'Dutch Billys'

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:21 pm

And, yes, I know there are a handful of less easily dissected buildings like 7 Bachelors Walk and 42 Manor Street but it's the bulk of the existing or recorded perpendicular double roof examples I'm talking about ......... but I don't need to say that, do I? :-)
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:11 pm

Can we leave the 'Twin Billy' argument for a day or two. I think we may be able to nail this down conclusively shortly . . . . . but then again I had thought that we had already done that, on at least half a dozed occassions :rolleyes:

GrahamH wrote:
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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.



A short footnote to Graham’s dissertation on these houses on the corner of Thomas Street and Meath Street.

A memorial of a lease dated 22 August 1720 records that a George Eastwood of the City of Dublin, Gentleman, leased a house ‘at the Glibb [market] on St. Thomas Street . . . . at the corner of Meath Street’ [predecessor to ‘Cash Converters’] to a Henry Fitzgerald of the City of Dublin, Hatter, for the period of thirty one years in return for the annual rent of twenty eight pounds ‘over and above all taxes which so ever’.

The interesting thing is that the house is described as ‘. . . commonly called ye Dutch House’.

Although we can’t know for certain what the reasons were behind this nickname, given that none of the parties involved with this house appear to have been Dutch and given that there is nothing obvious in the records to suggest that the occupants of the property where in any way pot-smoking tulip merchants, it would seem reasonable to conclude that this colloquial label attached itself to the property as a result of the particular appearance of the structure.

While it might initially seem odd that the records appear to single out an individual house as ‘Dutch’, given that Dublin was coming down with Dutch gabled houses by the 1720s, it should be noted that older streets like Thomas Street, which Speed shows fully developed by 1610, would presumable have been slow to acquire urban renewal in the form of bang up-to-date new building stock and it probably wasn’t until the arrival of major interventions, like the opening of the new thoroughfare of Meath Street in the late 17th century, that the opportunity presented itself to make an architectural statement on a newly created prominent corner site.

In the circumstances, I’m going to run with the conclusion that the current prominent, but filthy, Victorian building with the chamfered corner and the canary yellow Cash Converters shop front [that Graham has illustrated in detail], is a rebuilding of one of the pioneering Dutch Billys that began the transformation of Dublin from a dreary city of low, grey-scale, lime wash in the 17th century into a confident red-brick mercantile capital of European scale by the middle of the 18rh century.

I only wish I could find some way to claim it had twin gables :)
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:06 am

Heh that's a nice find gunter! I believe there are also references to 'Dutch' houses on Meath Street in deeds dating from the 1690s and early 1700s - again tying in with the likelihood of Meath Street standing out like a beacon of urban sophistication in the Liberties, as a planned thoroughfare with its entire building stock emerging within a thirty year period.

It's great we have the Glibb Market reference, as it confirms George Eastwood's house was on the, ahem, Cash Converters side, rather than the other eastern corner which no longer exists due to the surgery exacted here by the Wide Streets Commissioners in the early 1820s. It is also satisfying that the exact plot now occupied by the Victorian seems to be the same as that of our Dutch friend :)
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:15 pm

Just another snippet on that Thomas Street/Meath Street corner which shows up how difficult it can be to interpret buildings sometimes:

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The Victorian corner building [the present Cash Converters premises] can easily be identified as the same in both views, but in the grainy 1891 view [bottom], the two adjoining houses are [reasonably] clearly shown to have been originally four storey structures, despite having an identical parapet height to their three storey manifestation today [top picture]. Clearly somebody [presumably 'The Carpet Mills', or their predecessors] at some stage decided to sacrifice an upper floor in order to gain higher and more impressive retail space at ground floor level and possibly also equalize the upper floor levels with those in the adjoining Victorian corner building, which they still appear to occupy, in some distinctly low grade manner, today.

You'd be a long time trying to figure that one out without the benefit of the 19th century photograph ;)
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:43 am

Interesting choice of jacket cover on a new book purporting to tell the story of 'The Eighteenth-Century Dublin Town House'

. . . . . . Image

Interesting, because this is a book that gives you half the picture :rolleyes:

The jacket picture is the right hand half of Joseph Tudor's version of the Sackville Mall prospect, the one showing Gardiner's proposed Mall lined with spartan brick boxes, unrealistically inadequate chimneys and no roofscape - all as part of a cunning marketing ploy to convince Dubliners that, in their beloved Dutch Billys with their massive corner chimney stacks, steeply pitched roofs and pedimented gables, they were purchasing an out-dated style of house.

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In the foreground, the crisp regimented terraces available to purchase from Mr. Gardiner, and in the background [you were supposed to take the hint] a montage of the topsy turvey Dutch gabled terraces of rival developers.

