Lurgan was founded in 1610 by John and William Brownlow, a father-son partnership from Lincolnshire who acquired the land during the Ulster Plantation. From the beginning the town has been defined by its linear street pattern, dictated by buildings erected either side of a long ridge. In fact it is this ridge which gives Lurgan its name, originating from the Irish ‘An Lorgain’ meaning ‘the shin shaped ridge’ or ‘long low ridge’.
The growth of the town’s linen industry in the 18th century and it’s industrialisation in the mid-19th century established Lurgan as one of the principal centres of fine linen manufacture in Ulster. The linen trade brought both people and prosperity to the town, which was reflected in the erection of many fine buildings along the main street. Although incorporating a variety of architectural styles, the buildings form a unified streetscape thanks to careful design and thoughtful use of materials; a tribute to the builders and craftsmen who built them.
Despite some demolition and redevelopment in recent times, the character of Lurgan’s main street remains much as it did over a century ago. In recognition of its special architectural and historic character much of the Lurgan town centre was designated a Conservation Area in 2004, which provides statutory protection to the buildings within the area. Included within the Lurgan Conservation Area are over 40 listed structures of special architectural or historic interest, which include churches, dwellings, monuments and public buildings. The Conservation Area also connects and provides a setting for a number of other important built heritage and environmental sites that surround the town centre, such as Brownlow House, Lurgan Park and Shankill Graveyard. The preservation of the Conservation Area is therefore paramount in safeguarding the character and identity of the town, and as a result any proposed additions, alterations or developments to town shopfronts, signage and/or courtyards need to follow the design guidelines contained within the Lurgan Conservation Area Design Guidance.
Through the repair, refurbishment and regeneration of these historic buildings within the Conservation Area, the Lurgan TH aims to act as a catalyst for the wider cultural and economic regeneration of the town by creating an attractive historic environment in which to live, work, shop and visit.