'Dutch Billys'

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:58 pm

It has long been commented on that Georgian development in Dublin, Limerick and elsewhere in Ireland never seemed to be quite as uniform as the architectural doctrine behind it suggests it should have been. The stock explanation for this is that the Irish character is not suited to be subservient to a building code, or a set of restrictive guidelines and certainly there may be something in that, even though much of the class of people involved at this time might have been Irish only in the sense that Swift was Irish.

In the case of Dublin anyway, the real explanation however is that, for much of the 18th century, a Georgian doctrine that offered little more than a street architecture of restrained repetition simply couldn't compete here with a thriving indigenous gabled tradition that was creating streetscapes of vibrant rhythm.

So when eventually parental control in matters of street-architecture was re-asserted and an English-like Georgian conformity did take hold here, much of the 18th century city had already been developed and all that the new Georgian doctrine could do was tack on some trademark garden squares and a bit of axial street planning to the pre-existing pattern of organically generated urban growth, in pursuit of a largely successful mission to transform Dublin into London-lite.

Inevitably, one by one, the pre-existing gabled streetscapes of Dublin succumbed to incremental remodelling until eventually almost all trace of the original architectural rhythm was extinguished, resulting in altered streetscapes that just about conformed to, without ever really satisfying, the prevailing architectural philosophy, a half understood fact that later became the justification for the comprehensive demolitions of the 1960s and 70s. So completely has been the cull of perceived second-rate 18th century Dublin streetscapes that today we’re frequently left having to unearth the clues to the illustrious gabled heritage of these streetscapes from deep in the sub-layers of the print and photographic record.

Unfortunately, that’s the only place we’ll get anything now on Usher’s Quay.

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Bartlett's view of Usher's Quay in 1831 and an extract showing nos. 29 - 36 in more detail.
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the un-pedimented facade of one Dutch Billy [no. 32] survives, but the window patterns suggest altered 'Billys' also at nos. 29, 35 and 36.

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part of the same stretch [nos. 32 to 37] in 1952, reproduced in McCullough [new edition], the Georgian facades are nearly all a veneer here, note the twin roofs apparent at no. 32 and 35
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an aerial view, also from the 1950s, of the same stretch with the twin roof structures of nos. 32 and 35 clearly evident and central chimney stacks on virtually all houses.

As we've seen before at Bachelors Walk and elsewhere, this type of roof structure denotes a 'twin-Billy' as almost everyone knowns, but that no. 32 Usher's Quay was originally a 'twin-Billy' is corroborated by this print of the facade of 31 + 32 from a 19th century billhead of 'Atkinson and Co.' leather suppliers, published in Peter Pearson's treasure trove of a book 'The Heart of Dublin'

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A carriage archway has been ploughed through part of the ground floor, and the twin pediments that originally would have terminated the twin roof apexes [not illustrated] are lost, but everything else that we conjectured for the facade of the similar 'twin-Billy' at no. 34 Molesworth Street - the four bay second floor over a three bay first floor and a fine off-centre entrance door, is there in black and white.

It's interesting to note that the process of 'Georgianification' in this case continued right into the middle of the 19th century at which point the entire facade of no. 32 was rebuilt to a standard three-bay pattern.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:47 pm

gunter wrote:In the case of Dublin anyway, the real explanation however is that, for much of the 18th century, a Georgian doctrine that offered little more than a street architecture of restrained repetition simply couldn't compete here with a thriving indigenous gabled tradition that was creating streetscapes of vibrant rhythm.

So when eventually parental control in matters of street-architecture was re-asserted and an English-like Georgian conformity did take hold here, much of the 18th century city had already been developed and all that the new Georgian doctrine could do was tack on some trademark garden squares and a bit of axial street planning to the pre-existing pattern of organically generated urban growth, in pursuit of a largely successful mission to transform Dublin into London-lite.
It's not one that everyone would share, but you're entitled to your opinion.


gunter wrote:As we've seen before at Bachelors Walk and elsewhere, this type of roof structure denotes a 'twin-Billy' as almost everyone knowns
Nice to hear a balanced, reasoned sum-up of the whole debate :)


gunter wrote:that no. 32 Usher's Quay was originally a 'twin-Billy' is corroborated by this print of the facade of 31 + 32 from a 19th century billhead of 'Atkinson and Co.' .........