Apart from a quick skip through the typologies in the chapter by McCullough [this time with the picture captions properly attributed] don't expect to find that half of the story of the 18th century Dublin town house explored . . . once again.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:35 am

Haha - knew gunter would pick up on the, ahem, 'Pimlico' house ;)

That's a lovely little discovery re the backdrop to Gardiner's Mall :). Discovery in the sense that I imagine hardly anyone has ever had the sharp eye to notice it, or if they had, ever realised its significance. The prospect was always known as something of a marketing ploy, but not to such a blatent degree. The joys of high resolution eh! We must also remember that lower Drogheda Street and Henry Street were still lined with such dwellings, so gable-fronted houses did provide the very real context as well as the artistic scenery to the Sackville Mall development.

The new book, which I have only skimmed thus far, is an impressive volume in its breadth of subjects, but fully agreed on the need for an express focus on the period's architectural formative years. Perhaps understandably, McCullough limits his topic to house plans, so we shouldn't necessarily have to rely on his chapter for a stab at early domestic architecture. In the absence of a dedicated chapter, which is unquestionably warranted, at the very least the role of expanding on the issue fell to Robin Usher with his Domestic architecture, the old city and the suburban challenge, c. 1660-1700, Alas, the architecture under the spotlight here is almost exclusively aristocratic, and tells us little of the majority of domestic buildings populating the city at that time. Brendan Twomey's Financing speculative property development in early eighteenth century Dublin looks encouraging and beautifully written and I look forward to reading it - as indeed every topic in the book. A highly stimulating publication.

McCullough gets particularly juicy when he goes off-topic at the end of his essay. A number of very pertinent issues raised - exquisitely expressed as ever - that are worthy of being trashed out more here at some point. And in Dublin City Council.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Boooooog » Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:04 am

Hello all. Long time reader, first time poster. Just thought I should share a few of my Dutch Billy pics with you guys as I'm not allowed mention them at home anymore, being obsessed with 'em an' all. Unfortunately I can't seem to upload them, they fit all the parameters. I'm using a mac, does that make a difference?

Re: 25 Aungier St, is that a length of waven pipe running through the centre of the building to facilitate the decay? Who is the owner? Are they intentionally trying to destroy it?

Also check out Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's short story "Strange Occurances on Aungier St" in which he gives a charming Victorian description of a DB.

Does anyone have a rough date for that lovely row of buildings on Fownes St, where Flip is?
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:02 pm

i know your problem - this server needs a reboot
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Boooooog » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:23 am

Correction. The name of that Sheridan Le Fanu story is An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier St, and can be found in Madam Crowl's Ghost and Other Stories.

I would be interested to hear anyone's thoughts on this building on Lwr Baggot St/Ely Place. The gables are not of the same height, which is not too clear in the pic. Certainly the Ely Place end is on Roque, as to whether it's the same building...Image

http://yfrog.com/65lwrbaggotst2j
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:15 pm

Boooooog wrote:Does anyone have a rough date for that lovely row of buildings on Fownes St, where Flip is?


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Craig gives '1740s' for this stretch

Some day someone is going to have to un-pick Fownes Street and see exactly what we're looking at, I don't trust those mansard roofs and the adjoining four-bay with the former carriage arch and diminishing number of windows in the top storey could be interpreted a number of different ways . . . all of them gabled, it goes without saying :)

Boooooog wrote:Correction. The name of that Sheridan Le Fanu story is An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier St, and can be found in Madam Crowl's Ghost and Other Stories.


That's interesting about the Sheridan le Fanu story being set in an Aungier Street house, are there descriptions of the building in the text do you know, or are you going to make us read the book to find out?

Boooooog wrote:I would be interested to hear anyone's thoughts on this building on Lwr Baggot St/Ely Place. The gables are not of the same height, which is not too clear in the pic. Certainly the Ely Place end is on Roque, as to whether it's the same building...
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The Ely Place terrace [all now reconstructed pastiche except for the corner house] was always intriguing for it's not-quite-mainstream architectural features - the un-rusticated stonework facing to the ground floor and the round-headed windows at both ground and first floor levels - but the quasi 'Billy' pediments on the side elevation are unlikely to be an original 1770s [or 80s] nod to the 'Billy' tradition and probably more likely to be a Victorian attempt to enliven the dull flanking elevation.

A small number of Dublin Georgians did have round-headed windows on the first floor, there are surviving examples on Camden Street and Thomas Street, and there is at least one image of a 'Billy' with this feature also, a house on the Coombe adjoining the hospital, to the west, but how reliable this representation is could be open to question, given the depicted glazing bar arrangement.

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One of the valid criticisms of Dublin Georgian is the frequent lack of attention to corner sites, especially ones like the Ely Place/Baggot Street [or is this still Merrion Row?] corner where the site commanded such a prominant position and where the flanking street pre-dated the street that the terrace fronts onto. Almost certainly if this terrace had been developed during the 'Billy' phase the corner building would have been designed with 'frontage' to both streets. Blank flanked Billys were common too, but usually we can make the case that the secondary street was not envisaged at the time of construction, but if we go back another century or so, imagine what the cagework tradition would have done with a corner site like this.

Boooooog, I don't think this corner is shown developed on Rocque, or indeed on Scalé's up-dated version of Rocque.

