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

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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
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:

49356332166_f9fc8a9142_z.jpg Mayfield Old by HughieDW, on Flickr

49356529892_9dd16839ea_z.jpg 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:

49354668653_e67421ec89_b.jpg Mayfield 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49355333987_3d319bceb8_b.jpg Mayfield 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The best bit is the three-storey tower:

49354667378_fdfcd83458_b.jpg Mayfield 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49355118741_cba689f4ff_b.jpg Mayfield 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49355118906_4f09796a7c_b.jpg Mayfield 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49353555632_09cfafdf2f_b.jpg img5108 by HughieDW, on Flickr

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

49354668793_5fcd9326b4_b.jpg Mayfield 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49355332912_70fd5c323a_b.jpg Mayfield 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49355119326_981a7cfa7f_b.jpg Mayfield 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49354668498_26f50d3591_b.jpg Mayfield 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49352894098_726c429373_b.jpg img5100 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View from the north-east elevation:

49355118076_5bd2a8016b_b.jpg Mayfield 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside it is just overgrown and empty:

49355118376_55c3f5157f_b.jpg Mayfield 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49352885968_2effc141a8_b.jpg img5116 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49352884298_049bd5d567_b.jpg img5119 by HughieDW, on Flickr


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Another lovely old un there Hughie, I like the way the roof framework is still in place!

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