'Dutch Billys'

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue May 04, 2010 3:22 pm

'a significant conservation figure' indeed.

Devin: Sorry I missed your irony earlier, I'm just trying to set out the case the way I see it. Obviously, I could be completely wrong.

I know you see this differently, but, either way, I think Bachelors' Walk is the key.

Image

Nos 5, 6 + 7 are the group in the middle each with a pair of roofs running to gables at the rear.

Image

another version of the Halfpenny Bridge view with slightly clearer depiction of the twin roofs of nos. 5,6 + 7. Note that no. 4 [behind the cross] looks like an altered standard 'Billy' with cruciform roof and massive central chimney stack.

These were prosperous merchant houses built prior to 1740 [just like Molesworth St.], they had fully pannelled interiors and were sited next to probable 'Billys' of standard design.

While I appreciate that nos. 5,6, + 7 certainly made splendid 'Georgian' houses, with reduced top floor windows and flat front parapets, for that to have been the original design of these houses creates more stylistic problems than it solves and that's why I think we should consider the 'twin Billy' scenario.

I'll get back to you on 120 Cork Street.

Nobody's bored with this discussion, don't be ridiculous:)
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Tue May 04, 2010 5:24 pm

I'm aware that they were early buildings with panelled interiors, later given those diminishing facades and - I would maintain - roofs. If you look at all the twin roof examples of this type, the facade is always well integrated with the roof; there is no sense of an awkward cover-up of an earlier building.
Devin
Old Master
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:27 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue May 04, 2010 6:16 pm

I don't understand.

Are you suggesting that these houses did have a 'Georgian' modernization of their facades, and at the same time, their roof structures were changed to be the twin [front to back] volumes we see in the photographs?

That would mean that these houses all lost a habitable attic storey in the process of modernization, assuming that the original roof configuration was that of a standard 'Billy'.

I don't know of any stairwell, or other, evidence that suggests that any of these houses originally had an additional storey, which would have made many orf them, including these three on Bachelors Walk, five-storey over raised basement.

I don't know Devin, this is what I mean about alternative explanations creating far more difficulties than we get with the simple twin-Billy explanation.
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Tue May 04, 2010 7:30 pm

Come on now gunter, don't be trying to obfuscate a very simple statement about the houses with references to lost attic storeys and stairwells.

What I'm saying is: They are early panelled houses (of possibly less than four storeys), transformed into those quintessential four-storey Georgian envelopes, probably in the third quarter of the 18th century.
Devin
Old Master
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:27 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue May 04, 2010 10:46 pm

No, I'm just trying to get my head around this.

OK, you're saying that the present full top storey [and twin roof structure] replaced an original attic storey/roof structure?

. . . not that these houses lost a higher attic storey, I mean, it's one or the other, right?

If we follow this through, the curious thing now is that, in almost every case where a twin-roofed house survives, or where we have good records of one, the rear elevation is finished in gables and it retains a little 'Billy' like return complete with it's characteristic rear gable also. If there was the level of rebuilding that you're suggesting, it would be odd to - not just retain, but actually build a new - these elements in the rejected architectural language, when presumably the whole motivation behind the works would have been to modernize.

The level of consistency in the design of these twin roofed houses alone suggests that the basic structural shape is not the product of later alterations.

Now that I understand what the stumbling block is, it should be possible to unearth some definitive information to put this matter to bed. If twin-roofed houses like 32 Thomas St, 25 James St, or 120 Cork Street were the product of a programme of alterations that transformed their previous attic storeys into full top floors, this will have left a trace in the fabric of the upper walls and that will be our answer.

If, on the other hand, no trace of an earlier attic/roof profile is revealed in a detailed survey of these houses, I would think it would be pretty hard to sustain that argument.
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Wed May 05, 2010 10:43 am

gunter wrote:OK, you're saying that the present full top storey [and twin roof structure] replaced an original attic storey/roof structure?

. . . not that these houses lost a higher attic storey, I mean, it's one or the other, right?
You're doing it again. I didn't say anything about what the present top storey replaced. For the purpose of this point, it's not really relevant what the present top storey replaced; it may not have replaced anything, since the buildings with their early panelling were quite possibly of smaller three-storey scale to begin with. The point is that the buildings received that four-storey external (facade and roof envelope) makeover in the Georgian period.

