'Dutch Billys'

Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby KerryBog2 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:13 am

ctesiphon wrote:That was a house?
Where is it in Kerry? I might be down Tralee way this weekend.
.


ctesiphon - it's in S. Kerry, Knowing your love of a quiz, clues are (a) it is surprisingly recent, (b) by a well known Irish architect. Guesses?
Kb.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:53 am

tommyt wrote:Coincedently I got the complete Rocque 1756 Map on 4 x A2 sheets the other day , I look forward to finally going over it in proper detail...


Are they printed on olde worlde yellow paper? I love those maps, they are a total treasure trove. I've lost my south-west sheet, it must have gotten rolled up with something else, I expect it'll turn up some day.

Here's that photograph of 10 Mill Street!

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I am totally indebted to a local resident, Michael Kavanagh, for finally turning this up. This will cost gunter many pints of Guinness over the years.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:37 pm

There is a copy of the fantastic 'Panoramic View of Waterford', by Willem van der Hagen, dated 1736, in the the 'Arts' page of the Irish Times today. It show nearly half of the quay frontage occupied by three and four storey 'Dutch Billys'. Sorry about the poor quality of the copy, but it's still worth picking out a few of the bigger houses for comment.

The pink and yellow houses, marked with a red and a blue X respectively are five bay, central door compositions, each crowned by a single gable, with more than a passing resemblence to the Marrowbone lane and Ward's Hill houses in Dublin, that have tended to be regarded as odd and rare manifestations of the 'Dutch Billy' tradition.

Further along the quays to the right, I marked with a green X another five bay mansion with a central door, but this time the composition is crowned by three uniform gables, very similar to Speaker Foster's House on Molesworth Street, which has also been regarded as a bit of an oddball.

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More evidence of how developed and widespread the 'Dutch Billy' tradition had become in Ireland by the third decade of the 18th century!
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:48 pm

Given that Waterford’s quay still has a huge amount of old buildings standing, it’s likely that some of those gabled houses still exist behind later alterations, as you get in Dublin, eh?

Back to Dublin for a minute.

Cheers for putting up the 10 Mill St photo, gunter. See what you mean about the quality, though!!



gunter wrote:... the one surviving house on Hendrick Street, which lost it's gable a long time ago, and which had a real butcher job done on it around 1990 when a developer (possibly Zoe) absorbed it into an apartment scheme.

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Image
A drawing from the mid 80s shows the same last house on Hendrick Street (looking towards Haymarket with St Michan's tower in the background) with original flush window frames and something odd going on with the entrance door, all of which were dumped or mutilated in the renovation. Back in the 1990s this probably counted as a 'conservation gain',



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On the subject of Hendrick Street, this proposed development lodged in December for the adjoining site to the east got a right drubbing of a refusal in February: Ref. 6660/07




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Around the corner in Queen Street, this building (arrow) is another early ‘suspect’.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby missarchi » Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:30 pm

not von dutch but i have a question since im more victorian than georgian


if you where building a mock geogian joint in a well known spot conservation zone and the rest would you opt for vic windows???? The view is clearly better?
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby ctesiphon » Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:48 am

KerryBog2 wrote:ctesiphon - it's in S. Kerry, Knowing your love of a quiz, clues are (a) it is surprisingly recent, (b) by a well known Irish architect. Guesses?
Kb.

Sorry for the delay. I will confess I'm stumped on this one.

Unless it was your good self, sir?

(I'm way better at setting this type of question than I am at answering it. :o)
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby KerryBog2 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:05 pm

ctesiphon wrote:Sorry for the delay. I will confess I'm stumped on this one.

Unless it was your good self, sir?)


