Hearth was established in 1972 by the National Trust and the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society with a view to rescuing modest historic buildings that were under threat.
It is the longest-established and most active building preservation trust in Northern Ireland, having restored some forty houses and a variety of larger buildings that now house restaurants, a theatre and community facilities.
Almost all were derelict and at risk of demolition when acquired by Hearth, but many are now well-known landmarks in towns and villages across Northern Ireland, such as Portrush Town Hall (restored in 2005) and Sion Mills Stables (restored in 2015). Although Hearth continues to manage a dozen properties, many others have been sold on to new owners.
From 1978 to 2016 the Hearth committee also established and managed a sister charity, Hearth Housing Association, which restored a further hundred houses, while its architectural staff carried out additional consultancy work for clients such as the National Trust and the Irish Landmark Trust. The housing association has now merged with Clanmil Housing Association as its Hearth Heritage Division, which now manages the housing association properties, but the buildings are listed on our Projects page for historical completeness.