This type of treatment, as is well known, was very common in Dublin. There's a building further up the quays at Upr. Ormond Quay which has pre-Georgian internal features which stop abruptly at 2nd floor level. Externally, the building has a diminishing, four-storey brick facade and front-to-back pitched roof (a 'single' version of the Bachelors Walk and other twin roofs, if you like). The building is visible in its earlier three-storey gabled form in a 1782 print of Dublin port (posted in post 417 of this thread three pages ago).


gunter wrote:If we follow this through, the curious thing now is that, in almost every case where a twin-roofed house survives, or where we have good records of one, the rear elevation is finished in gables and it retains a little 'Billy' like return complete with it's characteristic rear gable also. If there was the level of rebuilding that you're suggesting .........
Oh no you don't!!! We're just talking about three houses on Bachelors Walk here. We're not suddenly maintaining the same layered alterations occured to all the other twin roof examples familiar to this thread, thank you very much!


gunter wrote:Now that I understand what the stumbling block is, it should be possible to unearth some definitive information to put this matter to bed. If twin-roofed houses like 32 Thomas St, 25 James St, or 120 Cork Street were the product of a programme of alterations that transformed their previous attic storeys into full top floors, this will have left a trace in the fabric of the upper walls and that will be our answer.
And he tries it again in the next paragraph! 32 Thomas Street and 120 Cork Street are I would maintain almost certainly new builds of the second half of the 18th century, in their original design format. As covered earlier, it's not particular remarkable that they should have what you refer to as 'billy type features' (corner fireplace construction and the gabled 'nib' return), as this construction is known to extend way into the latter 18th century, even found as late as 1800. 25 James Street is more of an oddball.


gunter wrote:If we follow this through, the curious thing now is that, in almost every case where a twin-roofed house survives, or where we have good records of one, the rear elevation is finished in gables ...
Btw, I think you need to make a distinction here between gables as a functional product of pitched-roof construction and gables as part of architectural style. Many historic roofs come to a gable at the rear, or the side. It doesn't make them part of the gabled architectural style or tradition. The Ormond Quay building with the Georgian makeover mentioned above is "finished in a gable" at the rear.
Devin
Old Master
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:27 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Wed May 05, 2010 12:24 pm

Devin wrote:. . . I didn't say anything about what the present top storey replaced. For the purpose of this point, it's not really relevant what the present top storey replaced; it may not have replaced anything, since the buildings with their early panelling were quite possibly of smaller three-storey scale to begin with.


But Devin, this is the central point. For the existing roof structure not to be original [or a renewal of the original in some cases] as I believe, you have to explain what you think the original structure was.

That way, we can stand up the two ideas and interrogate them . . . until yours crumples on the floor in a heap :)

Devin wrote:The point is that the buildings received that four-storey external (facade and roof envelope) makeover in the Georgian period.


. . . in a heap :)

Devin wrote:Oh no you don't!!! We're just talking about three houses on Bachelors Walk here. We're not suddenly maintaining the same layered alterations occured to all the other twin roof examples familiar to this thread, thank you very much!


Yeh, because it didn't happen.

Devin wrote:25 James Street is more of an oddball.


oddball present in the discussion somewhere alright :rolleyes:
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Wed May 05, 2010 2:28 pm

Lol, you always start to do that when you sense you're losing an argument! So I'll leave it at that. People can make up their own minds on the basis of what's been posted :)
Devin
Old Master
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:27 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue May 11, 2010 12:27 pm

It was repoprted in the Irish Times yesterday [F McD] that the new National Monuments Bill is in final draft stage.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0510/1224270050275.html

Unfortunately there was nothing in the report to suggest that the automatic National Monument status for pre-1700 structures is intended to be advanced to take account of the passage of time. A rolling 'age' qualification would seem to be a more logical system than an arbitrary cut-off date, and more consistent with the original intention.

