THE battle to save a derelict and dilapidated Larne mansion has been kicked up a notch.
Cairndhu House, a once-grand and regal building located just off the picturesque Coast Road, has lain abandoned for a number of years and has fallen into a state of extreme disrepair.
But a group of local people are on a mission to salvage the decaying building and preserve what is left of its former magnificence.
The campaigners, who call themselves ‘Save Cairndhu House’, are utilising the social networking site Facebook to highlight the rapidly deteriorating state of the building. Built almost 140 years ago as a summer house, the property is now nothing more than a broken shell that has been abandoned to the elements. Feature fireplaces, an ornate staircase and other fittings have been either stolen or subjected to the ravages of the weather.
But ‘Save Cairndhu House’ has amassed an impressive wealth of photographic evidence showcasing the grandeur of the property in its heyday, as well as more recent photos which demonstrate how badly it has decayed.
The Facebook site, which was established in November, has received over 800 ‘likes’. And in a bid to capitalise on the site’s growing popularity, the campaigners have now shifted into high gear by drawing up a petition.
One of the masterminds behind the campaign, Stephen Cameron told the Times: “The signatures have been rolling in and we have about 30-40 from the local business community already. We are trying to get the spread the message as far as possible and will be doing dropping flyers through doors in the town and further afield in the coming weeks.
“Once we have gathered up enough support, we will present the petition to the Environment Minister in the hopes that something can be done to save Cairndhu House.
“It’s an absolute travesty that the building was allowed to get into this state. Through negligence and greed, the townsfolk and the wider community have nearly lost everything that the house and grounds had to offer us. Shame on all those that let this happen but hopefully we are not too late and we can pull the house back from the brink.”
Cairndhu House was purchased by Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon in 1918. The magnificent building was their home for almost 30 years, apart from a brief spell when it was used as a war hospital supply depot at the outbreak of the Second World War.
In 1947, the Dixon family donated the house and 162 acres of land to the NI Hospitals Authority. It was officially opened as a convalescent hospital in 1950, but in 1986 it was closed down by the Department of Health and Social Services.
The Times understands that the building is currently in the hands of a bank.
Anyone interested in joining this campaign should visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Cairndhu-House/484661724900710