..... the twin pediments that originally would have terminated the twin roof apexes [not illustrated] are lost, but everything else that we conjectured for the facade of the similar 'twin-Billy' at no. 34 Molesworth Street - the four bay second floor over a three bay first floor and a fine off-centre entrance door, is there in black and white..
Well, ok, the demolished 32 Usher's Quay had a perpendicular-laid, double roof and appears to have been some form of gable-fronted house originally. But, again, it's conjecture to declare it to have been twin gable-fronted on the basis of those two historic drawn depictions you show. (And the house has some potentially interesting parallels with the material posted earlier on the demolished 34 Molesworth Street, though it's all a bit conjectural too.)

For one, in order for pediments to have been in proportion to those curves at each side of the parapet as drawn in the Atkinson billhead, there is scarcely room for two pediments, let alone two more inner curves (and twin curvilinear pedimented gables are even less plausible on the building as drawn in the Bartlett print).

I'd love to believe it gunter but, as always, the biggest clanger is that twin gable fronts on small plots never come up in old prints ... not even the very oldest ones by Place and Tudor before the earliest wave of alterations would have 'got' them.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:58 pm

Lol this is brilliant. Talk about being on the verge of a visual confirmation, but not being able to nail it! :D It takes the phrase making small steps to a whole new level of frustration.

Agreed with Devin in this case that a pair of gables would be extremely tight, but still, not without the bounds of the vernacular. We must also remember that this is an artist's impression - not a photograph. An accurate, scaled depiction of former gabled outlines was unlikely to be a top priority... In fact, the pitch of the double-pile roofs probably couldn't manage that arrangement in reality.

Barlett's depiction also teaches us an important lesson in respect of his apparently standard Billy at No. 32 - don't believe everything you read in a 19th century print.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:04 am

Devin wrote:. . . . it's conjecture to declare it to have been twin gable-fronted on the basis of those two historic drawn depictions you show.

. . . . for one, in order for pediments to have been in proportion to those curves at each side of the parapet as drawn in the Atkinson billhead, there is scarcely room for two pediments, let alone two more inner curves (and twin curvilinear pedimented gables are even less plausible on the building as drawn in the Bartlett print).


GrahamH wrote:Agreed with Devin in this case that a pair of gables would be extremely tight, but still, not without the bounds of the vernacular. We must also remember that this is an artist's impression - not a photograph. An accurate, scaled depiction of former gabled outlines was unlikely to be a top priority... In fact, the pitch of the double-pile roofs probably couldn't manage that arrangement in reality.


The proportions in the print may not be completely accurate and the roof ridges [that are a stand out feature of the '50s photographs] are not depicted, but even if we work with the proportions of the front elevation as drawn and etched, a pair of twin gables to match those on the pair of houses at the New Row South corner with Ward's Hill, would fit quite well. I've taken the liberty of marking in such pediments on a copy of the print below.

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19th century photograph of the twin gabled pair of houses at the corner of New Row South and Ward's Hill. Again I've marked up the detail where it had clearly been eroded or out of shot.

At the risk of re-igniting this row again,'twin-Billys' fall into two categories: [1] close-coupled examples like these above where the centre curve between the pediments is not in proportion to the much bigger sweeping curves on the outside, and, [2] evenly spaced examples where the side roofs don't sweep down lower than the inner roofs to the centre valley, and presumably therefore the linking curves more or less match.

It's the latter type [like no. 35 Usher's Quay, 32 Thomas Street, 120 Cork Street among others] that we're having the difficulty finding corroborating images of, but as we've said before, the consistency in roof design is pretty compelling, I would have thought.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:52 am

Your handiwork makes it clearer as ever ;). What was off-putting in this case was the apparent symmetrical positioning of the perpendicular pitches, which it turns out - as with others of this type - are steeper to the centre than to the outer slopes, which isn't as evident from the air. Is it correct to say that most double-pile roofs we know of share this characteristic? It doesn't appear to be the case. Bachelor's Walk looks symmetrical, as do most of the quayside houses. Cork Street verges on the former type though, as does the Molesworth house if I recall.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:52 am

Well I have to hand it to you for sheer unsinkable determination on this, gunter!