I'd like a 250 year rule, but even a 300 year rule would advance automatic protection to some 'Billys' with the prospect of blanket coverage in the coming decades, assuming we can get any of them to survive that long.

As reported the Bill seems to focus on regulating archaeological work, licence proceedures and the such like, making it simpler. I think some in our sister profession are finding the present system a bit of a challenge - you know - having to write stuff down.

Apparently there's no shortage of guff about ''Protecting and promoting an appreciarion and awareness of Ireland's unique built heritage'', that's nice. One innovation is that, to quote McDonald's report, ''all monuments will have either 'special' protection or 'general' protection''. In other words, protection - and protection light :rolleyes:

If anyone has any more detailed information on the text of the draft Bill, that might be a useful thing to share.

We might even be able to reel Devin back in if we hold out the prospect of some sell-out Green bashing.;)
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Wed May 12, 2010 11:57 am

Sorry, I said I'd stay away, but I couldn't resist. Blanket protection for the featureless shells?!? ROFL ..... You're not getting out enough .... too many fantasy postings on archiseek.

Leave your imaginary twin gablets and reconstructed streets behind and put together a list of the half dozen or so early buildings in the city that could credibly and deservedly be afforded some legislative protection.
:)
Devin
Old Master
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:27 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Thu May 13, 2010 1:53 am

Devin wrote:Sorry, I said I'd stay away, but I couldn't resist. Blanket protection for the featureless shells?!? ROFL ..... You're not getting out enough .... too many fantasy postings on archiseek.

Leave your imaginary twin gablets and reconstructed streets behind and put together a list of the half dozen or so early buildings in the city that could credibly and deservedly be afforded some legislative protection.
:)


I’ve done my best to suppress the memory of three years spent in archaeology, but you’re forcing me to drag up some dimly remembered lessons.

First lesson: You can construct a reasonably accurate picture of the past from seemingly sparse evidence, if your thinking is clear and the evaluation of the evidence is sound.

Second lesson: If the evaluation of the evidence amounts to a workable theory, just stick it up there and let others hurl abuse at it until, either holes get knocked in the theory, or it becomes clear that the theory stands up.

The Dutch Billy has been so submerged under the weight of subsequent layers of the building record that the only way we have to fully reveal it's story is through an almost archaeological un-picking of the layers and through the sketching of conjectural reconstructions. Surviving photographs do not reveal the full story of the Dutch Billy, they reflect the hugely uneven survival of gabled houses in that hundred year period of 1850 to 1950. That record has left us a distorted impression of Dutch Billy heritage that unwittingly misrepresents the distribution, status and variant typologies in this legacy of gabled street-architecture that is unique to Ireland, at least in terms of the English speaking world of this period

That’s all that we’re trying to do here:- un-pick the layers and fill out the picture.

If the suggestion is that this is somehow not worth doing, or that there's no point extending legal protection to surviving fabric because there's nothing much left other than a handful of ''featureless shells'', that’s the kind of bull-shit Philistine comment I’d expect from a third generation hack county councillor, not someone who had some standing in the conservation community.

. . with or without smiley faces rolling on the floor laughing
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Thu May 13, 2010 11:02 am

Aha, noowww I see; you want to be able to give it out and not take it back ..... fine, I'll make a note of that for the future :)
Devin
Old Master
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:27 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby PVC King » Thu May 13, 2010 8:21 pm

gunter wrote: First lesson: You can construct a reasonably accurate picture of the past from seemingly sparse evidence, if your thinking is clear and the evaluation of the evidence is sound.

Second lesson: If the evaluation of the evidence amounts to a workable theory, just stick it up there and let others hurl abuse at it until, either holes get knocked in the theory, or it becomes clear that the theory stands up.

That’s all that we’re trying to do here:- un-pick the layers and fill out the picture.



R & D or research and development is apparently 90% development of existing knowledge and 10% fresh thinking; I'd not argue with Devin on 17th Century architecture but I like your thought process!!!
PVC King
 

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Mon May 24, 2010 11:07 pm

Image

On the same day that An Taisce's Ian Lumley declared: ''Georgian Dublin was a battle won'' in an interview in the I.T. Weekend Review, last Saturday, some gurriers ripped the copper and lead valleys off the two probable former 'Billys' at nos. 30 and 32 Thomas Street [seen above in a pic from last year]. No. 32 is the chinese shop with the twin roofs and no 30 is the red/brown painted house with the cruciform shaped roof to the right.

