Hillsborough Castle

Hillsborough Castle

Situated South-West of Belfast, Hillsborough Castle is the official Northern Ireland residence of HM the Queen The British Royal Family. In addition, and unusually, the Castle serves a political function as the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Since April 2014 Hillsborough Castle has been under the care of Historic Royal Palaces, alongside Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace. Following extensive restoration works and investment estimated at £24 million, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens reopened to the public once again in April 2019.

Built originally for the Hill family, Marquess of Downshire, in the 18th Century. Hillsborough Castle is in fact not a castle but a late Georgian Country House. It was owned by the Hill family until the time of the 6th Maquess in 1925 when the property and grounds were sold to the government.

The Castle was officially re-opened by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on 9th April 2019 in advance of the public opening on 18th April 2019.


The Throne Room

Pure Silk Damask for walling, window treatment and upholstery

At the ceremonial heart of the Castle, the Throne Room, was built as an extension to Hillsborough in 1797. Originally the Throne Room was three rooms, which were combined to create a grand Saloon in the 1840’s.

The design used in the current scheme can also be found at Kensington Palace in crimson throughout the King’s State Apartments. There is also a version at Hampton Court Palace and the Palace of Versailles in France.

The green colouring of the damask is taken from Rangers House. Alongside the design the colour was selected by renowned decorator, musician and artist, Alec Cobbe. The decision to adorn the Throne Room with Pure Silk Damask is a reflection of its grand status within the Castle.

Project References: 3048

The Red Room

Silk & Wool Damask for walling and window drapes

The Red Room was once the Drawing Room of Hillsborough Castle. Since that time the room has been at the heart of historic political meetings. The table in the centre of the room is deliberately round to ensure there is no set hierarchy i.e head of the table,  when discussions are being held.

Under the guidance of Alec Cobbe, the scheme was chosen to reflect the period of the house. The combination of silk and wool gives a striking contrast in texture and dimension within the room.  The design is also used in the Saloon at Kedleston Hall.

Project References: 2762

State Drawing Room, Brabourne Suite

Fabric was woven by Humphries Weaving for the Brabourne Suite.

A silk tissue on black ground with gold, green and crimson figuring in a design is thought to have been originated by Owen Jones. It was used to upholster the neo-Empire Brabourne suite.  There is a document of this weaving in the Warner Textile Archive, and in the V&A Textile Collection.

At the time of weaving, the Brabourne Suite was situated at Kensington Palace. Following the extensive restoration of 2019 the suite was moved to Hillsborough Castle.

Project Reference: 645