Friday, 6 April 2018

Lanowlee - An Indian House

Lanowlee or Lanowlee Hall as it was called for a time was a large Victorian villa situated on Londonderry's Limavady Road. The 1911 census discloses that it was a twelve room property with nine outhouses including a coach house. For many years it was a ruinous shell. It has now been demolished. I don't know quite when this occurred but gone it has. Sad in some ways. Another foot note in local history.

The name of the property came from an area in India and was bestowed upon the dwelling by the person I believe to have been its first owner, Brigade-Surgeon Hamilton Mitchell. This gentleman was born on 22nd January 1832 and obtained his LRCS from Edinburgh in 1853. The following year he entered the Army Medical Department as an assistant surgeon. Within two months he was ordered to the Crimea where he served from 8th November 1854 until 18th February 1855 and was present at the fall of Sebastapol. He was awarded the Crimea Medal with clasp and the Turkish Medal.

In May 1855 he was gazetted Assistant Surgeon to the 96th Regiment of Foot in which he served for over twenty one years. On 9th March 1867 he was promoted to the rank of Staff Surgeon. This was followed by promotion to Surgeon Major on 21st July 1874. From 1865 until 1875 his regiment was stationed in India.

In 1876 he moved to the Staff at Colchester Barracks. His career subsequently took him to Malta in 1877 but in July 1878 he was forced to return to England on sick leave. On 6th March 1880 continued heart problems resulted in him retiring from the Service on half pay with the rank of Brigade- Surgeon. He and his wife then returned to his native Co Londonderry where he took up residence at Lanowlee. His wife, Hannah, daughter of his regiment's Colonel died on 22nd February 1894. On the 26th August of the same year Hamilton Mitchell passed away.

Sources: The London Gazette, "Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison," and Medical News 22nd September 1894.

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