Image
some poor quality shots of the stripped roof of no. 30 today
Image

These houses have been left vacant for about two years while a Liam Carroll company sought planning permission for the demolition and redevelopment of the site.

Dublin City Council disgraced itself in granting permission for the demolition of the entire Frawleys site, nos 32 to 36 Thomas St. [no. 30 was outside the boundary of the site] before An Bord Pleanala stepped in and required the retention and restoration of all the existing buildings. I'd be looking for DCC to make amends now with some swift actions to ensure that the owners [Nama?] get in there quickly and protect these buildings before serious deterioration begins.

We can argue about whether the houses are 'Georgian' later.
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:51 pm

Interesting aerial view of those disputed Bachelor's walk houses

Image

no. 4 has the standard cruciform roof of a former 'Billy' with a altered Georgian flat parapet facade. Nos. 5, 6 and 7 are a group of twin roofed structures terminating in simple gables to the rear [something odd has happened to the eastern half of the rear of no. 5?]

No. 5 and no. 7 have the central cross roof [to centre and chimney side in this case only], that relates these roofs very closely to the cruciform roof of a 'Billy', while no. 6 has a full front to back valley which would have relieved the need for a central rain water outlet on the front, that is if the parapets and hipped roofs to the front are the later 'Georgian' alterations that I believe.

Only no. 7 survives today, everything else are Zoe apartments with 'period' facades.

Image
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby fifilarue » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:08 pm

Sorry to butt in but have a quick question. What roofing material was used in the original structures? Any chance they could have been roofed with S-shaped terracotta roof tiles?
fifilarue
Member
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:28 pm

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:50 am

fifilarue wrote:What roofing material was used in the original structures? Any chance they could have been roofed with S-shaped terracotta roof tiles?


I think the general view is that small size slate was the predominant roofing material, but the shaped tiles you mentioned were definitely also in use at this time.

At least one of the six 'Billys' on Hendrick St. was roofed in tiles, but whether it was the original roofing material is open to question.

18th century prints suggest that tiles were mainly used on small vernacular houses in secondary locations, like these two examples in the vicinity of St. Patrick's Cathedral, whereas the 'Billys' in view are shown slated

Image
Malton's view of Cross Poddle

Image
view of Patrick's Close
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby fifilarue » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:43 am

Thanks a million for that Gunter. The tile (see pic) was found not a million miles away from St Patrick's either.
Attachments
roof tile possible 2.jpg
roof tile possible 2.jpg (34.74 KiB) Viewed 6894 times
fifilarue
Member
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:28 pm

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:15 am

A while ago we looked at some late 19th and early 20th century photographs of O'Connell St., Clonmel and found one house on the south side of the street near the West Gate and a terrace of three houses on the north side of the street which exhibited features characteristic of Dutch Billys.

Image Image

Image

The house near West Gate, [no. 39] has lost it's all-important roof and attic storey, but is otherwise substantially complete and retains the reduced remains of a very large corner chimney stack, mid-span floor beams at ground and first floor level and a pair of front-to-back ceiling beams between the front bays at second floor level i.e. the base of the attic storey. The stairs, which appears to have been always located in a rear return, has been completely replaced and everything else studded over, but the bulk of the structure, from basement to second floor level, appears to be intact.

Two of the probable 'Billys' on the north side of the street [nos. 66 and 67], along with no. 65 were demolished for the fine classical 'Munster and Leinster Bank' [now AIB], but remarkably no. 68, survives virtually intact, externally at least.

Image
An Eason Collection view of O'Connell St looking east and the same view today
Image

Image

These lunnette windows are not necessarily proof positive of a former 'Billy', but the steeply pitched, cruciform, roof [the west arm is missing but there are indications that this is an alteration dating to the demolition of it's neighbour] and the way that the hipped front section of roof slams into the present flat parapet, is all quite compelling evidence that we're looking at another Georgian-masked 'Billy'. A basic survey of the interior would likely confirm this.
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:42 pm

Ha, what a gem! Nice round-up there. Great to see the before and after comparison - really puts things in perspective. Those lunettes are startlingly large. I wonder if they were enlarged during the attic modification?

