Bangor court house
Bangor Court House is an iconic Victorian listed building, in a prime location on Bangor seafront, that has been empty since March 2013 when it was decommissioned by the NI Courts and Tribunal Service. The building dates back to 1866, the year after the railway arrived in Bangor, when it was built as a branch of the Belfast Banking Company, with accommodation for the Bank Manager’s family. Over the last 150 years, the building has charted the town’s changing fortunes, and in recent years has become a stark symbol of Bangor’s economic and social decline.
As part of our ambition to support the regeneration of the town through arts and cultural activity, Open House Festival is in the process of acquiring the building via Community Asset Transfer. We plan to transform the building into a permanent home for the Festival, and a much-needed multi-purpose venue serving the town.
Short term, we expect to take possession of the building under a lease by January 2019. We plan to carry out urgent remedial works and start using the building as it is.
Medium term, we plan to restore the building to its former glory, creating two flexible performance spaces, plus office space for small creative businesses and potential for open air events in the rear yard. We anticipate the full restoration to be completed by March 2021.
Longer term, we will explore the possibility of developing into the rear yard, including building a major extension that will house a much larger multi-purpose venue.
To date we have raised a grand total of more than £110,000 towards the project. This includes funding from three organisations to develop our initial plan:
Heritage Lottery Fund (£28,000)
Architectural Heritage Fund (£13,750)
Ulster Garden Villages (£5,000)
We are still raising funds via our own crowdfunding campaign – the total of which, as of Nov 2018, is £36,104. This includes generous donations by local businesses as well as many individuals. Enormous thanks to you all for your support.
We are especially grateful to Barclays Bank who organised a charity ball in April 2018. This was supported by many local businesses and individuals and raised £32,700. And another big thank you goes to North Down Athletic Club who raised £1,000 in September 2018 through their annual Bangor 10k run, with every runner donating £1.
Donations large or small are gratefully received. If you would like to know more about our campaign before you make a donation, please feel free to contact Festival Director, Kieran Gilmore at email@example.com