:confused:I've no architectural link, professionally, just have an interest in buildings.:)

The ruin is that of Rossdohan House, and is between Kenmare/Sneem, near Parknasilla. The first house of note on the site was designed by John Pollard Seddon (architect of Univ. Coll. Wales, etc. ) about 1880. It was rather an odd building from the photos I’ve seen, a cross between gingerbread cottage and mock gothic. Thankfully much of it was ivy-clad. It was burned in late 1922 and ownership later passed to a Nicholas Fitzgerald, (born Sauer, in South Africa).
Fitzgerald/Sauer successively commissioned various architects – reputedly about 12 – to design him a Cape Dutch house. One was his cousin, Magda Sauer, whose proposal was declined as impracticable, as it called for the slaughtering of several oxen for thongs to tie the timbers in lieu of nails and blood for the plastering. The job was eventually taken on by Michael Scott, (yes, that one) who came up with what looks like a copy of Groot Constantia, complete with a thatched roof. Built in the late 1940’s, the main stonemasons were the Egans, same family as the Kerry footballers. It’s been a ruin since 1955, when it was again destroyed by fire. .According to local legend some butter-paper thrown on a fire, floated up the chimney, landed on the thatch and up it went.
Incidentally, Magda was the first female qualified architect to practice in South Africa and was married to the Scandinavian engineer who designed the Table Mountain cablecar.
Her bio is here http://books.google.ie/books?id=rl8nkyID3WsC&pg=PA223&lpg=PA223&dq=magda+sauer&source=web&ots=AHm-i3zz6W&sig=_WLXMCWPGfN0pnQa3EbEjtj7Maw&hl=en

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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:06 pm

A couple of nice murials on the wall of the Belgard Luas stop, they've probably been there for ages, I just noticed them. That is definitely a 'Billy' in the centre of the first shot and a terrace of some nice steep triangular gables in the second. Don't know about that yellow modernist block, there's no attempt to address the urban grain, or established plot width and no attempt to harmonise with the predominant finish! Where were the planners?

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It would be nice if the old gabled houses in these murials represented some deep folk memory at work, but it's probably just that the artists come from Gdansk.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Pilear » Sat May 03, 2008 3:45 pm

was just wondering what are the elements required for a building to be defined as a dutch billy?

There were just a few buildings I was wondering about if anyone could enlighten me:
eddie rockets on dame street (hopefully attached)
a building where capel street meets bolton street
and beside the loop line bridge on talbot street
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Sun May 04, 2008 12:30 am

Pilear wrote:was just wondering what are the elements required for a building to be defined as a dutch billy?

There were just a few buildings I was wondering about if anyone could enlighten me:
eddie rockets on dame street (hopefully attached)
a building where capel street meets bolton street
and beside the loop line bridge on talbot street


The 'Dutch Billy' was a development of the simpler terraced houses illustrated in Speed's map of Dublin of 1610. These earlier 17th century houses, being typically deeper than they were wide, were simply roofed with a triangular gable to front and rear. This common house type existed all over Europe and was itself a development of the early medieval house that would have started out as free standing, but, over time and as space became more critical, became joined up into terraces. The Germans say that they were the first to put a first floor on the slavic long house, but that doesn't take into account possible surviving Roman and other early urban precedents.

About the time that the 'Dutch Billy' emerged, the cruciform roof appeared. The big advantage of the cruciform roof was that it was more suited to the terraced situation where it greatly shortened the length of valley gutters between adjoining houses. As well as that, the cruciform roof dramatically increased the amount of usable floor area in the attic storey, an attribute that was utilized to the full in the 'Weaver' houses common in the Liberties. The weaver houses were typically very frugal in appearance and though contemporary with the 'Dutch Billy' resolutely stuck to the simple triangular gable.

The standard layout of the 'Dutch Billy' saw front and back rooms share a huge central chimney stack in the form of corner fireplaces, with a tiny return room entered off the main back room. The stairwell was always on the opposite side to the return. The return is a very important identifying feature, because the subsequent standard 'Georgian' house didn't have any and also because the pitch of the roof of the return can give a clear indication of the angle of pitch of the main roof, where this is often now missing, or altered. In the standard 'Dutch Billy', entrance hallways were often very narrow and the hall, stairs and most of the rooms were panelled.

Another identifying feature is the brickwork. The standard 'Dutch Billy' was constructed entirely in imported rich red brickwork. Later 'Georgian' house usually used cheaper local bricks (usually more yellow in colour) on the rear elevations. Even on front elevations, 'Georgian' brickwork, (except very early examples, as on Henrietta Street etc.) were seldomr as deep red in colour.