Back on Thomas Street, the pair of nondescript rendered houses immediately to the right of the corner building at the junction with Meath Street are almost certainly of an early date.

Image


Seen here just after the Victorian corner building. The high windows indicate just how grand these houses once were with their steps and probable railed frontages to the street.

Image

However both structures do not appear to be Billies as I had long hoped, but rather a pair of transitional style houses of c. 1745-55.

This somewhat revealing photograph taken in the 1960s shows the rears of the houses as being clearly different from each other in terms of fenestration, roof profile and even building depth. There are also no paired closet returns, while the left-hand house seen below appears to consume the central chimneystack all for itself. Traversing cruciform roof forms are clearly apparent.

Image


To this day, the easternmost house still has a lower roof profile (in spite of roof surfaces being renewed in concrete tile).

Image


The remarkable scale of the westernmost house's quaint roof is quite the spectacle on the streetscape.

Image

The sophistication of the Wide Streets Commissioners block of the 1820s makes for an interesting comparison.

A rear view showing the singular surviving original slate finish to the hip. The sash windows here date from the late 19th century alterations to the front.

Image

The question to be asked of course is what survives to the interiors of the upper floors of these houses. Certainly the lower floors have been completely gutted, carried out for the amalgamation of the properties into The Carpet Mills in the 1970s - now proudly playing host to officially the most hideous shop frontage in the capital.

Also of note is the curious fragment of a facade to the west of the houses as seen below, with a pair of small, slender windows stranded high above the street. Unfortunately, even by the 1960s this building was largely gutted, so we need to go back earlier to get clues as to its origin.

Image


A little further down the street, and as suggested by gunter before, the famous corner building next door to St. Catherine’s Church is indeed of early origin.

Image


For once the vandals give us a helping hand. A smashed window affords us the opportunity to glimpse inside with a zooms lens to first floor level, revealing a corner chimneystack (as suggested by the central stack at roof level) decorated with handsome Victorian egg-and-dart and scrolled cornicing.

Image


A typically fussy centre rose completed the once new look.

Image


Clearly this huge work was a remodeling of some ambition, more than likely carried out c. 1885-1895, involving the retention of elements of the former early Georgian house on the site. It is a pleasant thought that the ghost, the skeleton of the matching house of the surviving russet-toned, cruciform-roofed house to the left at No. 30 remains embedded in No. 29. I’ve a hunch that only the chimneystack, spine wall and possibly the rear wall survive, but there could be more.
GrahamH
Old Master
 
Posts: 4590
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 11:24 am
Location: Ireland

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:09 pm

Speaking of roofscapes and Thomas Street, we probably should look again at Thomas Street in Limerick.

The early core of Georgian New Town Perry seems to have been the grid of streets comprising Georges [O'Connell] Street, William Street and Thomas Street, with Georges Street assuming predominance once it was decided to erect the new bridge linking across to Kings Island via Patrick St./Rutland St.

We've long been intrigued by the three houses on the west side of Georges Street that seem to incorporate the 'Billy' characteristic of a single lunette window in what appears to be an attic storey. Numerous photographs show the Georges Street three with enormously high flat parapets [to match the houses on either side] containing tiny half-round windows. [The middle house appears to have been altered quite early with the insertion of a pair of blind windows to match the two bay arrangement on the lower storeys].

Image

Only the lower section of the right hand house survives today and it'd be doubtful if there are any identifyable features remaining inside, but a 1950s aerial photograph show the roofs from the rear and although the detail isn't as sharp as I'd like, the further 'Billy' characteristic of a cruciform layout to the roof structure appears behind the flat front parapet.

Image

Missing are the characteristic returns and chunky chimneys, but Limerick never seems to have fully embraced the chunky chimney and confusingly returns appear in the 'Billy' position on houses that we know were not 'Billys' while they are as often absent as present on the 'Billys' for which we have good evidence.

