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Thread: Crumlin Road Courts, Belfast, Northern Ireland, December 2018

  1. #1
    Join Date
    January 2013
    People's Republic of South Yorkshire.

    Default Crumlin Road Courts, Belfast, Northern Ireland, December 2018

    1. The History
    The Crumlin Road Courthouse was designed by the architect (and one-time Lord Mayor of Belfast) Charles Lanyon and completed in 1850, at a cost of £16,500. It was built in the Neo-Palladian classical style. The courthouse underwent significant alterations and additions by Young and Mackenzie in 1905
    Courthouse back in its heyday:

    Crum Courthouse 2 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    It is situated just across the road from the Crumlin Road Gaol and is linked to by an underground passage. Thousands of republicans and loyalists were tried in the courthouse during the Troubles. Among them is Mr Ervine, now P.U.P. leader and a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. He was convicted in his early 20s, when he was stopped by the security forces in a car containing a bomb. He was released from jail in 1980.

    Sinn Fein’s Martin Meehan has had five High Court trials there. In December 1971, he escaped from the jail after spending six and a half hours down a manhole covered in butter to keep out the cold. In the early 1980s, the courthouse was the scene of a number of infamous supergrass trials, many of which collapsed amid concerns about the credibility of the evidence. And in one 1983 case, 22 IRA suspects were jailed for a total of 4,000 years. Other trials, involving some of Northern Ireland's most horrific cases, including the Shankill Butchers' trial

    The courthouse closed in June 1998, after 150 years of continual usage. It was sold to local investor Barry Gilligan in September 2003 for £1. His plans for the courthouse included redeveloping it as a tourist attraction and a hotel but these plans never progressed. Planning permission was previously granted in 2004 to convert it into offices, and then in 2007 to a 161-bedroom hotel.

    On 12th March 2009, the courthouse suffered significant damage in a fire and a series of further fires in August 2009 caused further massive damage to the structure, prompting questions into the cause and leaving the future of the building in question.

    The courthouse is one of Northern Ireland's best-known listed buildings and has been derelict for 17 years and is in a state of serious disrepair. In March 2017, Lawrence Kenwright, from the Signature Living Group, bought the site and announced plans to develop the listed building into a 60-bedroom hotel, and committed himself to spending £25m on the dilapidated courthouse.

    2. The Explore
    Well – not a ‘real’ explore to be honest. Just a walk round the perimeter. Was gagging to go inside but just wasn’t practice in the middle of the day. If it didn’t have such a fantastic façade I wouldn’t have bothered doing a report.

    3. The Pictures

    img0201 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0195 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0194 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0193 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Looks like the scales of justice are long gone!

    img0192 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0191 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0189 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0186 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0181 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0180 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0179 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0177 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0176 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0173 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0172 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0170 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0203bwleo by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And a couple of the tunnels that go under the Crumlin Road linking prison with courthouse. There are now part of the Gaol which is a tourist attraction:

    img0211 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img0212 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: ajarb, ginger5092, Hugh Jorgan, Ipcre55, Mearing, noiseboy72, old git, paul.richards.up, Sabtr, smiler, The Wombat
  4. #2
    Join Date
    April 2008


    Ah the mysterious fires of corruption..
    I've seen heaps of stuff up in the North East burn to the ground when planning was being 'sought'..

    Being a more mature gentleman here I remember those buildings well. To say they were grim times would be an understatement.
    Trying v hard to avoid political arguments but I will say the whole thing stunk to high heaven. Then stir in some random CIA messing and you got what I remember.

    It's a stunning old building that and built, no doubt,the way it was to be imposing and place fear into people. It made those carrying out the law appear untouchable, wealthy and to come from a civilised world - we all know how underhand and corrupt that world actually is.. (see - can't help my political feelings!)

    For me that's a chalk and cheese building. Sure it's pretty and sure it's important too. But, do we demolish a reminder of those bad times or do we renew it and accept that even the 'good guys' were bad?

    Nice report that. I can see the teasing from some of those pics - seeing inside and at damaged roof parts. I bet there are lots of original things left in there..

  5. Thanks given by: etc100, Mearing
  6. #3
    Join Date
    February 2015
    Aberdeen, Scotland


    I too remember some of those cases which were tried here. The building still has nice features. A pity you couldn't get inside but there is another day.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

  7. #4
    Join Date
    June 2014


    Some ;lovely architecture there, I cant believe u didn't sneak in. still worthy of a good report though!
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  8. #5
    Join Date
    March 2013


    yet again, I'm surprised a place like this is in this state.
    What a facade
    Thanks for sharing Hughie
    Black cat exploring company
    & LSD - Leicester Super Derpers

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