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site marked with an X on Rocque above and Scalé below

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Ely Place is here labelled 'Hume Row'
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Boooooog » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:18 am

Hey Gunter, sorry, you're right. I thought Ely Place was the lane underneath the 'R' in 'Road' on Roque.

Funny, last time I looked it was Merrion Row. But if you can make out the street sign in the photo it says Lower Baggot St.

As regards the rounded windows on Georgian buildings, there's another corner example on the bridge-end of Caple St, that Malton drew around 1805. It's still pretty much the same.

As to earlier 18 cent gabled gaffs, there are rounded windows in a picture of yours earlier in this thread (post 331) to the right and in the background on Francis St. Also in the Newmarket pic (post 335), not so much in the window frame but in the brickwork mirroring the curve in the top of the door.

I'm not at home tonight, but I'll post Le Fanu's description in the next few days, for the Hallo'een spirits out there.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:23 am

Boooooog, relieving arches over the windows of either the second floor or, more commonly, the attic storey are definitely a characteristic of the gabled tradition here - up to about 1720? after which time the feature begins to disappear. Actual round headed windows are a different thing and very rare, although I've thought of a couple more Georgian examples on Westland Row; the present Academy of Music building and the two adjoining houses to the south.

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Back to roof profiles:

There used to be a terrace of three very interesting three storey houses on North King Street commanding the vista up the full length of Queen Street from the bridge.

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detail of Rocque's map [1757] with the three houses in question [nos. 91, 92 and 93] marked with a red X. Another interesting property [which I think may be no. 101] is outlined in blue

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A very grainy detail from a 1950s aerial view shows the three houses at nos. 91 - 93 before demolition, each with what appears to be the same double-roof-with-central-cross-member layout that we saw at 5,6 and 7 Bachelors Walk.

A second grainy 1950s view of this terrace this time taken from street level unfortunately misses the roofscape, however the particular layout of the top floor windows may be revealing. In the case of the right hand pair of houses [nos. 91 and 92] the top floor windows are clearly spread slightly wider apart than the larger first floor windows below.

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I know I'm barred from drawing conclusions from this kind of thing, but I will just point out that this unusual fenestration arrangement would probably have resulted in the top floor windows lining up with the pair of roof ridges above. . . . . . I've use the word 'pair' here because some people get upset when I use the word 'twin'.

According to Paddy Crosbie's brilliant book of aul Dublin 'Your Dinner's Poured Out' [from which this image is plundered] these particular North King Street houses were known locally as 'The Cherry Steps'


Further up the street and away from talk of double roofs, a single little gabled house from this period has survived at no. 101, now surrounded by a cluster of new apartment blocks.

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This is a very curious little structure that should be examined closely before anything bad happens to it. For a start, it's not immediately clear why the cross element of the cruciform roof appears to be located towards the rear of the section as opposed to being centrally located where it would normally abut the single chimney stack. Unfortunately the Google views are too indistinct to draw many conclusions and none of the people with over-looking balconies seem interested in answering their doorbells :mad:
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:10 am

A little gem of a place - a full survey is urgently required. Is it on the RPS gunter? Any knowledge of the interior?

We appear to have another surviving Billy in Dundalk in the middle of Clanbrassil Street, the main street.

This 1880-1900 photograph below shows an ancient looking building to the right of the grandiose Victorian pile. With a later addition of a beautiful 19th century timber shopfront to the ground floor, initial impressions would suggest the floor levels were altered, similar to the Thomas Street house (nice find gunter!), but large expanses of wall are commonplace in Irish vernacular. This could be the original arrangement.

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The view today. Just what is it with unfortunate gable-fronted houses and light industrial makeovers?! Modernist me eye.

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Sadly, its right-hand neighbour has been completely rebuilt only recently, but from what I can make out, the substructure of our building remains intact. The building appears to have had its front facade and part of its interior rebuilt in a 1950s makeover (including the last vitrolite shopfront in Dundalk). The interior has been thoroughly gutted of original features, the most recent refurbishment just being fnished as we speak, but the substantial remains of the structure seems to be still there - not least as there are Edwardian fireplaces in the top floor. All traces of corner chimneystacks are gone, but with a simple spine wall layout, it's possible to imagine where they might have been.

And the real evidence? What seems to be the perfect outline of a cruciform roof structure on the neighbouring building.

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It's particularly nicely stepped back from the front parapet.

Part of the cruciform structure itself survives on the opposite side.

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Wherever you encounter 1930s-1950s street infill in Ireland, think 1730s-1750s!

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Delighted that the recent application to remove the vitrolite shopfront was turned down by Dundalk Town Council on foot of its conservation cffice's report which urged retention of its 'classic 20th century styling' and that the proposed replacement windows be better informed by the character of the building. On the money.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:29 am

Don't know Graham if that building is on the record of Protected Structures, I can't find the RPS on the Dundalk Town Council site.

It seems to be no. 69 Clanbrassil Street, I'll try and check it out tomorrow. I think you're right about the former cruciform roof. That would appear to be the only interpretation of the surviving gable profiles and it ties in very well with the scale and fenestration of the elevation in the earlier photograph.