Sure, you can take the house as represented on the billhead, draw in gables (with tiny pediments) and tie it somewhat to that doubled-gabled, four-bay house in the Liberties, but then the depiction of the house in the Bartlett print - which seems to have a Maltonesque standard of draughting accuracy about it - pulls it in another direction; ie. that of a single gable. If some truth about the gabled elevation did filter onto that billhead, perhaps it was just single gabled with a large central feature / pediment?

The Barlett representation also raises the spectre that, of the extant double-perpendicular-laid-roof houses on standard plots that were originally gabled (possibly 7 Bachelors Walk but probably not 32 Thomas Street or 120 Cork Street imo), were those small double roofs simply fronted by a single gable, as would seem more realistic to the scale of the house? Or were double roofs just one of the many alterations made to earlier buildings over time, as there is strong evidence for in some cases?
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:56 pm

Devin wrote:. . . . If some truth about the gabled elevation did filter onto that billhead, perhaps it was just single gabled with a large central feature / pediment?

The Barlett representation also raises the spectre that, of the extant double-perpendicular-laid-roof houses on standard plots that were originally gabled were those small double roofs simply fronted by a single gable, as would seem more realistic to the scale of the house?


I think Devin is coming round . . . . he's just coming round at his own pace :)

The only example of a twin roofed house terminating in a single large gable - that I can think of - is that ship-wright's house in Deptford, London, posted on this thread last year. I've read the English Heritage report on that structure and I certainly wouldn't like to be using that little bag of puzzles as the explanation for an entire Dublin house typology.

As depicted on that 19th century bill-head, no. 32 Usher's Quay has a superficial similarity with another prominant 'Billy' house type, the Large, single pedimented, mansion of which one of the best documented example is probably the Lord Chancellor's Mansion at no. 24 Chancery Lane.

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This RSAI lantern slide of Chancery lane unfortunately post-dates the demolition of the Lord Chancellor's house, which has been replaced by the brick building with the chalk markings on the wall on the extreme right, but as all the other houses in the photograph closely match the line drawing of the street in Shaw's Dublin Directory of 1850 [except that the position of the second carved door at no 25 is switched with the window in the photograph] the accuracy of the depiction of the Lord Chancellor's Mansion [the last house on the right] can probably be relied upon.

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I suspect that all of the houses from no. 24 [Lord Chancellor's] to no. 30 were originally gabled, but Chancery Lane would have been too narrow for altered hipped roofs to have been visible for the draughtsmen to note on Shaw's street elevation. The fact that the attic storey windows at no. 24 are close together and line up with the fenestration below [unlike the Usher's Quay house where the attic storey windows were spread apart and we know that the house had twin roof ridges] suggest that this house originally had a single large pediment masking a single roof ridge. I've taken the liberty of marking in a possible version of this pediment on the detail below.

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Devin wrote:Or were double roofs just one of the many alterations made to earlier buildings over time, as there is strong evidence for in some cases?


aghh, . . . . and you were doing so well ;)
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:06 pm

gunter wrote:As depicted on that 19th century bill-head, no. 32 Usher's Quay has a superficial similarity with another prominant 'Billy' house type, the Large, single pedimented, mansion of which one of the best documented example is probably the Lord Chancellor's Mansion at no. 24 Chancery Lane.
So you're actually conceding that a double roof might not always actually point to a double gable?* ....... let me sit down and catch my breath for a moment :)


*that is, when there is evidence to say that the house was gabled in the first place, which there is in the case of 32 Usher's Island
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:08 pm

Devin wrote:So you're actually conceding that a double roof might not always actually point to a double gable?* ....... let me sit down and catch my breath for a moment


Yes, it's a possibility but - I don't know if I mentioned - the only know example is in Deptford, some 300 miles away.

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The ship-wright's house in the naval dockyard at Deptford from a 1747 painting, and an aerial view of roof today [the facade has been rebuilt].

. . . . whereas, in contrast, twin-gabled examples that can be found around the corner at Jervis Street, and both sides of New Row South [confirmed] as well as a dozen other locations in Dublin [if you join the dots].

But sit down there and take a little rest, there's no hurry, wait till we find your slippers.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:27 pm

gunter wrote:. . . . whereas, in contrast, twin-gabled examples that can be found around the corner at Jervis Street, and both sides of New Row South [confirmed] as well as a dozen other locations in Dublin [if you join the dots].
Ah but that's the whole nub of the disagreement - the grounds for joining those large double-gabled examples at Jervis Street & New Row etc. with a dozen or so other (existing or otherwise recorded) cited small ones ...... why don't we start again, lol.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Punchbowl » Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:53 am

Anyone know the current satus of Peter Byrnes Butchers on Camden Street?

