Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:27 pm

Alltech's Irish distillery goes Gothic with restoration of Anglican church

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/02/03/3066 ... rylink=cpy
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Punchbowl » Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:35 pm

Some interesting looking stuff uncovered during the roadworks at the Bank of Ireland on the corner of Watling St in the last few days - only caught a glimpse from the bus, but a there appears to be the remains of a stone wall or foundations at least - everything looked like it was being carefully protected.

Maybe Antione can drop by and shed some light for us?
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Antoine » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:59 pm

Yes, it's been very interesting recently Punchbowl.

What you saw from your bus are the foundations of mostly 18th century buildings at James' Gate, before the Wide Street Commissioners got their hands on it. You can see the buildings we have found recently marked in red on the Rocque map extract attached (1756 date).

The walls you saw are actually a mismash of multiple phases of buildings built over each other. The Rocque-phase of c. 18th century buildings are probably the middle phase, demolished c. 1850s. Later on c. 1900 there was a smithy here and we found some of the remains of that. We also found some earlier stuff - in particular one large and deep masonry wall, made of large limestone blocks, without any obvious function, below those buildings. It was quite deep (it was not visible from the bus) so I couldn't get a handle on it, but I've interpreted it as a potential early-post-medieval structural remain possibly associated with St. James' Gate and we preserved it fully below the ground after surveying it.

We also found a large brick culvert running under the buildings, frequently altered during the 18th and 19th century. I think it's odd that this runs under buildings, however the 1848 5-foot OS map does show a watercourse running under buildings near here (albeit further east down the block). Our piece of the culvert was very interesting because it had features such as massive brick piers 1m thick, rounded to assist with water-flow, with areas for sluice gates and other control features. Perhaps part of a mill-race complex, common around here with all the distilleries.

I think it carried a branch of a watercourse that ran down here, across St. James' Gate and down Watling Street. This might be called the 'Glib Water', but I don't think it exists anymore. You can see bits of it on Speed's map of 1610, brooking's map of 1728 (where it defines the boundary of the City of Dublin to the south and west) on Rocque and on the 5-foot 1840s OS map.

Further south from all that stuff beside the bank - under the actual road - we also found part of the watercourse. But this took the form of a very big ditch running E-W along James' Street, so possibly representing the watercourse when it was uncovered. The ditch was backfilled in the c. 13th century and the backfill is packed (literally) with a very dense concentration of medieval artefacts, including large pieces of french jugs, floor tiles, and lovely decorated roof tiles that might be from a (demolished?) local religious building. After the ditch was backfilled (presumably they had rerouted this medieval watercourse first) they packed the soggy top of it with a tick layer of gravel, that sunk in slightly, and seems to have formed the sub-surface of a widened late medieval James' Street similar in width to the current road. This ditch has been fully preserved under the ground and the path of the fibre-optic cable currently being laid here has been raised a little bit so that it does not touch the medieval feature.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby exene1 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:34 pm

Thank you for this information Antoine. It's appreciated.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby exene1 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:00 pm

Pim Street, a funny little street behind Guinnesses. Just looking on Google Street View, I see that the first two buildings on the left in this late '90s picture:

Image




... are now a cleared site:

Image




It's a pity to be getting rid of buildings like this because although they are small they are part of the particular character of the street.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby GrahamH » Fri May 02, 2014 12:50 am

Oh dear. A little further up there in the background, there's a gem of a late Georgian terrace with good facade wigging. Very unusual and quirky plans inside too. One was for sale, along with some nice Calp stuff, for about €150,000 a year or two back. A bargain, if something of a 'fractured' place to live.

Many thanks Antoine for the updates - I was inspecting those basements with interest every morning. It would be very useful if you have done any sketch plan of the site in front of the Bank of Ireland to post it if you get a chance!

The fun is really about to start now as you cross over Bridgefoot Street into the 'meat' of the street...!
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Antoine » Fri May 02, 2014 8:08 am

Yeah Graham - we have a detailed 1:20 plan of all the walls. I have a scanned copy in the office - I'll post up a reduced scan of it later on for you today if I get a chance.

I carried out a few archaeological excavations along Pim Street a few years ago, and if I recall excavated some late medieval or early post-medieval features that looked like part of a tenter-field or textile-processing workshop.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby gunter » Wed May 07, 2014 11:24 am

Antoine wrote:
What you saw from your bus are the foundations of mostly 18th century buildings at James' Gate, before the Wide Street Commissioners got their hands on it. You can see the buildings we have found recently marked in red on the Rocque map extract attached (1756 date).

