Milford Buildings Preservation Trust is a registered charity which aims to promote, protect and preserve Milford House Co. Armagh and its gardens and parkland for the benefit of the nation, and the buildings or structures of particular beauty or of historical, environmental, architectural or constructional merit or interest in the Milford area of Co. Armagh and to restore, renovate and conserve the gardens and planned landscape and other open spaces and land associated with or related to such buildings and structures.

The trust
Stephen McManus Founding member of the Milford Buildings Preservation Trust

The Trust was established in 2000 by Stephen Mc Manus, who at the age of fifteen established a group called The Friends of Manor House to protect Milford House. In 2005 the Friends became the Milford Buildings Preservation Trust a registered charity (Charity reference: 101166) and company limited by guarantee (company No. NI054298). The Trust a member of the UK Association of Preservation Trusts, the Armagh Visitor Education Committee and the Northern Ireland Museums Council.

While Milford House may now be designated one of the top twelve listed buildings at most serious risk in Northern Ireland on the BHARNI Register (Built Heritage at Risk Northern Ireland), had it not been for the tireless work of the Trustees and members Milford House would most certainly have been lost. Thanks to the work of the Trust Milford House has gone from a house forgotten to being celebrated as one of the most important historic houses in Ireland and indeed in Europe. The Trust recognises the international importance of the achievements of the Mc Crum family and their legacy to the nation in terms of technological, industrial and sporting achievements. The Trust continues to promote the legacies of the Mc Crum family and the Manor House School.

It is due to the work of the Trust that trees in the grounds of Milford House and those at the Red House in Milford village (this plantation was formerly part of the Milford House estate) are now protected by a tree preservation order.

Milford Buildings Preservation Trust is the governing body of the Milford House Museum collections. After the controversial sale of Milford House in March 2002 by Armagh City and District Council, the Trust decided to establish The Milford House collection, to preserve the heritage of Milford House, its contents and artworks. Following the hugely successful four day exhibition in August 2005 in the Old School House, the collections were stored in Stephen’s bedroom while he slept on the sofa.

In 2007 the Trust under a caretaker’s agreement of the Milford House Gate Lodge. The Gate Lodge was restored by the Trust, thanks to the support of local businesses who supplied materials and the hard work and dedication of the Trustees. The Milford House Museum opened at the Milford House Gate Lodge in March 2008 by two of Robert Garmany Mc Crum’s great grandson’s the Rev. John William Mc Crum Miller and Captain Antony Mc Crum R.N (Retired). Over four and a half thousand visitors visited the Gate Lodge over the next two years. Sadly the Caretaker’s agreement ended in September 2009 and the Trust was heartbroken to have to leave the Gate Lodge. It is a testament to the restoration work and efforts of the Trust, that Northern Ireland Environment Agency declared the Milford House Gate Lodge a B1 listed building in October 2009. The Trust has also ensured the Tennis Pavilion at Milford House is made a B1 listed Building. Following recommendations from the Trust the walled gardens, back entrance gates and boat house are also being made listed buildings.

With the help of Invest Northern Ireland and a benefactor the Trust began restoration work on no.57 William Street one of the last mill houses built by the Mc Crum family in 1912 in November. The Milford House Museum opened at no.57 in April 16th 2011. In 2016 the Trust undertook a long term lease of 3 Victoria Street in the prestigious Mall Conservation Area of Armagh. A B1 listed building no.3 Victoria Street had been derelict for almost twenty years and had previously been an architect's Office. The Trust has undertaken full restoration and the collections from Milford House opened to the public there in 2017. Restoration work is ongoing.

If you would like to get involved with or would like more information on any aspect of the work of the Milford Buildings Preservation Trust please contact us.