It's a full on Billy right? (a cruciform roof etc), and it was on sale (and according to the owner when I dropped in, 'probably going to be knocked due to the large amount of space out back) and now the sale sign has been removed..
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:05 pm

Very little doubt Punchbowl that the Byrne's Butchers is a 'full-on' Billy, see apex of hipped roof peeping up over the flat parapet

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91 Camden Street is on the Record of Protected Structures [no. 1164], so in theory nothing bad can happen to it :rolleyes: Current information is that the house is still For Sale, but as nothing is actually selling these days, the estate agents were probably sent away and told where to insert their invoice.

I wouldn't be too harsh with Mr. Byrne, he might be a crochety old geezer but he's also an old time Dublin butcher and he's kept a tidy business running here for many years. I suspect he would be of a generation that doesn't fully get the implications of 'Protected Structures' . . . . or the 1963 planning act for that matter.

It's a pity he's selling up, we mightn't be so lucky with the next owner.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:13 am

Somebody did their Mubc thesis on that building some years ago - may be available in the Richview library, UCD.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:50 pm

One of the real gems of the city.

Going down under again, Cork has some very good intact gabled houses of the simple triangular tradition. A vernacular once commonplace in most urban centres that people found difficult to shake off long after the arrival of the classical taste.

This gem in on Margaret Street, just off George's Quay. A simple, unpretentious expression with early exposed sash boxes.

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And beautifully maintained (with the exception of a newly inserted sneaky PVC stairwell window, gah).

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As can be seen, it also features a typical closet return.

These marvellous specimens up on Shandon Street are distinctly English in character. Presumably they emerged at the same time as the new St. Anne's of Shandon in the 1720s.

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It is difficult to make out if the end house's gable was altered at a later date. Possibly not, as the house gets engulfed to the rear by more ancient housing, suggesting it may always have been a one-off.

The remarkable side elevation, showing a partially built up triangular gable to the right.

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More wonderful houses directly across the road. The roofs here are truly enormous, as also seen in the distance in the picture above.

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There seems to be little effort made to design these as a unified composition. Perhaps the common case of a builder building two houses and living in the larger one himself.

Even houses with a Victorian veneer are clearly early in date, as with this pair with their paired gables and tiny windows at first floor level.

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To the rear they feature an enormous shared return.

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Alas my battery died up on Shandon Steeple, so the opportunity to get rear snaps went up in smoke :mad:

Even 19th century houses surrounding the former Butter Market take their cue from the grand old dames of the area.

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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:46 pm

Graham, great images from Shandon. The condition of that cluster of gabled houses on the corner of Shandon Street and John Philpott-Curran Street is a real concern though. Oddly whereas nos 5 and 6 [O'Hara's Dental Practice and Star Cabs respectively] are Protected Structures, no. 7, the corner house next door with the side elevation to J P-C St. is not. Nos. 22 - 23 [Frank Nolan] the doubled gabled house is a PS also, but again nos. 118 and 119 are not. I think you're spot on with your identification of all of these houses as early 18th century gabled houses, with some later alterations. The presence in Cork of a strong Victorian tradition of gable fronted houses makes it difficult to read the situation down there especially since some houses seem to have morphed straight from 'Billy' to Victorian, without the Georgian layers were used to seeing in Dublin.

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Looking at Chearnley's view of Shandon from c. 1746, he depicts quite a clear hierarchy of house types with 'Billys' dominating the main thoroughfare, then Mallow Lane - now Shandon Street and Gerald Griffin Street - with a range of vernacular typologies including gabled dormers and simple transverse roofs predominating amongst the buildings lining the secondary streets and laneways.

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I've high-lighted Shandon Street by outlining the roofs of the near side of the street in red.

If the Shandon Street houses Graham has detailed are survivors from this 'Billy' streetscape, and if they are true to form, they will probably have been built, or at least faced, in red brick which may survive behind the rendered and painted finishes that now give the houses a 19th century appearance, I note a fine brick chimney in the photograph of the double gabled house at nos. 22 - 23.

