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Thread: Mayfield House, Portlaw, County Waterford, Ireland, January 2020

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

    Default Mayfield House, Portlaw, County Waterford, Ireland, January 2020

    1. The History
    Mayfield House is in Portlaw, County Waterford, Ireland. It was built in the early 1740s. It became known as the family home of the Malcolmson’s, local Corn and Cotton Magnates. The story starts with Joseph Malcolmson (d. 1774), one of two sons of a Scottish Presbyterian linen weaver. He had no fewer than eleven children with his Quaker wife, Rachel. One of their sons, David, went on to be extremely successful and a career that saw him founding the family fortune via the corn, and later, cotton trade. David settled in Clonmel, County Tipperary where, from 1793, onwards he became involved in the corn milling industry. In 1825 he took out a 999-year lease on Mayfield house, along with a 16-acre plot of land adjacent to the house, from a local landlord. The small, fire-damaged cotton mill that stood on the land was demolished and redeveloped into a vast, six-storey cotton mill, along with a canal to utilise the power of the adjacent River Clodiagh. The new mill required many more workers and this demand for labour saw the village of Portlaw expand from around 400 residents circa 1825 to over 3,500 by 1841.

    In 1846 and 1847 tragedy struck the family when two of David's grandchildren fell ill and died, most likely from Scarlet Fever. This led to their father Joseph (the eldest of his three sons) hire architect William Tinsley to improve Mayfield House making it a mansion fit for the successful entrepreneurs. It was Tinsley who re-modelled the exterior of the house, giving it its distinctive Italianate style. This, however, did not satisfy Malcolmson. In 1857, he further improved the building through John Skipton Mulvany including a the single-storey-over-basement wings, conservatory to the south and the three-storey tower, all enhancing the apparent Italianate style that Tinsley gave the house. The building also has a Georgian feel to it, may be to keep an aspect of the original building alive. Post-Muvany's work, there have been no further adaptations to Mayfield House.

    Two pictures of the house in its prime back in 1900 - one external elevation and one interior picture of the dining room:

    Mayfield Old by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Mayfield Old 2 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    In the 1870s the factory was adapted for spinning until the early 1930s when it was again repurposed as a tannery under the ownership of the Irish Leathers Group. Mayfield House had been occupied by members of the de la Poer Beresford family (of Curraghmore) but became office premises for the Irish Leathers Group for the next half century. When the tannery closed in the 1985, Mayfield house was rendered surplus to requirement. A few years later a proposal was tabled to convert both factory and Mayfield house into a retirement home, but the scheme never took off. Hence for the last thirty years Mayfield has stood empty and slipped into its present state of dereliction. Almost nothing of the original mid-Victorian interiors remain bar fragments of plasterwork and rotting timbers although the exterior of the building still retains some resemblance to the archive photographs. The future thus looks bleak for this lovely Italianate style mansion.

    2. The Explore
    The very first explore of the New Year and decade. A morning urbex excursion while my family slept. I was a little bit limited, explore-wise, in Ireland as it was getting light relatively late (circa 8.40am) plus the weather was very overcast with heavy cloud cover. Having made the 50-or-so minute drive from where we were staying and parked up, it was a very easy in and peaceful explore. Just the sound of dog walkers and their dogs on the opposite side of the wall running around the site to serve as a distraction. Next to Mayfield House is the old corn mill/cotton mill/tannery that deserved a report in its own right. See previuosly HERE

    The house is well gone these days and has been reduced to a shell now. Not the most mind-blowing explore to open the new decade with but still worthy of half-an-hour of your time if you are in the area purely on the basis of its external aesthetics.

    3. The Pictures

    Front view:

    Mayfield 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Mayfield 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The best bit is the three-storey tower:

    Mayfield 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Mayfield 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Mayfield 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5108 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Although the conservatory to the south-east is also worth a few shots too:

    Mayfield 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Mayfield 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Mayfield 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Mayfield 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5100 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    View from the north-east elevation:

    Mayfield 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Inside it is just overgrown and empty:

    Mayfield 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5116 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img5119 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: Hugh Jorgan, loulou, Mearing, Rolfey, Tupilaq
  4. #2
    Join Date
    June 2014


    Another lovely old un there Hughie, I like the way the roof framework is still in place!
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
  6. #3
    Join Date
    January 2013
    People's Republic of South Yorkshire.


    Quote Originally Posted by BikinGlynn View Post
    Another lovely old un there Hughie, I like the way the roof framework is still in place!
    Cheers mate. A case of what could have been, as it always is!

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