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Milford House Collection

48 Hill Street


Co. Armagh

BT60 3PB


tel: +44 (0)2837525467/07854784256




email: [email protected]



Contact details: Stephen McManus, Heather McGuicken, Mary Lester


Date of visit: 3 September 2015


Nature and extent of collection


10,000 pieces in total, including a numismatic collection. Historic house collection relating to Milford House, the former seat of the McCrum family who revolutionised the linen industry and invented penalty kick rule in football. Later home to Manor House School. The Milford House Collection includes Somerset House London furniture and timepieces, Milford House related furnishings, china, porcelain, silver, costumes and documents as well as paintings from the Royal Scottish Academy and watercolours.


Milford House is the former seat of the extraordinary Mc Crum family: one of Ulster's leading linen manufacturing dynasties and the proprietors of the world famous linen manufacturing firm of Mc Crum Watson & Mercer Ltd. Robert Garmany McCrum revolutionized the world of business with his inventions and innovation and today the house is world famous as birthplace and home of his son William McCrum who invented the penalty kick rule in football in 1898. His sister Mrs. Harriette Miller was involved in the Women's Suffrage Movement. She later wrote to Stalin instructing him on how to run Russia - he was so impressed he wrote back personally and asked for further advice!


Milford House was the wonder of its age. The first private residence in Ireland to be lit with hydreoelectricity, it had six bathrooms each with Turkish bath and Jacuzzi and even a waterfall in the Dining Room. Robert Garmany McCrum even invented an electric kettle and dishwasher for the house. It was also first in County to have a telephone. The Wall Street Crash hit the family fortunes hard and the contents of the house were dispersed at auction in 1930. Wiliam McCrum died in poverty two years later. From 1936 to 1965 it was home to Manor House School, Northern Ireland's only private  country house residential school for girls. From 1966 to 1994 it was Manor House Special Care. Today the house is derelict and one of top ten listed buildings at most serious risk in Northern Ireland.


In 2000 at the age of fifteen Stephen McManus established Milford Buildings Preservation Trust, a registered charity which works tirelessly to save Milford House for the benefit of the nation. The Trust owns the Milford House Collections, an Accreditated Historic House Collection which holds in Trust for society the remaining McCrum family possessions gifted by family descendants and the Manor House School items gifted by past pupils. The Trust works to find and return the lost contents of Milford House. In 2012 it was gifted the contents of Somerset House London by HMRC. The heritage and collections of Milford House are unique and of national importance. They attract visitors from all over the world.



All numbers below are estimated


Modern and paper money: Manor House school certificates, 1 cheque book and 1 Army & Navy Stores book

Paranumismatica: Manor House School badges; around 10 paper tickets for concerts and events (dating to 1914-1925) and tickets associated with Manor House School events such as Burns Evening etc (dating to 1936-1965)

Specific strengths: Award badges and paper items specifically related to Manor House School.


Library: No specific numismatic library; collection is comprised of ooks which came from Milford House Library, Manor House School books, books written by Mc Crum family members.





Database used: ADLIB MUSEUM LITE


Proportion of collection on database: 50%


How much detail in database entries? Object description, physical description,  history, location, acquisition, current owner.


Are images incorporated? Yes.


Is the database accessible to the public? No.


Is the database publicly accessible online? No.





Are there permanent numismatic displays? Yes.


Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? Yes.


Is there a facility for temporary exhibitions? Yes.


Have there been numismatic exhibitions in the past? If so, what? No, just the permanent displays.



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? Yes.


Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? Yes.



Public engagement with numismatic collection


Is there a handling collection? Yes.


Are numismatic collections used in Education sessions? Yes.


Do numismatic collections feature in gallery talks, lectures? Yes.


Are there other engagement activities based around numismatic collections? Yes.



ID and public enquiries


Does the museum offer a service for identifying objects and other public enquiries? Yes.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? No.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? Yes, we have contact with Armagh County Museum and Armagh Public Library staff.


If there is expertise in-house, is there a willingness/capacity to share that with other museums? N/A

1_Milford_Landscape_Mono Manor House School c.1958 c Milford House afternoon tea 1-5-11 011 IMG_4230 Milford House and gate lodge pics 2006 170