Current aerial views show a derelict house a bit further up Gerald Griffin Street, near the back of the Neptune Stadium, that appears to have a series of substantial front-to-back beams at what would have been second floor, or attic storey level, we'll have to check that out.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:57 am

The stretch of quay in Cork that we can't see in the Chearnley view is North Mall and Popes Quay, which are both shown fully developed on the maps by the 1740s.

Nos 2 - 17 North Mall are included on the record of 'protected structures', but it's not clear whether this is because of the quality of the Victorian streetscape here or because of the legacy of early 18th century fabric.

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Possibly the most interesting house in the group is the four-bay pink house with the carriage archway on the right [marked with an X]. the nasty horizontal windows to the second floor appear to have replaced a pair of centrally located windows seen here in a NLI view from c1900, which also shows the outline of a large single hipped roof behind the top floor screen wall. This arrangement, together with a hint of very low rain water outlets on either side of the facade, suggests that we're looking at one of those wide low, single gabled, houses also seen on the new quay frontage in Waterford at this time [in the Van der Hagen view]. Central chunky chimney stacks to each of the five or six houses to the left of the pink house suggests that this may not be the only house in the terrace that may retain fabric from the original phase of quay side development in Cork, the gabled street-architecture phase.

p.s. As the image posted here, in the detail, the roof actually looks more like a twin profile, whereas I had that second dark profile figured to be the gable of the roof to the house beyond. We need a good aerial view from the fifties I think.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:08 am

For anyone with a pain in their head squinting at grainy images of altered roofs that may, or may not, indicate that the original street facades were once gabled, here's a piece of Billy eye-candy from Newry -

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nos. 15 and 17 Boat Street, Newry, courtesy of a 1950s N. Ireland Archaeological Survey
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:08 am

Heheh - wowza!

No doubt they were well known as 'the pair' in the area. Just imagine what they were like without that slurry of pebbledash! In spite of the immediate symmetry, they don't appear to have been built as a precisely regular pair - there's quite a bit of guesswork going on which is quaint. What's there now do you know gunter?

Great discovery on North Mall. The houses along here are extremely deceptive with their decorous Italianate and stucco facades, but you're right on the roofs - there are central stacks visible, and that does look like a double-pitch roof on your pink house, which throws things a bit... The pink and blue pair two doors down to the left, with their large and densely clustered windows to the middle, appear modified from earlier origins. It'd be nice to find a few more four-bay gabled houses in the mix along here - there are definitely a few contenders.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:23 am

GrahamH wrote:Just imagine what they were like without that slurry of pebbledash!


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Graham, they appear to have been built of rubble stone throughout [although the surviving chimney was brick] so the rough-cast render may well be the original finish, which links them to the vernacular version of the Billy tradition which we also saw at Sheep Street in Limerick, Riversdale House in Kilmainham and the Mount Tilly terrace in Buncrana.

GrahamH wrote:In spite of the immediate symmetry, they don't appear to have been built as a precisely regular pair - there's quite a bit of guesswork going on which is quaint.


. . . but perhaps not as quaint and lopsided as these three lads in the market square in the south German town of Schwabisch Hall :) -

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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:35 pm

GrahamH wrote:Returning to the pair of formerly gabled houses on South Anne Street in Dublin profiled by gunter earlier in the thread, the small building next door to them also appears to be of a similar early date. It's the stunted third building in from the corner.

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Distinctly unremarkable, it exhibits an almost industrial quality typical of those grim remodellings of the first third of the 20th century.

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Look a little closer and wowza!, we have an early 18th century door.

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What a charmer.

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Bless their frugal hearts eh.

The brickwork is tuck pointed underneath all that paint. The moulded string course appears to be granite, which if the case, and original, would make it one of the few to survive anywhere in the city.

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The rear of the house features apparent remnants of exposed and flush sash boxes.

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The interior seems encouragingly coherent from what can be observed from outside. There may well be early fixtures in there.


I think Graham's gut instinct may have been right about this little gem at no. 29 South Anne Street . . . . there is certainly more to it than meets the eye.

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A high level glimpse over the roof-tops from the 60s indicates that no. 29 originally had an attic storey with one of those generous lunette windows that keep appearing wherever 'Billys' are sought out. The roof is still baffling, but certainly there was a perpendicular element to it which, together with the lunette window, strongly suggests that originally there was a gable finish to the front, although other features suggest that this house may have been extended and altered very early on.

