley trails".
The project is being undertaken by the Mourne Landscapes Partnership and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Consultations for the planning application are set to expire tomorrow (Wednesday) but it is hoped that this work will be carried out soon.


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