I've driven past this former police station in Banbridge countless times over the years. At one point, I even went inside to look around, but I quickly left because it had been so badly vandalised. On Instagram a few months ago, I saw that the barracks had been purchased and renovation work had begun. I figured that now would be a good time to go and visit and take some pictures before the main construction starts. I'm happy I did!
Local Banbridge resident Stephen purchased the barracks and has many interesting plans for it. He has already spent several months cleaning up the location along with repairing and waterproofing the building.
The building's main structure was built around 1860, while later modifications were added on around 1927. It was created and utilised as a police barracks with a living area and cells. For a period of time, the location also housed the estate offices of the Marquess of Downshire. You can really imagine what the barracks would have been like when they were in use by walking around the outside. It features beautiful stonework and still has all of its original characteristics both inside and out.
Under the barracks, these disused rails point to a bygone passageway that is concealed from view. Just look at the ironwork and the clawed feet. Spectacular!
This room, which has bulletproof glass and overlooks the main street, served as the police's observation post to keep an eye on what was happening outside.
Look at the retro cans of coke and fanta orange! It's been a while from these were for sale in the shops!
As you entered the police station, this would have been the reception desk. That probably depends on the entrance you used;
The structure has three floors with little rooms that branch off on the left and right. Each of these had a purpose.
Some shelving is still intact and I noticed some paperwork still in situ.
I look closer and see that it's a person on bail report. Incredible that it's lasted in here.
A white board is still hanging in this room; was this where they posted suspect lists and active cases?
On the opposite side still remains a map of Northern Ireland with the police station clearly marked out.
A possible gun cupboard?
These are reinforced shutters that would have protected the officers inside from bomb and grenade attacks.
Pigeon holes with names of different offenses for particular paperwork to be filed. One that looks particularly odd is 'Allowing oneself to be carried' Any ideas?
A possible one of Stephen's many plans for the barracks is an air bnb on the top level that will reveal the surrounding vistas of the town and the River Bann. How special would that be!
Not only that but the cells still remain as they were and Stephen is planning to use these as escape rooms. I can't wait to get in and try these once they're finished!
People taken in here wouldn't have had that long a stay during the police days, maybe just a night or two.
This is the larger cell of the two. The bed is made of concrete, not much comfort
There's a few of these masks about the windows, even know I knew they were there they still made me jump!
I really look forward to going back to revisit the barracks once the work is complete. It's so refreshing to see so much vision and hard work going into this project, it is very exciting!
You can follow Stephens journey of the renovation works on Instagram we_bought_a_barracks