The walls you saw are actually a mismash of multiple phases of buildings built over each other. The Rocque-phase of c. 18th century buildings are probably the middle phase, demolished c. 1850s.



A 'mishmash' of walls doesn't sound very encouraging.

The house on the corner of James' Gate and Watling Street was in the possession of a tobacconist called Daniel Hutchins in 1766 and his holding included '. . the house at the rear thereof, part of which is over the Chapell gate in Watling Street.' One of the things we'd like to know is whether there is a correlation in date between the structures surrounding the church gate and the church building itself. In other words, was this an integrated development, as appears to have been the case with the Liffey Street chapel.

One of the witnesses to Hutchins' lease of the property, in 1766, was a Francis Ryan, whose profession is listed as, 'tailor', but who was otherwise a property developer and, unusually for the times, a Catholic. Ryan had developed a number of in-fill sites in the city, including nos. 15, 16 & 17 Moore Street, [the 1916 National Monument houses, about which there is an eerie silence]. If Ryan was involved in the development of the properties fronting Watling Street, it would be an indication that the construction of the chapel may have been a planned and integrated development.

On the other hand, Ryan was also related by marriage to Hutchins, so his association with the Watling Street property may not have been due to any development role, but it would be worth checking out.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Antoine » Wed May 07, 2014 2:04 pm

gunter wrote: A 'mishmash' of walls doesn't sound very encouraging.


It might not sound like much, but actually it is very encouraging because it demonstrates that the various phases of building, rebuilding, road widening, service installation and roadworks over the last two hundred years have not destroyed earlier phases of activity too much. For me, the mishmash is about as exciting as it could get!

I attach a plan of the walls, along with some maps showing the location of the modern pavement in orange and the excavation area (approx) in blue.

Plan Wattling-James'Gate final.jpg


1848.jpg


Rocque.jpg


gunter wrote: One of the things we'd like to know is whether there is a correlation in date between the structures surrounding the church gate and the church building itself. In other words, was this an integrated development, as appears to have been the case with the Liffey Street chapel.


This is very interesting Gunter. Unfortunately we don't have enough information to answer it at the moment. Further works are planned to the east of the excavation area near the former church entrance so we'll keep an eye out for anything that might indicate an overall plan for this area.

We can demonstrate an planned terrace/development over multiple plots through archaeology, for example I found evidence for this in excavation at Westmoreland Street under the pavement last year, and at the new residential buildings at the Timberyard, Cork Street/Coombe. In this case I'm not seeing the same sort of regularity to the foundation plan, or any specific clues that multiple plots were constructed as a single unit, but we are excavating in such a constrained area that this is not surprising.

We are working on the south side of the street today and have exposed the old facade wall of the buildings that predate the current victorian Georgian blocks, at a slightly different angle to to the existing buildings, and a series of coal cellars or covered areas in front of them. We are preserving everything in situ.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby gunter » Thu May 08, 2014 12:12 am

One structure to look out for on the south side, just inside the location of St James's Gate is;

'the stone house adjoining the gate wherein the said Alderman Mee formerly kept his beer, containing in length twenty seven feet.'

The mid-18th century memorial of a lease which recites this earlier nugget doesn't say in which direction that dimension ran, unfortunately.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby GrahamH » Thu May 08, 2014 10:30 pm

Where precisely was the gate do we know? I assume it was rebuilt or repaired at various points, but presumably we never had a Henry Aaron Bakeresque Derry-like concoction straddling the road?

Thanks Antoine for all of the posted information. That sharp angle does seem to be the footing of one of the Rocque buildings alright.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Punchbowl » Thu May 08, 2014 10:42 pm

Anyone know what's going on here? This slab has been flying solo for a long time, marooned in a sea of concrete but obviously carefully retained throughout the many interventions that have occurred

Here it is a few weeks ago...