Obviously it would be unthinkable that the early phases of 'Georgian' New Town Perry consisted of, or even included, Dutch Billys, but pressing on regardless, more enigmatic evidence turns up across the road at the foot of Thomas Street.

Image

The google images don't reveal much here except perhaps no 7 [the right hand half of 'Chicken King'] which on closer examination is gabled [simple triangle] to the rear and has top froor windows on the front elevation that appear to barely squeeze into the triangle of the roof structure.

Image
Image

Like Graham's pair on Dublin's Thomas Street, I'd probably be happy to let this one go as a 'transitional' house, 'Georgian' but with some of the constructional legacy of the 'Billy' tradition.

Image

No. 7 appear the same in this 1960s aerial view of Limerick's Thomas Street, however the three houses opposite that I marked earlier on the current Google image [nos. 55, 56 and 57], in the 1960s image, reveal far more intrigueing roof profiles. No. 57 appears to have a single window [possibly lunnette] squeezed under the gutter of a low transverse roof which looks like a not particularly well resolved alteration to me and nos. 55 and 56 appear to have originally had steeply pitched cruciform [or at least partially cruciform] roofs with the front and back apexes hipped behind unconvincing flat parapets. Again the top floor windows must be low to the floor for the heads to squeeze between the rafters and again you'd have to ask yourself why would a builder set out to do it this way when the double-pile transverse roof of the standard 'Georgian' model would appear to be the handier route, if 'Georgian' was his goal.

Ironically, if these house were in fact originally gabled [which is unthinkable] or 'transitional' and they were altered to appear more 'Georgian', possible within twenty years of being built, then they've been altered again, probably in the last twenty years, to appear even more 'Georgian' . . . . nice
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:01 am

Back to Thomas Street in Dublin.

As we've long suspected, the sale of the Digital Hub site on the south side of Thomas Street appears never to have been completed. Manor Park Homes, or whoever it was that lodged those gubu planning applications for the site in 2006 and 2007, have now vanished over the horizon and 'The Digital Hub Development Agency', the state agency set up in 2003 to develop and manage 'The Digital Hub' is now back at the controls and seeking to progress matters itself on a vastly more modest scale.

The Digital Hub Development Agency recently lodged a planning application [Reg. no. 2855/10] to convert the old Corporation library at 22-23 Thomas Street, latterly the 'Brewery Hostel' to office use.

Nothing much to get excited about here, except that this confirms that the state is the owner of the two important [and crumbling] former 'Billys' next door at 20 and 21 Thomas Street.

After establishing beyond much doubt some time ago that these two houses are both very early 18th century gabled structures that each retain significant original features, the City Council were politely asked to initiate the designation process that would bestow 'Protected Structure' status on the houses. They were also asked to investigating the ownership of the properties with a view to making the structures weather tight until further research could establish the true value of the houses as probable representatives of the lost 'Dutch Billy' tradition and establish the potential scope for restoration.

While I'd like to think that a great deal has been happening behind the scenes, the likelihood is that actually nothing has been happening at all. I'm not even sure that the water supply to the burst tank in the attic of no. 21 has been turned off. This would be bad enough if Manor Farm Chickens were the owners of the properties, but the state is the owner of the properties.

I think we need to see some action on this now. I'm not impressed that DCC would even contemplate granting permission for the change of use of nos. 22-23 to the same outfit that have shown utter disregard for the architectural heritage of the properties they own next door.

Everyone involved in this has questions to answer, the state, The Digital Hub Agency, Dublin City Council, the participating professionals, everyone.

The city is attempting to obtain UNESCO designation for the Georgian core and at the same time it's allowing the foundations of the city's 18th century grandeur to crumble away.

Not good enough :mad:

This is a 1950s aerial glimpse of the south side of Thomas Street with nos. 20 [blue], 21 [red] and 22-23 [green] marked.

