The Tower House & The Lansdowne Hotel

The Tower House on the corner of Lansdowne Crescent and Causeway View, was the home and studio of Robert Lee a renowned photographer. Robert, a native of Ballycastle, had spent many years in England before settling in Portrush.

Tower House Portrush
Tower House Portrush

During the latter part of the 19th century Robert Lee built The Tower House, a rather ornate three storey building with a long single storey building on its south side. This low building was his photographic studio. At a later date Tower House was rebuilt as a five-storey house with a glazed balcony at first floor level facing north-east. This balcony would have introduced light of a consistent level to his studio. Robert had five children, Alex, Henrietta, Robert, Lilian and Roberta.

The Tower House, Portrush
The Tower House, Portrush

Photography was a booming business and Robert set up a studio at the Giant’s Causeway to take portrait and group photographs of the ever-increasing numbers of visitors to the attraction, as well as a studio in Coleraine. The sons; Robert and Alex emigrated to South Africa where they established a photographic business in Simonstown. Meanwhile, Henrietta set up her own studio in Bath Street.

Lansdowne Causeway View Portrush
The original Tower House with photographic studio housed in the single storey building on the south side of the main building

Robert Lee further expanded his business by building The Lansdowne Hotel, a temperance hotel where alcoholic beverages would not have been served, beside Tower House together with Leander House and Bath Cottage in Bath Road. The Tower House also became a hotel as well as a photographic business and was connected to the Lansdowne Hotel by a set-back section of building between the two.

Robert Lee was elected as a Portrush Town Commissioner and on the formation of Portrush Urban Council in 1899 as a Town Councillor. He continued in this role until his sudden death on Sunday 29th October 1901. The Tower House was demolished during the latter part of the 20th century and replaced by a block of apartments.

Tower House Hotel Lansdowne Portrush
Tower House & Lansdowne Hotel, Portrush

Lansdowne Hotel Advert
Lansdowne Hotel, Portrush – Advert