Image

and now

Image
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Antoine » Thu May 08, 2014 11:04 pm

Punchbowl wrote:Anyone know what's going on here? This slab has been flying solo for a long time, marooned in a sea of concrete but obviously carefully retained throughout the many interventions that have occurred

The slab covers a coalhole leading into an intact coal cellar under the pavement that was associated with a phase of building earlier than the current Victorian offices. It's the only coalhole we identified along this stretch but many more of the cellars survive (they've been reinforced c. 1900 with those metal strips you can see in your photo). The slab is not in its original location and was probably placed here in c. 1900 to provide a more solid support over the underlying cavity. The original coal-hole cover is of course gone.

We will be replacing the granite slab in exactly the same position as before, directly over the coalhole, and it will be set with lime-based mortar as we are doing with all the rest of the historic paving.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby GrahamH » Thu May 08, 2014 11:24 pm

Aha! I regularly walk over that slab, so curiously marooned in concrete. That explains all. The iron reinforcing is interesting (and quite extensive), helping to explain the distinctly 'artificial' feel of the street frontage along here. There was some interesting Calp construction also exposed here this time last week if I recall.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Punchbowl » Fri May 09, 2014 8:01 pm

Thanks Antoine, very interesting (and exciting) - there's another lonely granite slab further down on Thomas st, near the intersection with Meath st, that I presume is the same?

Btw, where are the traders going to be relocated when work begins down that end? (so that I can plan my 'giant box of washing powder' purchases in advance)
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Antoine » Fri May 09, 2014 8:08 pm

Punchbowl wrote:Thanks Antoine, very interesting (and exciting) - there's another lonely granite slab further down on Thomas st, near the intersection with Meath st, that I presume is the same?

It would be interesting if it was - I think I know the one you mean but please feel free to point it out to the archaeologist on site. Everyday either me, Enda or Steve are working with the roadworks teams to record everything archaeological - you just have to ask anyone in a viz-vest for the archaeologist and they'll point you to us (or look for the archaeologist viz-vest).

Punchbowl wrote:Btw, where are the traders going to be relocated when work begins down that end? (so that I can plan my 'giant box of washing powder' purchases in advance)

No idea - I think everyone on the team is dreading that bit. I only hope Dublin City Council negotiated something with them...
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Punchbowl » Sat May 10, 2014 11:44 pm

Thanks again Antoine, I will mention it if I'm passing - I wonder why that particular coal hole and cellar were preserved in situ back in 1900 - does it have some historical significance or was it being used for some other purpose by the newer buildings along that stretch?

Also, wanted to ask if the subways beneath the street (to and from both sides of the Guinness brewery) are being in any way impacted by the current works?
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Antoine » Mon May 12, 2014 3:08 pm

Punchbowl wrote:Thanks again Antoine, I will mention it if I'm passing - I wonder why that particular coal hole and cellar were preserved in situ back in 1900 - does it have some historical significance or was it being used for some other purpose by the newer buildings along that stretch?

You guessed correctly - it was reused (though probably not as a coal cellar) and can still be accessed from the sunken area in front of the victorian block. Many other cellars also appear to have been either preserved (by reinforcing their roofs with metal bars and early 20th century cement in this stretch, but in other areas the earlier cellars were completely demolished. I guess they just did whatever was most convenient.

Punchbowl wrote:Also, wanted to ask if the subways beneath the street (to and from both sides of the Guinness brewery) are being in any way impacted by the current works?

No. These are Protectes Structures and under the ownership of Diagio (as far as I know) and we have no intention of impacting upon these in any way. They have been surveyed by engineers in advance of groundworks so we know where they are; in any case they are so deep (4m) that our pavement works would not hit them - we were more concerned about indirect impacts from vibration/drilling but the engineers have checked and are satisfied they won't be affected in any way. Casey (I think) mentions an earlier unknown and unlocated tunnel in this area under James' Street now disused, so I've been looking for that, but no luck yet.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby gunter » Tue May 20, 2014 2:04 am

Image

An application for an extension of time of the planning permission for the demolition of 61 - 62 Thomas Street was lodged earlier this month [Reg. no. 4775/08/x1] The extension of time process seems to be a, make it up as you go along, procedure, as administered by Dublin City Council. Third parties have apparently no right to comment on an application for a five year extension to a planning permission that one might have been counting down the days until it had died. Essentially, a developer just fills in a form as his planning permission is about to expire and requests another five years to build the scheme that he submitted usually about six years ago. The theory is that, if nothing has changed, and the scheme was obviously sound enough to have been given planning permission the first time round, why would it not be permitted now?

