Slate records that Henry Kerr was here - way back in 1835!

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

GRACEHILL Old School Trust (GhOST) made a wonderful discovery when they commenced the restoration of the Old Village Shop in the village recently.

Perched high on the roof and undisturbed for many years was a slate neatly inscribed “Henry Kerr reslated this house in the year 1835”

The Trust purchased the historic old village shop and former post office in 2012 with the help of the then Ballymena Borough Council and the Environment Agency.

Since then emergency repairs have been undertaken as the building had been unoccupied for a number of years following the deaths of Jim and Sally Gillen, Gracehill’s last postmasters.

Happily, a full scheme of restoration is now underway.

The first phase will see the building of new chimneys, the replacement of the roof and rainwater goods and repairs to the windows.

The building is historically very significant as it was a purpose built shop constructed for the Settlement in 1787.

It is two storey with attics and basement and the layout is much as it was when originally constructed.

The central shop area still contains many original features including shelving built into the walls, counters and a large wooden winch wheel for drawing stores up to the attic.

Speaking about the restoration David Johnston, chairman of the Trust said: "The aim is to restore this unique building so visitors can once again experience what life might have been like in the nineteenth century.

“Holiday accommodation with a period theme will also be provided and a tea room will complete the scheme to ensure the future of this wonderful and historic building and hopefully the roof will be good for another 200 years!"

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