Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby markpb » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:49 am

I pass this building every day on the bus and I've never known what it was. It looks almost identical in design to Broadstone station.
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby tommyt » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:13 pm

markpb wrote:I pass this building every day on the bus and I've never known what it was. It looks almost identical in design to Broadstone station.


It's Aldborough House. Built 1803, the last of the great inner city mansions. Was an eircom facility for a long time, IMRO nearly bought it for their HQ a few years back but backed out at the last minute. I don't know who occupies it now.

edit. its late 1790s, scroll down this page for info
http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/Colin/Misc/Stratfords/Stratfords13.html


more recent info

http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2006/04/30/story13702.asp
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby markpb » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:15 pm

Great, thanks!
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby StephenC » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:31 pm

Ì think there were plans for a clinic to be developed recently.
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby kceire » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:49 pm

Most Recent Granted Application iirc :

Planning permission sought for the redevelopment of the site known as Aldborough House, bounded by Portland Row, Empress Place and Killarney Street, Dublin 1, which is a Protected Structure, to a 40 bedroom ''Day Hospital Medical Care Facility'', consisting of sympathetic conservation and restoration of the existing 3-storey over basement/ lower ground level main house

DCC Planning Ref : 5427/06
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby pdosullivan » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:56 pm

AFAIK the clinic was going to be a 50-50 jv between Ely Property and the now-in-receivership Newcourt Group plc. Who knows what'll happen to it given the latter's difficulties.
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby fergalr » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:43 pm

It'd be great if the forecourt could be restored. I presume there was a stables or something in the space opposite the chapel(?).

I've no idea what the building could be used for, though. Does it have any practical public utility and, if it did, could it attract people from outside the locality?
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby Spanky » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:14 pm

Quite a few of the planning conditions were extremely restrictive and would have required a complete redesign and new planning application. That never happened and I believe it's been sold on.

Incredible building, in good condition too. The largest reception room is about 1100 sq ft and the ceiling must be about 20ft high.

Some examples of scagliola there too by a fella called Pietro Bossi.
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby nono » Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:27 pm

I passed this building recently and it would appear that alot of the glazing is damaged.

Any one have any interior shots???
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby lostexpectation » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:58 pm

when was the wall built?
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:19 pm

The grim Adam's family-like state of the house as of a couple of years ago.

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I've a lovely watercolour of the house and grounds shortly after completion in one of those fusty aul books from the 1940s, where the new-fangled coloured plates have the suspicious appearance of being painstakingly pasted in by hand, but can't find it now tsk.

Here's some grim photographic imagery instead. This one appears to date to the late 19th century when it was probably a post office depot.

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And again in the early/mid 20th century.

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© Courtauld Institute of Art

The house of course is famous for being distinctly gawky in proportions, with a bizarrely tall piano nobile fitted with windows so narrow and densely clustered as to make the house appear to be on the verge of toppling over.

For once, the son out-maneovered the father when it came to the architect, Richard Johnston. His characteristic gawkiness can also be seen at the Gate Theatre/Assembly Rooms complex on Parnell Square (glad to see Christine Casey picks up the same point ;)).

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A certain domesticity was applied to his buildings in their use of expansive fenestration, including his former Daly's Club on College Green. Ironically, big houses like Aldborough should look as least domestic as they possibly can. The dropping of the first floor windows of Tyrone House in the early 19th century is also characteristic of this trend.

The stairwell of Aldborough once featured enormous wall paintings so vulgar as to make it almost a relief that they have long since been removed. Still, white elephants two centuries on are always curiosities in their own right, so it's a shame more of the original interior scheme of this house did not survive the batterings of institutional use. Still, enough remains for it to be pieced back together again.
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby Gaudi » Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:59 am

Detailed history of the house is here in book which was published in 1898.

http://www.chaptersofdublin.com/books/PictDub/picturesque8.htm
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What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby Rusty Cogs » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:27 am

I've recent pictures of the interior but they're too hi rez for posting. Can I send them to someone to rejig if they want to post ? It would take me an age to figure it out (although I will if there are no takers).
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Re: What is this building - Portland Row, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:08 am

Image

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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby fergalr » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:55 am

Oh my God, Paul, that staircase is astonishing.
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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:51 am

It is amazing - these are rusty's pictures btw.
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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby johnglas » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:47 pm

A bit of tlc and the nextwave of economic prosperity (not boom) should reveal this gem for what it is. Shouldn't An Post (or whoever was last in it) be made to return it at least to wind- and watertight condition and reasonable decorative order? How can they simply walk away?
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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby notjim » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:17 pm

There were plans to turn it into consulting rooms and a small surgical practice, at least there was a planning application for that, number 5427/06.
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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:18 am

Yes, as reported by Neil Callanan in The Sunday Business Post at the time.

http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2006/04/30/story13702.asp


Many thanks for the pictures, Rusty. I'm beginning to wonder if there's a cantilevered staircase left in the capital that hasn't endured drastic structural interventions in the past few years. What a crying shame. And what a bizarre sight. At least the bold Soane red distracts somewhat from the eerie liquorice contraption.