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For a start, the house has an extraordinary top-lit stairs in the middle of the plan that I would have liked to have taken more pictures of, but an oriental lady was having none of it and gunter's seen enough Jackie Chan movies to know when it's the right time to back away.

Crouching Tiger may have won the first round, but there'll be another day.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:01 am

What a marvellous find! :D Clearly someone's been ahead of you, insofar as it's a Protected Structure, but 'commercial premises' doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

It seems to be quite similar to the equally remarkable swirling staircase in No. 10 South Frederick Street, but South Anne Street seems a decade or so earlier.

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Is that an egg-and-dart architrave poking into shot to the right of your picture gunter? Talk about the most unassuming house on the planet! This place definitely warrants a closer investigation. The two houses further down also appear to have top-lit centrally placed staircases judging by their roofs.

On the Newry pair, I presumed they weren't part of the rough cast render tradition as they have brick front walls, but moreover the capping ridge that defines the gables' profile only appears to have been made so clunky at a later date with the sloppy application of render over it, suggesting modification of the wider facade. Have we precedent for a mannered brick front facade with stone for the substance of the structure? I can't think of any though.
Indeed, just looking at the rear gables there, their tops are built of brick (though possibly later). Is that rear picture available in a better resolution to zoom in on the back of that sliver of the front gable?
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Paul Clerkin » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:10 am

Wow what a find Gunter - fantastic staircase
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:21 am

GrahamH wrote:On the Newry pair . . . . is that rear picture available in a better resolution to zoom in on the back of that sliver of the front gable?


I've zoomed as much as I can zoom . . . . in the shadow of the chimney I think I can make out rubble stonework on the rear of the pediment. I'm pretty sure the facade is rubble, though as you say, it's unlikely that this particular coat of render is original.

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Most of the Nicholas St./Mary St. Billys in Limerick [and not just the great five storey one beside the Exchange] appear to have been stone-built but with full brick facades, but outside Limerick like you I can't just think of any.

These Newry Billys must have been the ones Maurice Craig referred to as having existed - 'until quite recently'
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:07 pm

Back on Usher's Quay, there was a particularly crisp former Billy at no. 12, which is round about where that filling station with the 2 litres of milk for 99c [splendid establishment and long may it thrive] is now located.

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front and rear views of no 12 Usher's Quay plundered from IAA files

If we put the information on no.12 together with the identical depiction of no. 29 in the Bartlett view of 1832 and the bill-head depiction of no. 32, the picture that emerges of Usher's Quay is one of a thoroughly coherent gabled streetscape where sober single gable pediments would have been loop-linked with busy twin pediments in what must have originally been a streetscape of lyrical quality.

As an aside, a poignant fact emerged in a trawl of the records relating to no. 32. This was the address given by a private Stephen Byrne of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who enrolled in the British army in January 1916 and who was executed for desertion at Basseux in October 1917 - another strand in our complicated history.

Returning to the building record, the evidence suggests that Billys extended westward onto Usher's Island too, the final stretch of quay to be developed until the 19th century.

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both versions of the Brocas view of 1811, the exaggeratedly decrepit print above and the cleaner line drawing below, depict Billys to the west of Moira House.

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The only definitively Georgian House in this stretch is 'The Dead' house on the right, several of the others have unconvincing roofs and chucky chimneys that could suggest that their original form may have been consistent with the glimpse of Billy streetscape in the Brocas depiction

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aerial view of usher's Island from the late 1950s, with Moira House [later the right-hand half of the Mendicity Institute] outlined in red.

So if we take Usher's Island as the western extremity of developed quay frontage and the Billyscape at Sir John Rogerson's Quay [as partially anticipated by Brooking in 1728 and as partially recorded by Malton seventy years later] as the eastern extremity, are we not looking at a 3km streetscape of pretty remarkable consistency in architectural treatment? although admittedly incorporating a number of short stretches where quay frontage had not yet been made, or where haphazard older building stock survived.
gunter
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:27 pm

Hard to say. Take the 1753 Tudor print of Essex Bridge & old Custom House - effectively a 'ground view' of Rocque. There are some gables, but other building types in the mix too.

Not everyone gets off on the idea of a continuous gabled streetscape anyway. Many people would find 10 or 15 gables in a row waayy too busy.

The Quays in their 'organic Georgian' form in the 200 years up to 1950 were probably the ultimate statement of Irish urbanism.
Devin
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