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Wilmont House (also known as Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park)

Introduction

Wilmont House is a house of 1859 in a demesne established in 1740. Since 1959 the demesne has been subdivided, part being given to Belfast City Council for public recreation as the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park. The house overlooks undulating lawns and groups of ornamental trees on the bank of the River Lagan. There is a lodge, a stable block, an ice house and a yew walk. The kitchen garden has been redesigned as an ornamental layout. A large part of the park is now devoted to the display of roses as an international trial ground. Camellias are also trialled here. There is a Japanese garden. Another part of the former demesne is in use as a golf course.

Visitor Facilities

http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/parksandopenspaces/parksdetails.asp?id=21

The focal point of the park is the house of 1859.

Much of the estate is cultivated as hay meadow, with woodland groves alongside the River Lagan.

The very extensive rose trial grounds are near the house, set out in concentric beds framed with trelliswork pavilions.

The former kitchen garden is now planted as an ornamental garden. A collection of Camellia is cultivated inside and outside this garden.

There is a Japanese garden.

Estate buildings include the lodge, the stable block and an ice house.

There are recreational facilities including a children's playground.

A separate part of the former demesne is now in use as a golf course.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/parksandopenspaces/closingtimes.asp

Directions

On the southern outskirts of Belfast on the B103.

Owners

Belfast City Council

http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk
History

The original house and demesne were established in 1740.

The present house was built in 1859 to the design of Thomas Jackson for James Bristow, a director of the Northern Banking Company.

In 1897 the estate was sold to Robert Reade.

In 1913 the estate was bought by Sir Thomas Dixon, a prominent politician.

In 1959 Lady Dixon, Sir Thomas's widow, gave the estate to Belfast City Council, who opened it for public recreation as the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.

In 1964 the International Rose Trial grounds were established in the park. This major feature was remodelled in 1987 and subsequently. Among the many cultivars are those introduced by the local McGredy and Dickson nurseries.

In 1981 a collection of Camellias was established, again for trialling purposes.

In 1991 a Japanese garden was laid out.

The former kitchen garden has been redesigned with an ornamental layout.

A golf course has been established in a separate part of the original demesne.

Period

18th Century

Associated People
Features & Designations

Designations

  • Environment and Heritage Service of Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Inventory

  • Reference: An 068

Features

  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: The former kitchen is now planted with a range of ornamentals.
  • Icehouse
  • Gate Lodge
  • Rose Garden
  • Description: The International Rose Trial grounds were established in 1964, and have been remodelled twice since. They include over 20,000 bush and shrub roses. Rose Week is celebrated each year in July since 1975.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The first house was built in 1740 for the Stewart family. The present house was built in 1859 for the banker James Bristow to the design of the architect Thomas Jackson.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information

Type

Landscape Park

Purpose

Public Park

Principal Building

House

Period

18th Century

Survival

Extant

Hectares

53

Open to the public

Yes

References