Any up-date on the Roden Place houses?

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a Graham pic of the two early Roden Place houses with the Victorian gables

I came across this reference that may or may not relate to these Houses:

Around 1736 Hugh Boulter, the reluctant [English born] Archibishop of Armagh sponsored the introduction of small a colony of Huguenot linen weavers to Dundalk in an effort to assist in replacing the ailing woolen industry. With a grant from Parliament and the assistance of the Linen Board, the colony was set up on part of the Earl of Limerick's [also Earl of Clanbrassil] estate and apparently Clanbrassil himself undertook to construct the housing for the weaving colony, and the indications are that in an effort to get the package right, he employed the brick gabled-house model familiar from the weaving areas of the Liberties in Dublin.

A later lease dated August 1762, between the the Earl of Clanbrassil and a George Murphy, carpenter, refers to a property on the south side of Roden Place, ''being one of the 'factory houses' known by the name of the Red Houses''. This house adjoined another to the east, which was also one of the Red Houses, as was the next adjoining house to the west. The houses were bounded to the south by 'The Dutchman's Pond'.

We can't go jumping to conclusions, necessarily, but the local nickname 'Red houses' is likely to have been a reference to the exotic red brickwork with which the houses were probably built, if as seems likely, Clanbrassil was following the 'Weaver's House' model.

It's interesting also that the houses were known as 'factory houses' being both workshops and dwellings.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Boooooog » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:25 am

Lovely finds guys. Here's a real beaut, in really good nick. Is it a transitional? It's in Ranelagh, a couple of doors down from the Hill pub.


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Now, as promised the excerpt from Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's short story An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street, it was written in the mid 19th cent.

"The house, to begin with, was a very old one. It had been, I believe, newly fronted about fifty years before; but with this exception, it had nothing modern about it. The agent who bought it and looked into the titles for my uncle, told me that it was sold, along with much other forfeited property, at Chichester House, I think, in 1702; and had belonged to Sir Thomas Hacket, who was Lord Mayor of Dublin in James II's time. How old it was then, I can't say; but, in all events, it had seen years and changes enough to have contracted all that mysterious and saddened air, at once exciting and depressing, which belongs to most old mansions.

There had been little done in the way of modernising details; and perhaps, it was better so; for there was something queer and bygone in the very walls and ceilings - in the shape of doors and windows - in the odd diagonal site of the chimney-pieces - in the beams and ponderous cornices - not to mention the singular solidity of all the woodwork, from the bannisters to the window-frames, which hopelessly defied disguise, and would have emphaically proclaimed their antiquity through any conceivable amount of modern finery and varnish.

An effort had, indeed, been made, to the extent of papering the drawing-rooms; but somehow, the paper looked raw and out of keeping; and the old woman, who kept a little dirt-pie of a shop in the lane, and whose daughter - a girl of two and fifty - was our solitary handmaid, coming in at sunrise, and chastely receding again as soon as she had made all ready for tea in our state apartment; - this woman, I say, remembered it, when old Judge Horrocks (who, having earned the reputation of a particularly 'hanging judge', ended by hanging himself, as the coroner's jury found, under the impulse of 'temporary insanity,' with a child's skipping-rope, over the massive old bannisters) resided there, entertaining good company, with fine venison and rare old port. In those halcyon days, the drawing-rooms were hung with gilded leather, and, I dare say, cut a good figure, for they were really spacious rooms.

The bedrooms were wainscoted, but the front one was not so gloomy; and in it the cosiness of antiquity quite overcame its sombre associations. But the back bedroom, with its two queerly-placed melancholy windows, staring vacantly at the foot of the bed, and with the shadowy recess to be found in most old houses in Dublin, like a large ghostly closet, which, from congeniality of temperament, had amalgamated with the bedchamber, and dissolved the partition. At night-time, this 'alcove' - as our 'maid' was want to call it - had, in my eyes, a specially sinister and suggestive character... The whole room was, I can't tell how, repulsive to me. There was, I suppose, in its proportions and features, a latent discord - a certain mysterious and indescribable relation, which jarred indistinctly upon some secret sense of the fitting and the safe, and raised indefinable suspicions and apprehensions of the imagination."

It strange to think Le Fanu was describing a building built 150 years or so before his time and we are now discussing them 150 years later. He mentions on the previous page that the character's uncle owned three or four of these buildings on Aungier St. I wonder where they were or if any of them are ones discussed on this thread?

When he mentions the "dirt-pie" of a shop in the lane, I wonder if he means Golden Lane? My mother was from there, I've never seen any pictures, but I seem to remember my granny mentioning that their house had corner "chimbleys". So if anyone has any pics, I'd love to see them.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:30 am

That's a fabulous piece of descriptive writing, it would be great if the names turned out to be authentic references and the description is actually tracable to one of the bigger Aungier Street houses. On the other hand the author could have just made the whole thing up, as novelists are wont to do. The description of the creepy 'alcove' off the back bedroom would seem to equate well with the characteristic 'closet return', which sometines was fully joined up with the main back room and sometimes was treated as a separate space with a connecting door.