And that is the key point . . . nothing has changed!
One would have thought that everything has changed, but no, nothing has changed.

61/62 Thomas Street will be a particularly interesting test case, because the argument that 'nothing has changed' will be difficult to sustain here. The original permission was granted a few months before 'Thomas Street and Environs' were designated an Architectural Conservation Area.

Many people believe that ACAs are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, but even if that is so, how do you argue that the ACA is so meaningless that it hasn't even changed the planning perameters of the street that it brought in to protect?

The other site-specific thing that has changed in the interim is that we now know a little bit more about the early development of Thomas Street than we did five years ago.

In their final submission of additional information, back in 2009, the architects, who were then becoming increasingly exasperated with the Planning Dept.'s apparent lack of enthusiasm for their office block, supplied what they supposed was the appearance of this part of the Thomas Street streetscape in the late 18th century. In this process, the architects clearly drew their inspiration from the likes of Baggot Street and Pembroke Street, which are around the corner from their D2 offices.

Image

The purpose of this drawing appears to have been to persuade the planners that their proposed office block would echo the massing of the presumed earlier Georgian block-like houses. That the thing should read like a 'block' was evidently important to the design vision and, to that end, the façade of that part of the office block sitting on the site corresponding with no. 62 was recessed so that you got the full, three-dimensional, impact of the part of the block sitting on the site of no. 61. I've used the word recess here where I should have said 'fold'. The office block is 'folded' at this point, not recessed, obviously.

That we still can only ever see our built-heritage through a pristine Georgian prism, tells us everything we need to know about why we just cannot get our heads around streets like Thomas Street.

In fact, there is compelling evidence that both no. 61 and no. 62 belong to the second half of the 17th century and there is every possibility that fabric from this phase of development may be concealed behind the altered 18th and 19th century facades of these two houses. Irrespective of the protection that the ACA may or may not bestow of these houses, they should have automatic pre-1700 national monument protection, at least until they have been thoroughly examined and reported on by some conservation architect other than David [there's nothing here] Slattery.

Lease records establish that both houses were substantial inns in the latter years of the 17th century and both would have been among the more prominent buildings along a streetscape that then still retained many low, two to two-and-a-half storey, cage-work houses.

One early 18th century lease recites that Francis Mathews acquired the property [now no. 61] from a Thomas Brown in 1686, paying, what was for then, the very substantial annual rent of £35 for the 'house, brew house, malt house, mill house, stables, backsides and yards in St. Thomas Street, Dublin, called the Golden Last' The 'Golden Last' was common inn sign at the time, though presumably its origins were in the shoemaking trade. Examples survive in Scarborough and Benidorm, both of which, apparently, are very popular with Glasgow Rangers supporters, a fact which suggests that their lager and chips pass the Anglo-Saxon cultural challenge.

No. 62, though narrower than 61, was also an inn from at least the early 1690s until well into the 1770s, at which point its new leaseholder, one Airy Jessop, appears to have converted it into a ribbon and garter shop. The landlord, Sir James Quaile Somerville described the property in 1779 as 'the large and extensive concerns in Thomas Street . . nearly opposite the market house commonly called and known by the name of the Blue Boar'.

These houses, even in their semi-demolished state, are a key part of the surviving early streetscape of Thomas Street. Instead of trying to demolish everything on site and resuscitate plans for a pre-property-crash office block that itself belongs to a different era, the owners need to come up with a new plan that acknowledges the value of the existing structures and the new ACA context of Thomas Street. The potential is there to re-imagine these two venerable houses in a way that connects with their long and valuable commercial heritage and still develop the back areas with a reasonable amount of new square footage.

The first order of business is for the Planning Office to politely decline the present application, before anyone gets the idea that the Corpo are slipping back into business as usual mode.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby gunter » Tue May 27, 2014 11:08 am

Again, to reinforce the point about the importance of 61 - 62 Thomas Street;

When Francis Mathews, brewer, acquired 'The Golden Last' [no. 61] in 1686, at the rent of £35 p.a., it was from a Thomas Browne, who is described as deceased in 1709. Thomas Browne was a common enough name in Dublin at the time, but there is at least the possibility that this was the same Thomas Browne as the brick-layer of that name, who held and redeveloped several sites on the south side of Thomas Street in the late 17th century. Detailed examination of the brickwork in the party walls and basement, and a comparative analysis with the other houses that we know Browne was involved with, would go a long way to establishing the extent to which no. 61 retains structural fabric from the 1680s inn.

