Facebook group hopes to save Cairndhu House

A CAMPAIGN aimed at salvaging a historic and badly rundown Larne mansion has been launched online.

The once-grand and regal Cairndhu House, hidden at the end of a long and winding lane just off the picturesque Coast Road, has lain derelict for a number of years and has fallen into a state of extreme disrepair.

And now, a group of local people have set out to highlight the decay of the building in the hope that it can be brought back from the brink.

‘Save Cairndhu House’, which was established as a Facebook group in November, has gathered a wealth of photographic evidence showcasing the former grandeur of the property, which was built as a summer home in 1875 and 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.

Lord Rana purchased the property in 1995 and surrounding gardens from Larne Borough Council. Before the property crash the building had been acquired by a north-west developer, but the current ownership is unclear.

Now, 138 years after it was built, the house is a mere echo of its former glory; broken, dilapidated and abandoned to the elements.

‘Save Cairndhu House’ has acquired number of recent photos of the property which show how badly it has decayed. Feature fireplaces, an ornate staircase and other fittings have been either stolen or subjected to the ravages of the weather and today little more than the shell of the mansion and stable blocks remains.

The Facebook group has received almost 600 ‘likes’, and those behind the campaign said: “This page has been set up in the hope that Cairndhu House can be saved before it is razed to the ground.

“With the current state of the building, it is only a matter of time before it falls down of its own accord, is totally destroyed by fire or is pulled down on the grounds of health and safety.

“In its day, Cairndhu House was one of the grandest buildings in the borough. Not only that but the rich and diverse history of the house is an epic story all on its own.

“If we get enough people on board and make enough noise, then just maybe somebody will sit up and listen.”

Anyone interested in joining this campaign should visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Cairndhu-House/484661724900710