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That Ranelagh terrace on Old Mountpleasant has tickled my fancy for years. I don't have anything concrete on it, but you're right that the three storey house does exhibit undenyable 'transitional' tendancies, and the odd thing is that this house is actually the only one in the group that doesn't seem to be built in 18th century brickwork . . . leaving aside no. 6, the recessed one which is reputedly the last home of Thomas Ivory, [d. 1786] architect of the Bluecoat School and a number of uber-refined edifaces in third quarter 18th century Dublin.

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The three houses to the right of the three storey house [ok one is rendered] have intriguing brick facades showing strange patterns in the bonding, with one in four or five courses consisting entirely of headers. I can't remember the name for this, I think it's 'English garden wall bond' or some such, but it doesn't seem quite regular enough to know if it's deliberate. These three houses are raised over basements and the window heads are slightly arched. Many of the entrance doors [apart from the granite surround to the 'transitional' house] appear to have been scooped out of the brick facades as a later alteration. This is Ranelagh after all . . . . and one must keep up.

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The four houses to the left of Ivory's house are very similar to the three on the right but they don't appear to have had basements and the brickwork [on the one non-rendered facade] looks just a shade less red.

All of these houses appear to have corner fireplaces with single central chimney stacks rising awkwardly from the valleys running between front and back lateral roofs. Obviously you'd be locked up if you started claiming these as altered 'Billys', so we won't do that, but I think we can say that there's more to these houses than currently meets the eye and a good root around the inside of one or two of them might shed a bit more light on matters.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:25 am

continuing on Ranelagh while we're at it.

Charlemont street which leads onto Ranelagh Road had a great number of very varied houses including this double roofed, three-storey, on the east side where a modern apartment block now stands.

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This is one of the handful of twin roofed houses that I suspect may possibly not have originally been a 'twin-Billy', but which may have been assembled instead using a 'twin-Billy' pattern roof during some kind of semi-conscious transitional phase when the fashion priority had switched to presenting an all-important flat parapet to the street, but when many of the carpenters engaged were still hammering out the roof structures that they had perfected in their apprenticeship.

On the same side of the street, half a mile further out past the Triangle in Ranelagh, a similar house [Cullenswood Lodge] stood on the presently empty site to the left of the slightly Post-Modern block with the banded red and yellow brickwork.

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And then there's this pair on Mount Pleasant Avenue Upper facing the back of Leinster Cricket ground.

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Perhaps the most butchered houses in Ranelagh. At this stage we may never know what these houses were, each has been sub-divided, dumbed-down and bulked-up for years culminating in the rebuilding of the distinctive facade of the right-hand house last year, completely without planning permission [only internal alterations were advertised and a feeble survey drawing submitted]
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Boooooog » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:59 am

Very interesting about the Ivory house. Indeed the whole row. But the position of the transitional is odd. Why does it stick out like that? It seems obvious to me that there was at least another one on the Ivory house site, from looking in the windows you can see the corner chimney piece which I'm sure was shared with its now long gone twin.

Those poor benighted houses on Mountpleasant, damn all pleasant about it now, must have been lovely once though.

As regards Charlemount St, do you know that house set back from the east side of the street, it's part of the Charlemont Clinic I think. Looks very similar to those houses on Fownes St? I reckon it's pretty early. Also I suspect the spillover hardware supply shop a few doors down beside the flats may be a more interesting building than first meets the eye.

Then there is this strange, hulking building on Ranelagh Ave. Don't know what to make of it. (Sorry about the quality, but you'll get the idea.)


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And another transitional on Lennox St?

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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Boooooog » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:27 am

Here are the Charlemont St houses I was talking about. When I was taking the pictures I remembered a friend of mine who grew up in the flats told me that in the 80's, when the site where that awful hotel complex is now was wasteground, there were still stairs leading into the cellars of the houses that had once stood there and they were used by the local kids as spooky playgrounds. Wondering now if they were Billies. As far as I remember, they were late Georgian, but I wasn't really paying attention to roof lines in those days.

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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:06 am

Most of Charlemont Street would be a bit later, apart from that stretch at the northern end with the big contrast in scale that McCullough high-lighted [in D. an U.H.]

That particular - three storey with prominent hipped roof - house type that Boooooog refers to turns up particularly on the arterial routes into the city, with surviving examples [only just about] on James street and Dorset Street. The little blocky Dublin door surround is invariably found on that particular house type, as it is on almost all modest Dublin houses from the 1770s up to the early 19th century. The same door surround turns up on Mountpleasant Square begun about 1803.

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In trying to get to grips with the multiplicity of 18th century Dublin roof layouts [and what they may indicate] it might be worth looking again at the London situation.

We've noted the impact of the post 1666 - 'Re-building London Regs' - in bringing the curtain down on gabled streetscapes by prescribing orderly parapet lines, and we’ve looked the influence of 'Palladianism' as delivered by the speculative builders once Lord Burlington and Colen Cambell had put a 'Britannicus' stamp on Vitruvius, but beyond the boundaries of new building regulations and the reach of fashion, some fragments of a once common gabled heritage can perhaps be glimpsed in once peripheral locations.