The staircase of Aldborough is nonetheless distinctly mean, with plain Portland steps and three stark, wrought iron balusters per tread. Apparently the balustrade was intended to be adorned with brass dressings, which would have been quite the sight. Christine Casey recounts the dry observations of the then Vicereine, Lady Hardwicke, on her visit to the house, presumably around 1801, regarding the preposterous series of wall paintings which adorned the staircase walls. She noted:

“The staircase is richly adorned with paintings. Let one be in your idea a model for the rest. Imagine a large panel occupied by the ‘Triumph of Amphitrite’ personified by Lady Aldborough in a riding habit with Minerva’s helmet, sitting on the knee of Lord Aldborough in a complete suit of regimentals, Neptune having politiely resigned his seat in the car to his Lordship, and contenting himself with the office of coachman to the six well fed tritons. The whole corps of sea-nymphs attend the car in the dress of Nereids! But each, instead of a vocal shell, bears in her hand a medallion with the picture (the head and shoulders as large as life)of an admiral’s wigs, bald-heads, crops etc. Think of a whole mansion decorated this way.”

:p

From Rusty’s pictures, it is heartening to see how many of the interior fittings still survive. From some accounts you get the impression that nothing is left. It is to be expected that furnishings, wall paintings, the Bossi chimneypieces, mirrored shuttering and its ilk would have long vanished given the various institutional uses the house was put to. It’s good to see that most joinery, plasterwork and some chimneypieces remain. The Library seems almost intact. Loving the gas lamps!

Poor old Aldborough today. That invasive 19th century gate lodge does not do it any favours.

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Only one wing, that of the theatre, survives.

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The western wing that housed the chapel has been demolished, while its arm appears to have been refaced minus its stone dressings. The ground floor of the house is stern and unforgiving. The porch almost looks like an afterthought, with no responding order of pilasters on the walls and rather gauche rustication as the setting for the main entrance. Not a good start.

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The theatre arm. Again, a crude contrast between the delicate detailing and luxurious Portland stone with the harsh expression of the main house, further exacerbated by the painted render walls.

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This is the rear of the opposing wing with service accommodation and passages concealed behind.

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A head on view. There really is no reconciling of that gawky first floor is there?

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The remarkably skinny windows. All sashes are 19th or early 20th century replacements, probably dating from when the house was occupied by Posts and Telegraphs.

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The much embellished Stratford coat of arms to the pediment is in superb condition, presumably as it is north facing.

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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:23 am

Where the chapel once was.

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This side of the house suffered extreme water ingress at some point by the looks of it. One hopes this is a legacy issue...

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Shamefully, many of the windows are wide open. This place will either fall down with damp or go up in flames if not addressed.

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The same can be said around the back with the delightful bow.

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Casey says the brick is yellow, and originally was rendered and lined to look like stone. It is difficult to decipher from a distance exactly what colour the brick is. Without question there are red tones in there. It is also difficult to believe that a cheap, block-imitation render would be used as a facing, when brick would be so much more attractive, used in the same way as the rear of Powerscourt Townhouse in combination with stone dressings, i.e. what we see now.

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In fact, I would say that not only was the building not rendered, but that it is not even yellow brick - rather it is entirely red brick which was always left exposed. It's a shame it has all been repointed - we have less evidence.

Aldborough House is now stranded on a tiny site on Portland Row.

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Its once gracious gardens were purchased by Dublin Corporation around 1937 for public housing. At least some of the best designed apartments in Dublin were built on the site, but did they really have to come that close?

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On the face of it. Aldborough House seems miles away from the hub of the city, but nothing could be further from the truth. Just like Leinster House, and as espoused by the motto ‘Rus in Urbe’ inscribed on the portico, Aldborough also enjoyed “in the tumult of a noisy Metropolis, all the retirement of the Country” as observed by James Malton in respect of the Kildare Street mansion that Stratford was clearly attempting to outmanoeuvre. It is only when one rounds the corner from Portland Row onto Killarney Street that the uninterrupted route, as straight as an arrow, cutting all the way along Sean MacDermott Street and Cathal Brugha Street, to Richard Castle’s house at No. 42 Sackville Mall, that the proximity to the fashionable heart of the city becomes apparent. It was barely a ten minute walk to Spar, Centra and Londis for a boar’s head from the hot deli counter.

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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby gunter » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:36 am

Image

The lost stairwell paintings are one thing, but as a loss does it compare with a parapet ballustrade that had vultures?
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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby tommyt » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:55 am

Nice round up there Graham.I am still unclear who actually owns the building now. Is it Eircom or An Post or a.n. other?

Have always felt the building's location is hindering its regeneration chances (apart from the obvious black hole it would be cash wise to get back into shape) i.e. would you get er, 'cultural' types to walk down Sean McDermott st to an 'event' or 'installation'.

Conversely would a public authority cough up enough cash to renovate the building for more 'community' based uses with a more localised focus.

The proposal to turn it into a fancy medical centre really appeals to me, purely because I will live in hope of someday fielding an enquiry if 'I know where the five lamps are'from some southside posho heading there for a procedure of some description.

Such a query will of course receive the traditional local reply;):D
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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby jdivision » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:58 pm

Ely Properties own it
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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:36 pm

JD you should do a piece on it - leaving a building empty is understandable but leaving it open to the elements as this one it should be a crime
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Re: Aldborough House Portland Row, Dublin

Postby lauder » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:15 pm

Don't worry lads. Since I was in school Iv had great plans to buy this and restore it as a family house, that is provided I win the lotto soon.
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