Whitehead History


Whitehead is a Victorian Railway Town built on the site of a former hamlet around Castle Chichester. Much of its history can be found in the book “Whitehead: The Town with no Streets” by P J O’Donnell.

Some other information can be found in several sources available in Whitehead Library or elsewhere. A few extracts, fully credited, are given here.

Castle Chichester, a ruin, which lies on private land and which cannot be accessed, can still be seen in Chester Avenue, opposite the junction with the King’s Road, Whitehead, or from Marine Parade. “Its square form, the style of its construction, particularly in its secret stairs constructed in its walls, suggest the idea that its erection took place in the 12th or 13th century….. . Its name, however, would imply otherwise, as the Chichesters were not possessed of any property in this country  until the conclusion of the 16th century …… .

There was, until about the middle of the 17th century, a considerable village or town at Castle Chichester. It possessed a harbour or quay, of which the remains are still to be seen. It had a considerable trade with Scotland, and was the station from whence the mails were dispatched to that country. The castle may probably have been for some time occupied by some of the Chichesters, or from some other cause or motive have received its present name on becoming their property.” Taken from “Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Parishes of County Antrim III 1833, 1835, 1839 – 40 Larne and Island Magee Vol.10 Edited by Angelique Day and Patrick McWilliams The Institute of Irish Studies The Queen’s University of Belfast”

“Upwards of 100 years ago a packet boat used to call at Castlechichester from Scotland to discharge its cargo and deliver letters.  A small boat used to attend the Parish to convey the letters to Belfast from Castlechichester for which it received £100 per annum.  At that time an agent resided at Castlechichester.” Taken from “N.I Public Record Office Parish of Island Magee 1830 -1840 Island Magee Parish Box 11 Antrim XI by James Boyle 1840”

Whitehead Community Centre

Whitehead Community Centre

Whitehead Community Centre
20 Balmoral Avenue,
County Antrim,
BT38 9QD
Telephone (028) 9337 8077
Email: WCA at whitehead-ni.com
(Remove spaces and replace “at” with “@”

Contact Hours
Rosemary ALLEN                    Patrick RAMSEY
Monday 10am-5.30pm           Thursday 10am-5.30pm
Tuesday 10am-5.30pm           Friday 10am-5.30pm
Wednesday 10am-4.30pm      Saturday 9am-3.30pm

The residents of Whitehead purchased the former Whitehead Cinema about 30 years ago, to form a Community Centre which is located in the heart of the Whitehead Conservation Area. The centre was refurbished 2007 / 2008 and has excellent accommodation for meetings, etc., with free parking outside.

A large hall is available, with a stage, and is suitable for dances, sports, sales promotions, pantomimes, public meetings, etc and can accommodate up to 230 people (seated). A kitchen is available for use only with the main hall (at additional cost).

The upstairs conference room can seat 60 people, theatre style, and there is also a committee room: and one office, which can be hired out as a meeting room but which is available for long term rental. The other office currently houses a barber shop.

There is a lift (suitable for disabled access) to the upper floor and facilities suitable for use by people with a disability.

The new entrance (where the old garage was formerly located) now houses a laundrette and the centre supervisors’ office.

For further information contact the centre supervisor in person or by telephone during the hours shown above or by email to WCA at whitehead-ni.com (Remove the spaces and replace at with @ – to try and reduce the amount of SPAM!)
Whitehead Community Association is a Registered Charity (REGISTERED CHARITY NO. XN50304A-BHW)

Whitehead – Introduction


Whitehead is a pretty seaside village on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland and is fairly self sufficient in terms of businesses and services for daily needs, including shops, schools churches and recreation.

It lies almost midway between the bustling town of Carrickfergus with its mediaeval castle and historic harbour and the busy port of Larne. Located at the base of Muldersleigh Hill, at the entrance to Belfast Lough, on the Irish Sea, it lies in a small bay between the limestone cliffs of Whitehead and the black volcanic cliff of Blackhead, with the Blackhead lighthouse on top, marking the entrance to Belfast Lough.

A Victorian Railway village with a well preserved Conservation area, including the Railway Station, Whitehead contains about 1800 households with over 4,000 people and is home to RPSI and CAYC (Railway Preservation Society of Ireland and the County Antrim Yacht Club), as well as being the starting point for the popular seaside walk past Sunshine House and around Blackhead Lighthouse.

Whitehead is about 20 miles from Belfast. On the opposite coast of Belfast Lough, to Whitehead, the Copeland Islands, Bangor and part of the County Down coastline, are clearly visible. On a clear day, it is possible to see the Isle of Man and Scotland.

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