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This streetscape photographed before demolition in the 19th century was in Bermondsey, east of the Southwalk bridgehead on the south bank of the Thames. Obviously the terrace had been horribly mutilated by the time it was photographed, but if we imagine it with orderly ranks of flush mounted windows, in repeating brick façades, that’s not far from being a parallel for Chamber Street, assuming that is that the gables were never more elaborate than simply triangular. The apparently triple gabled structure in the foreground is interesting.

Not far away from the site of the Bermondsey terrace, a small group of interesting [if heavily altered] houses survive on Grange Walk.

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nos. 5 [pale blue in the distance] to 9, Grange Walk, south London

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nos. 6, 7 and 8 Grange Walk from the rear, probably too much rebuilding to draw conclusions

The group appears to date in part to about 1700, but it might be rash to draw too may conclusions from that grey, doubled gabled, house in particular as this house was reportedly built on the remains of a medieval monastic gate house with the projecting hinges still evident in the façade being a vestige of it’s former manifestation. Despite the heavy rebuilding of all these houses, there are possible clues to a shared tradition, in the fenestration of no. 8 with it’s façade including both grouped windows and a narrower light which presumably reflect the position of a stairwell. A small number of the Chamber Street houses included similar features and we saw the odd narrow window on Bachelor’s Walk.

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no. 8 Grange Walk showing brick string courses angd different window widths on a single facade

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north side of Chamber Street showing one house with similar windows, there were a couple more opposite this one on the south side of the street

However this seems to be where the two traditions diverge. The London equivalent of our ‘Weaver quarter’, with the same Huguenot associations and talk of weaving looms in light filled garrets, the area around Spitalfields east of the London Corporation boundaries, featured houses apparently designed from the start with the a characteristic ‘M’ shaped roof section, closely related to the lateral double-pile roof we were to become familiar with in Dublin in Georgian times.

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This example is no. 20 Spitalfield Square, recorded by the London Historical Survey around 1909. The section is also interesting in that it shows the extent to which many of these houses were modernized in high Georgian times, this one in a particularly chaste Adams style, leaving only the less important areas still panelled in their original condition. It seems probable that the roof may have originally swept out beyond the elevations on carved brackets, but either way we can see that the main difference here was the choice of continuous lateral roof volumes over the terrace with a problematic concealed valley gutter and attic spaces relying on dormers, as opposed to the more sensible Dublin tradition of cruciform roofs which incorporated short valleys and which afforded standard window opportunities in the front and rear gables.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Boooooog » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:00 am

The alteration of the classic Dutch Billy roof-lines must have begun almost while they were still being built. Judging by Tudor's view of College Green from 1753.

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The third house, the one beside the twin (That's for you Gunter), already had a parapet, and a rebuild of the upper floor, that is unless it's a newly built transitional.

Either way, these things can be very confusing. Take for instance this building on Harold's Cross Road.

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I've been interested in this baby for a long time, but the whole top floor, the roof and chimneys threw me. That is until I noticed this detail in Francis Place's Dublin from the Wooden Bridge Looking East, 1698.

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The positions of the chimneys are nearly identical.

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But if you look at the upper floor there is no discernable hip, that is until you follow the line of the Edwardian/Victorian shop extension around into the side alley.

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You can see that up to the top of the first floor is of cut stone, while above that the side wall is of the same brick as the extension, suggesting that the second floor was rebuilt at the same time the extension was erected. But if you look at the rear wall of the house, rising to about a third of the way up the side of the window is a yellow brick, (Dolphin's Barn is only down the road) and then above that to the eaves a darker brown brick. I suspect this was the hip. If you follow that line back around the side it lines up with the sills of the two tiny side windows giving the right proportions for a Dutch Billy, albeit with its attic story and roof shorn.

I think that this building was nearly identical to an earlier picture of a Billy in Newry posted by Gunter in August.

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The thing that is really puzzling me is the brickwork. At the back you can see the scars of surgery, but the beautiful red brick on the front is strangely uniform.

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Was the upper story and roof done before the extension?

Could this be original, recycled brick?

It may be a romantic notion, but I have a feeling the architect who designed the shop extension may have had a stab at mirroring the lost gables.

The RPS merely says this amazing building is a "red brick". I talked to the chap who runs the junk shop across the street and he told me that the guy who owns the newsagent owns the house, where his ancient mother still resides. Tragically he told me that there was a dealer in fireplaces in the lane and he ripped out and flogged all the fireplaces in the last few years, so god only knows what's happened inside.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:21 am

Boooooog wrote:The alteration of the classic Dutch Billy roof-lines must have begun almost while they were still being built. Judging by Tudor's view of College Green from 1753.