If anything, 'The Blue Boar' at no. 62 may be even more interesting. When the ground landlords [St. Catherine's Parish] investigated the title in the 1880s, in the course of a legal dispute, they confirmed that 'The Blue Boar' had been established on the site 'as far back as the time of the Commonwealth'. For a time, no. 62 was also held by one Browne [could be our man again] before passing into the possession of Edmund Tobin, brewer. Tobin hasn't left much of a footprint in the records, but we know that he possessed a malt house further up the street behind nos. 31-32.

No. 62 has the very low floor to ceiling height consistent with a 17th century date. The floor plan, originally with a closet return, suggests that the structure may substantially date to a 1690s rebuilding.

Again, this structure needs to be examined in detail and conserved and restored rather than demolished for an anonymous office block.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Clinch » Tue May 27, 2014 1:52 pm

Hi Gunther, my reading of the 2000 planning act is that duration cant be extended in this way unless construction has commenced.

Any planners reading this (esp. anyone working at wood quay) want to comment?


Presumably if this is granted the decision can and should be appealed to ABP.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby gunter » Tue May 27, 2014 3:20 pm

. . . as amended by the Planning and Development Act 2010, unfortunately.

You simply fill in a two page form, mutter something about how the economic circumstance didn't permit the commencement of the development at the time, and you're good to go.

The Corpo just waved one of these through in Kilmainham last month.

58 apartments, partially sited on a flood plain, the full Tiger package. No requirement for even a site notice, no mechanism to lodge comments, no right of appeal, just the errant developer[or his legal representative] and the planning officer in cosy harmony and one day soon all those lovely, index-linked, planning contributions will start to flow again.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby StephenC » Wed May 28, 2014 2:56 pm

There is a requirement for any permitted to develop to remain compliant with current local planning policy. As you say policy has changed with a new City Development Plan, and ACA and perhaps the Liberties LAP (?) in the intervening time. But who knows whether it will factor.
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby Antoine » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:50 pm

We found a pair of millstones set into the (?early 18th century?) cobbled street in front of No. 138 Thomas Street last week. These measured 940mm diameter with oval eye 160-220mm diameter and 120mm thick at the edges. The complete runner stone was dressed with six harps of six furrows. The pavement light in the back of the photograph is later, perhaps 19th century.

I think this property used to be a bakery, which may explain the millstones. These have been preserved in situ.

IMG_0961(red).JPG
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Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!

Postby gunter » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:16 pm

Probably just as well that the archiseek link was down for a couple of weeks, it's given me time to cool off on the outrageous decision made by the Corpo on the extension-of-time application for the office block at 61 - 62 Thomas Street.

Just to recap on the process of Extensions-of-Time applications; Essentially, if it wasn't profitable, in the last five years, for a developer to build a scheme that he was given planning permission for in 2009, he could apply to the Planning office, by simple letter, to seek a further period of five years to construct the development.

The concept seems to have been that since development is an economic imperative, making people go off and employ architects to design new schemes on sites which already had old planning permissions was just a waste of everyone's time and money. Instead, at the stroke of a pen, we could change all the best-before dates and pick up again where we left off.

Furthermore, there is no mechanism in the extension-of-time application for third parties to comment on, or provide information that might be relevant to, that application.

This all sounds thoroughly illegal to me, but presumably the AG, or some other legal entity, was consulted before this process found itself on the statute book.

The development at 61 - 62 Thomas Street is a test case, not just because of the doubtful legalities of making an important planning decision without giving third parties the opportunity to submit research material that could inform on the value of the existing structures that will be demolished, it is a test case because Thomas Street in now a designated ACA, which it wasn't when the original decision was made.

The planner's report on the extension-of-time application [Reg. no. 4775/08x1]acknowledged that the ACA had changed the ground rules and it stated;

''Notwithstanding the alterations made [to the design during the original planning application process] the design as permitted cannot be considered to be in keeping with the objectives of the ACA.''

For that reason the planning officer's decision was to refuse permission for the extension of time.

Somehow, that decision was overturned in the manager's order, which granted the permission on 1 July.

This is the equivalent to the jury finding a defendant guilty on all counts and then the judge saying, ah no you're grand you can go.

What kind of half assed planning system are we running in this City?
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