Henry Coates Harp Hotel

Historic Building Details 
Photos 2005
HB Ref No: 
Extent of Listing: 
Not listed 
Date of Construction: 
1840 - 1859 
Address : 
The Slip Inn 1 The Strand Portaferry Co Down BT22 1PE 
Date of Listing: 
Date of De-listing: 

Current Use: 
Public House 
Former Use 
Public House
Conservation Area: 
Industrial Archaeology: 
OS Map No: 
IG Ref: 
J5935 5074 
Owner Category
Exterior Description And Setting

Relatively plain, two storey, 'corner" public house of perhaps c.1840s, set at the junction of The Strand and Ferry Street. It has concrete roof tiles and modern window frames. Front (S) facade is asymmetrical. To the ground floor is the off centre entrance with timber panel door and plain fanlight all encased with panelled fluted pilasters, plain entablature and dentilled cornice. Two pane timber window with top hung upper opener with moulded fluted surround with plinths and keystone to left of the entrance. Three pane timber window to right of entrance with two small top hung upper openers and acid etched design to larger bottom pane. This window opening has been enlarged slightly and no longer has a surround or sill. Painted timber pub sign over window. Three windows to first floor similar to that on left of ground floor but with smaller upper pane. Modern (traditional style) projecting pub sign between second and third windows with attached lighting. E facade faces into Ferry Street and has large modern timber fixed light window, with acid etched design, to left, timber door to right of window, with similar window to right of door. No sills to both windows. Steel vents below second window. First floor has four windows similar to first floor of south elevation, but with surrounds to first two windows only. Traditional style projecting pub sign between first and second windows and modern internally illuminated plastic projecting sign between third and fourth windows. Paint used to simulate plinth on both elevations. Both the S and E facades are rendered and painted. Moulded bevelled quoins. Paint used to simulate plinth. The rear facade (which could only be seen from a distance), has a two storey lean-to projection to NE facing section. To the NW facing section there is a modern window to the first floor. The roof is hipped (at corner) and covered with concrete tiles. There are five brown brick chimney stacks with simple corbelling and matching pots. Eaves course, cast iron gutters and down spouts. Extensive outbuildings to rear.

Not Known 
Historical Information

According to J.J. Nihill in a 1981 article in the 'Journal of the Upper Ards Historical Society', this public house is the oldest within Portaferry. The article states that it was leased by Patrick Savage to a James McCready in 1776 and remained in his family until the first half of the 19th century. Patrick O'Hare's 1799 map, however, names James McCleery as the tenant, not McCready, suggesting Mr. Nihill may have read this name incorrectly. The article goes on to say that the entire property was sold to a Mr. Coates in 1840, but, according to the valuation records, a Henry Coates was resident in c.1835 (though this could mean that he merely leased the building at this stage). Coates may have largely rebuilt the property, for its plan on the c.1835-38 valuation plan is markedly different from that of 1864 (which means that the building may not be the oldest hostelry in Portaferry). In 'Slater's Directory" of 1846 Henry Coates is listed as proprietor of the 'Harp Inn', and in that of 1856 he is recorded as a 'spirit grocer" but in 1861 valuation returns merely refer to the building as a 'house". Mr Coates is believed to have sold the property to a a Mr. Dorrian in 1874 for £400. In 1897 the building was leased to John Trainor, who later bought it outright for £700, and in whose hands and those of his descendants it remained for most of the 20th century. The 'quoins" and the mouldings to the door and front windows were all added in c.1920s.

References- Primary sources 1 Walter Harris, 'The Ancient and Present State of the County of Down" (Dublin 1744), p. 44. [ Harris describes Portaferry as "a market town, but irregularly built, and few other than thatched houses in ".] 2 'Taylor's and Skinner's Maps of the roads of Ireland" (Dublin 1777) 3 PRONI D.552/B/3/3/1 Savage/Nugent Papers: "A Plan or Map of the Town of Portaferry" by Patrick O'Hare, 1799 [The Savage/Nugent Papers contain many documents relating to Portaferry and the surrounding area] 4 Linen Hall Library "Pigot & Co.'s Dublin and Hibernian Provincial Directory" (Manchester 1824) 5 'Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Vol.7: Parishes of County Down II', ed. Angelique Day and Patrick McWilliams (QUB 1991) 6 PRONI OS/6/3/32/1 OS maps, 1st ed., 1834, Down sheet 32 7 PRONI VAL/1B/37 1st valuation, Ballyphilip, c.1835-38 8 PRONI VAL/1D/3/4 Valuation town plan of Portaferry, c.1838 9 Linen Hall Library "Slater's National Commercial Directory of Ireland" (Manchester 1846), p.520-23 10 PRONI and Linen Hall Library "Belfast and Province of Ulster Directory" Vols.1-21, 1852-1900, (Belfast, Henderson [1852-65], Belfast News-Letter [1865- ]) 11 Linen Hall Library "Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Ireland" (Manchester 1856), p.592-95 12 PRONI OS/8/23/1- OS town plan of Portaferry, 1859 13 PRONI Second ('Griffith's') valuation, 1863 [In print.] 14 PRONI VAL/12E/112/1- Valuation maps of Portaferry, c.1863, with revisions of 1902 15 Linen Hall Library "Slater's Royal National Commercial Directory of Ireland" (Manchester 1870), pp.341-43 16 PRONI OS/8/23/2 OS town plan of Portaferry, 1874 17 George Henry Bassett "County Down Guide and Directory" (Dublin 1886) 18 PRONI OS/8/23/3 OS town plan of Portaferry, 1900 19 UFTM WAG 609, 611, 612 W.A. Green Collection, photographs of Portaferry Quay, harbour, Shore Road etc. 20 PRONI VAL/12E/112/2- Valuation maps of Portaferry, 1902, with revisions of 1935 Secondary sources 1 G. Philip Bell, C.E.B. Brett, Sir Robert Matthew, 'Ulster Architectural Heritage Survey: Portaferry & Strangford" (Belfast UAHS 1969) 2 J.J. Nihill, "Notes on some inns in the Upper Ards", in 'Journal of the Upper Ards Historical Society No.5" (1981), pp. 36-37 3 Dick Oram, "The Buildings of Portaferry" in 'Journal of the Upper Ards Historical Society No.16" (1992), p. 24

Criteria for Listing
Architectural Interest 
Not listed 
Historic Interest 
Not listed 

Much altered, two storey, 'corner" public house of perhaps c.1840s, set the junction of The Strand and Ferry Street. It has little architectural interest. 
General Comments

Date of Survey
Monday, August 04, 1997

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