You're opening a can of worms there Boooooog,

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that Tudor detail of the south side of College Green again

Starting on the left side [fore ground] what I think Tudor is depicting here is the former mansion of Lord Clancarty, probably built in the early 1680s. Clancarty's mansion is depicted in thumbnail form on a map of College Green dated 1682. It appears to have been constructed on a 'U' or 'H' plan with two gabled wings fronting the street framing a recessed entrance forecourt in between, a sort of sophistocated town version of Rich Hill. As depicted by Tudor, the first two gabled 'houses' have matching heavy string mouldings that the third gabled 'house' doesn't have and this feature would support the notion that this is a single large house and would be consistent with an early date. Tudor also shows a kind of cupola feature over the recessed range which appears to link the two wings, i.e. over the entrance to the former Clancarty mansion.

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an extract from a 1682 map of College Green with a thumbnail image of Lord Clancarty's house shown in elevation

Rocque depicts this recessed forecourt, but he hints that the western wing may have become detached from the rest of the house by that time [1757] which is not surprising given that the Clancartys had been attainted and dispossessed of their property back in 1690.

I'm surprised there haven't been books or TV series on the Clancartys, they appear to have been an extraordinary family who rose through the peerage achieving Earldom status in 1658 despite apparently retaining their Gaelic roots. The son and heir of the first earl was killed in action in the second Anglo-Dutch war of 1665 - 7 and the title passed to his grandson, who then proceeded to die in infancy. The child’s uncle, the third earl, seems to have been the one who built the mansion we’re talking about in what must have been the beginnings of some halcyon days on College Green for the Clancartys culminating in the summoning of a Catholic dominated parliament at Chichester House directly opposite their front door by James II in 1689. The 3rd Earl’s son and heir, Donough McCarthy, shortly to become the 4th Lord Clancarty, enthusiastically joined the Jacobite cause, only for things to go pear-shaped at the Boyne. Within a short time of succeeding his father to the Earldom, Donough was attainted by the victorious Williamite parliament and his lands and titles forfeited in 1691. Donough himself was captured along with McElligott, the Jacobite governor of Cork, after the successful Williamite siege of the city and incarcerated in the Tower of London, from where he duly escaped in 1694, leaving a note for his gaolers pinned to a dummy in his cell bed. Clancarty was actually one of only a handful of people every to escape from the tower and evade recapture.

But we’re getting side-tracked, coming back to College Green, I suspect that the third gable in the Tudor print is a standard ‘Billy’ built up against the west wing of the Clancarty house in the years after the separation of this wing from the rest of the house, post 1691. The next element in the streetscape is a low infill structure that also appears in the Shaws Directory representation of the south side of College Green in 1850, by which time the Clancarty house and those adjoining it had vanished and new structures including the former General Post Office building had been erected in their place.

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the south side of College Green as depicted in Shaw's Directory of 1850. the flat parapeted house in the Tudor print may be the same structure that is here shown with twin roofs [no. 32]

The house, which you rightly say Tudor depicts with a flat parapet, is shown by Shaw to have had a pair of transverse roofs . . . . and yes this is troubling . . . . . and thank you Booooog for bringing this to peoples’ attention.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:23 am

Just a few more points about the houses on the south side of College Green.

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That twin roofed house, as depicted by Shaw, at no. 32 seems to have been given a make-over sometime after 1850, before being demolished along with it's little neighbour in the later 19th century to be replaced by the big pedimented bank building that survives today.

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And some corrections on the Clancartys

It turns out that the Third Earl died in 1676, so if he was the one that built the mansion on College Green we'll have to move the construction date back. His successor, Donogh [there are various spellings] would have been only about seven when he assumed the title the 4th Earl of Clancarty and twelve in 1682 when the house was depicted on that College Green Map, so he's unlikely to have been doing much building. I don't know what the guardian structures were, maybe there was some great aunt running the show.

On the specifically 'Dutch' appearance of the gables on the Clancarty house, assuming that the Tudor print does in fact depict the mansion we suspect was built in the 1670s or early 80s, how does that fit in with certain origins of the 'Dutch Billy' theories which may have been put forward? . . . . and what is a Gaelic Catholic family doing building a house whose design seems to consciously evoke Protestant Holland?

Well, there are a couple of facts that need to be acknowledged.

1. 'Dutch' gables feature as a fashionable architectural device in England throughout the 17th century and a number of prominent new country mansions incorporated a triple gabled arrangement from as early as the 1620s.

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Raynham Hall, the garden front [c.1620s], this unidentified mansion from a Hollar print [c.1647] and Kew House, the river front, [c.1630s]

Next door to the Clancarty house, the old West front of Trinity was essentially an elongated version of the entrance front at Raynham Hall with a classical pedimented centrepiece and curvilinear gabled end pavilions, although these were of the more familiar, early-mid 17th century, double curvilinear ‘Holborn’ type profile.

2. When we speculate that the ‘Dutch Billy’ phenomenon can be explained, at least in part, as a uniquely Irish celebration of the Protestant triumph in 1690, this is not to deny that it grew out of an already existing building tradition. What we’re saying is that the distinguishing characteristic of the ‘Dutch Billy’ movement was the way that the signature ‘Dutch’ gable became the predominant feature in Irish street architecture for a half century post 1690, at a time that the same feature began to rapidly peter out in England.