Image

It looks like we mightn't have been too far off with that conjectural reconstruction posted a while back, at least we have confirmation of the original fenestration to the facade of no. 21.
It's interesting also that the full lateral roof to the front of the old library [nos. 22-23] must be quite a recent alteration.
Image
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:18 am

Yes these houses are important in terms of antiquity, survivial of fabric, streetscape value and rare scope for justified gable reinstatement. Indeed, as they are not Protected Structures, nor located in an ACA, unfortunately it is unlikely that DCC can make it a condition that works be carried out to these houses as part of the Library application. I was thinking of this option too, but alas I don't think it'd hold, ahem, water legally.

There has been a lot of movement on all of the houses along this stretch in recent weeks. McGrunder's pub, an amalgam of two houses of apparent mid and late-18th century date, is being cleared out of all its rubbish, including dodgy pub furnishings, while security works have also been happening at the site of the demolished house near the corner with Handel's pub. So there is movement.

Without question though, as the State clearly still owns this, one of the most important stretches of streetscape in Dublin, it must step up to the plate in terms of responsibility in respect of all of these buildings as a matter of urgency.
GrahamH
Old Master
 
Posts: 4590
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 11:24 am
Location: Ireland

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:35 am

The demolished house site, with new galvanised hoarding. This was the last house to be demolished on Thomas Street, only a few years ago (with the exception of the protected house beside The Clock pub, and the protected house with the half missing, recenty deconstructed facade opposite Caffe Noto, and the...)

Image

I remember Devin had a nice photograph of the above house somewhere. It had a painted brick or rendered facade by then.

The large corner chimneystack still clinging on in there - probably of about 1750 date. The hoarding was loose the other day...

Image


The chimneypieces long vanished.

Image


Where the stairs used to be, and partition wall between the landing and front room.

Image


It's hard to know if a basement survives as the ground is so covered with vegetation and rubbish.. Certainly there's swathes of buddeia in there, so it's growing out of something. A bit of the hall floor seems to survive anyway.

Image
GrahamH
Old Master
 
Posts: 4590
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 11:24 am
Location: Ireland

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby CologneMike » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:51 pm

Gunter, interesting observations of the roofscapes on lower Thomas Street and George’s Street. That block including those 3 houses on George Street (128-130) you mentioned above, appear in John Ferrar’s map from 1787. Thus making them part of the first buildings in Newtown Pery. When one reads the following account by Judith Hill, one sees there existed a very strong consensus to conformity back then, even to rebuild when required.

The Grid and a consensus (Judith Hill ~ Building of Limerick)

. . . . . . . The overwhelming impression was of prosperity, ‘modernity’ and uniformity. The uniformity was of course an illusion. Variations existed. For example George’s Street terraces were larger than those of the side streets. Doors were different, some buildings had balconies. But there was consistency; it was the doors of the higher terraces that were wider, balconies tended to occur in the latter terraces.

One might speculate that a set of rules were applied. In the case of London and Dublin rules have been found. There were the Building Acts in London and conditions or covenants inserted into the leases in Dublin. Here is an example in which the corporation of Dublin obliges the lessee:

to leave the quay forty feet wide, and to rebuild the houses in the following regular and uniform manner ... at least three storeys high, besides cellars, the first or shop storey to be nine feet high, the second or middle storey to be ten feet high, the third or garret storey to eight feet high. The front and the rere walls to be fourteen inches thick and built with brick cemented with lime and sand. The window stools and copings to be of mountain stone, and the top of every house to be of an equal height and range with each other (M.Craig / Allen Figgis)


So far no evidence has been found for similar building guidelines in Limerick. Yet heights, widths, materials, windows, steps and stonework were consistently applied. . . . We are dealing with a situation in which a powerful consensus was in operation.


Image

Newtown Pery Grid Plan 1769 ~ Christopher Colles. (larger image)
The small square at the Junction of O’Connell / Thomas Street never materialized (Blocks marked N, E, T, O). It is worth nothing that Thomas Street is pencilled in where Sarsfield Street is today. Old maps can be head wreckers at times.

Image

Newtown Pery Map 1787 ~ John Ferrar (larger image)
The streets are not named, George Street is denoted as the road to Kerry and William Street is simply the new road.

Image

Insurance Plan of Limerick 1897 (larger image)
George Street house numbers (128-130)
User avatar
CologneMike
Old Master
 
Posts: 1146
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:24 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Ireland



cron