Urgent engagement and action needed to save Millisle Kinderfarm, says Muir

Alliance North Down MLA Andrew Muir has expressed deep concern over the future of Ballyrolly House, also known as “Kinderfarm” in Millisle, after efforts to engage the owner into carrying out essential repair work have so far been unsuccessful.

Andrew Muir Ards and North Down Council North Down

Millisle Kinderfarm is a unique historical site which housed nearly 300 Jewish children who were evacuated from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to County Down as part of the Kindertransport movement. It stands today as a lasting testament to the efforts of local people to ensure the safety of innocent children during this harrowing period of history.

The formerly disused house and derelict outbuildings, once used to bleach flax as part of the linen industry, is renowned worldwide as a refuge for children escaping the Holocaust. It operated as a Refugee Resettlement Farm from 1938 -1948 and local residents were instrumental in making the farm habitable on the arrival of the young refugees.

Speaking following an update from the Historic Environment Division at the Department of Communities, Andrew said: “Having campaigned for years to get this building listed I was disheartened to hear that efforts to engage the owner and bring about much needed repair work have not been successful. The building is in a very poor state of repair and gets worse with each passing month.

“There are funding streams open that would allow the necessary work to be undertaken, but unfortunately no efforts have been made to avail of these.

“The ball is now in Ards and North Down Borough Council’s court – they have the ability to issue an Urgent Works Notice to undertake necessary repairs. I will be following up with them to assist in any way possible and ensure this integral piece of our local history is not lost through neglect.”