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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 07:36 GMT 08:36 UK
Historic home wins viewers' votes
Lissan House near Cookstown
Lissan House has been in the Staples family for 400 years
Lissan House is the winner of the Northern Ireland heat of the BBC Two series, Restoration.

The historic home of the Staples family near Cookstown got the viewers' votes on Tuesday and will feature in the final in London in September where it will compete with other buildings from across the UK.

The overall winning building will be restored using a special fund set up for the programme.

Lissan House is now held in trust as Hazel Dolling is the last surviving member of the family who have owned the property since the 1600s.

This has been the Staples' family home for 400 years - the longest occupation by any single family of a country house in Ireland.

Ms Dolling said she was very happy at the outccome of the vote.

"I am absolutely delighted, but mostly I am delighted for this old house because we call it this golden place," she said.

"Without the house, we would not have been in the film and we could not have done it."

Herdman's Mill in Sion Mills
The Herdman's Mill was founded in 1835

Last week, the house also got a blue plaque to mark it as the former residence of the artist, Sir Robert Ponsonby Staples. The other two "at risk" buildings in the regional heat were Herdmans Mills in Sion Mills and the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.

Herdman's Mill was founded in 1835 by three brothers from Belfast and provided provided housing, schooling, churches, sports and leisure facilities for workers.

New proposals for the mill complex include leisure and restaurant facilities.

The Crescent Arts Centre was built in the Victorian era, and originally used as a girls' school. It still plays an important part in the community.

Jane Root, Controller of BBC Two said: "Not only will viewers get to learn some fascinating history through the buildings we feature, but we'll be encouraging them to get out and about and actually visit some of the UK's magnificent buildings.

Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast
The Crescent Arts Centre was originally a girls' school

Each of the buildings had a celebrity advocate who highlighted the reasons their particular building should be rescued from ruin.

Ten one-hour programmes will each be devoted to a geographical area of the UK and will focus on three properties at risk.

At the end of each programme, viewers will be invited to vote for which of the three buildings featured they would most like to see restored.

Each "winner" will go through to a final shortlist of 10 where the public will decide which building is most worthy of restoration.

BBC NI's environment correspondent Mike McKimm:
"If Lissan House wins the national competition it will be restored using a special fund set up by the BBC

Restoration show's 3m boost
18 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Viewers vote to save heritage
18 Jul 03  |  Entertainment



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