3. And then there is the Clancarty family themselves, Lords of Muskerry, owners of Blarney Castle, and patrons in perpetuity of Failte Ireland, this was not your usual family.

That Third Earl, who we’ve speculated may have been the builder of the College Green house, was Callaghan MacCarthy, the second son of Donough, the first Earl. He was training to be a priest in France when the unlikely news arrived that his elder brother had been killed in action in the ship carrying the future James II in battle with the Dutch fleet. This news was closely followed by the news that his father, the Earl had died three weeks later, closely followed by news of the demise of the Earl’s infant grandson. The net effect of all three deaths being to propel Callaghan into line to take the Earldom.

I’ve no cause to speculate that Callaghan’s gratitude for this sudden change in fortunes, attributable to a Dutch cannonball, was in any way manifest in the architectural style of his new town house, but we are talking about a man who bolted out of his French seminary, married a daughter of the Earl of Kildare and converted to Protestantism, all before you could say ‘bolted earl’.

For the record, Callaghan’s son another Donough, the 4th Earl reconverted to Catholicism on the accession to the thrown of James II and apparently hosted and entertained the monarch, presumably in the College Green house, on his arrival in Dublin in 1689.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Boooooog » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:30 am

Very interesting Gunter. I was wondering about the string course and what I thought were lanes, now I know what I'm looking at, it's very clear on Roque.

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Notice the white triangle behind the row? Do you think that this ghostly Billy air-snapped in the 50's was contemporary with Clancarty House?

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The sheer age, the continuous development of high density housing around Billys and the amount of re-modelling they went through right from the start is amazing.

For instance, here's what looks like a twin Billy, with a large carriage entrance to the right of the five bay Mansard roofed building (in Islandbridge?) in 1699...

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And again in 1753, where the twin seems to have been replaced/altered to a large single gable, Dutch Billy replaced by Dutch Billy.

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Notice the gabled terrace that has appeared on the end of the row.

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How, after a prolonged period, can larger earlier and presumably grander standalone houses, such as Clancarty's be identified as such if partitioned, possibly partly demolished and incorporated into a gabled terrace?

Generally Dutch Billys must have been very solid houses compared to later Georgian terraces to survive the maulings of three centuries. Were they very well built?
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Boooooog » Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:15 am

Sorry about this, there will be some repetition of the last post, but as I was editing it after seeing gunter's last post the previous one stuck.

Is it not a bit misleading to equate the name Dutch Billys with some profound sense of Loyalism in their occupants/builders? I've noticed the assumption on this thread before. If The Glorious Revolution ended the tradition of gabled houses in England, would one also say therefore that the Palladian style was a conspiritorial, Banksy-esque f***k you to the new regime? I don't know this for a fact but it seems unlikely that the term "Dutch Billy" was in use in their period, but a later descriptive term to define the style and period they were built in. Notwithstanding the "Dutch House" reference to that house on Thomas St?

And even it the term was used close to the time in which they were built, and purely to throw a linguistic spanner in the works, could not "Dutch Billy" be a mutated form of "Dutch Bailey" denoting both origin and gable?

Ironically, perhaps this suggestion of Loyalism is what drove nationalistically indoctrinated Corpo planners to try and wipe out the last of them in the post independence period.

It seems obvious that the gabled tradition, (although diverging at a crucial historical point, in relation to our own vernacular building style) is a shared tradition of both England and Ireland and comes from the same source; earlier gabled houses of the late medieval period, also crucially in terms of the name "Dutch Billy", buildings like this were commonly seen in Dutch genre paintings that were churned out in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Add to this "Bailey" instead of "Billy" and the term could be older than the William and Mary period.

The other side of College Green, with its stepped gable house would support the idea that the gabled terrace was a natural development of that earlier style. In fact it's possible that some of the buildings we see further down Dame St could be late medieval too.

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Certainly they were once common if not the standard stone buildings in Dublin, there's a famous picture of one on Marrowbone Lane, and John Derricke's The Image of Ireland contains many.

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Not to mention the cruciform roof of the cagework buildings.

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But to return to College Green instead of the wearing of the green, or even Whigs thereabouts...

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Notice the white triangle behind the row? Do you think that this ghostly Billy air-snapped in the 50's was contemporary with Clancarty House? Looks like there was some kind of green between the(small wedge-shaped terrace?)m and Clancarty House coming off the bottom of Grafton St. Rather splendid it must have been.

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The sheer age, the continuous development of high density housing around Billys and the amount of re-modelling they went through right from the start is amazing. Indeed, it must have occurred to their gable fronted predecessors too. And since we know that most of the inner city-wall housing plots are based on medieval measurements. Is it possible that some Billys were/are framing bones of earlier buildings?

For instance, here's what looks like a twin Billy, with a large carriage entrance to the right of the five bay Mansard roofed building (in Islandbridge?) in 1699...

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And again in 1753, where the twin seems to have been replaced/altered to a large single gable, Dutch Billy replaced by Dutch Billy.

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