Obviously the most characteristic feature of the 'Dutch Billy' was the curvilinear, or sometimes stepped, gable topped with a small pediment. There are a bunch of lesser characteristics, but I think that's the gist of it.

Your Dame Street house is a possible Victorian rebuilding of a 'Dutch Billy', but I'm not sure. Malton shows one good quality, 5 storey, 'Dutch Billy' at a similar location in his print of the City Hall (Royal Exchange), but his house is three bay wide, diminishing down to two on the fourth floor, with a single window, or possibly a plaque, in the actual gable. I don't think it's your house though, as it seems to be on the corner of a side street, presumably Sycamore St.

The Capel Street house is an authentic 'Billy' that has had it's missing top storey rebuilt very recently. I don't think they set out to match the original detail, maybe they felt they didn't have enough information to attempt an accurate 'restoration'. At least this important house has been saved, next door could use some attention now.

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A couple of nice 'Billys' on Thomas Street, that are due for the chop soon, are these two beside the old library, now 'The Brewery Hostel'. I've faintly sketched in a possible configuration of the gable on the nice three bay on the right. The rear elevation shows this one is missing it's return, but the bright red brickwork of this return structure is still evident in the party wall of the adjoining 'Georgian' house.

The cute little return structure on the other, slightly wider, house (adjoining the old library) is almost the only identifying feature left to indicate that this house was also a probable 'Dutch Billy'. That and the very low hopper heads and down pipes on the rebuilt front elevation. The rear view shows that the angle of pitch of the main roof had subsequently been greatly lowered, when compared to the roof pitch of the return.

Image

ImageImage
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby GrahamH » Sun May 04, 2008 1:24 am

Thanks for that gunter - an excellent summation. Lovely little sketch-up there too.

Yes these two structures have intrigued me also re Billy status - never had a chance to go snooping around the back. Generally the sparcer and cruder the alterations to the front, the more likely it is that the building is particularly ancient - particularly true of Thomas Street. It'd be very interesting to get hold of a couple of those red bricks in the adjoining party wall and get a date on them. Yes I'm absolutely convinced the adjoining 'Georgian' was orginally a Dutch Billy also. Time after time in the city proper you see Dutch Billys coming to the end of their life in the early 19th century (sole surviving original sash in this case typical c. 1830), by which time even the lowest rank of self-respecting merchant would refuse to live in such an outdated house - exactly the same of which happened with Georgian refacings in the 1930s-1950s. So interesting how these waves of alterations take place - usually every 150 years.

I see no reason why that gable should not be reinserted - it's done all over Europe. But why talk about gables when the building itself is unlikely to be there in a couple of years.

The little Georgian squeezed in to the left of Pilear's suggested Billy is also of great intrigue, though not for the same reason. Far too much fenestration for a building to be healthy. I love passing it by - never fails to catch the eye.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby aj » Sun May 04, 2008 9:55 pm

GrahamH wrote:
I see no reason why that gable should not be reinserted - it's done all over Europe. But why talk about gables when the building itself is unlikely to be there in a couple of years.
.


it facsinates me how building of 200+ years old can simply be pulled down when they have clearly some architectural importance no matter what their current state.

Surely there is something that can be done to protect the little that we have left ?
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Sun May 04, 2008 11:09 pm

aj wrote:it facsinates me how building of 200+ years old can simply be pulled down when they have clearly some architectural importance no matter what their current state.

Surely there is something that can be done to protect the little that we have left ?


This site is part of the Digital Hub. When the state chose not to lead the development of the Digital Hub itself, in 2005, but rather to put out the holdings to tender in two lots, part of the advertisement included a 3D render which showed this reasonably intact section of Thomas Street retained with some contemporary in-fill in the gaps with some 'medium rise' in the mix. Unfortunately, the developers who bought Lot 1, (the south side of Thomas Street) threw out these modest proposals and went into full slash and burn mode, proposing the demolition of all the ordinary houses on Thomas Street, leaving only the old library on this stretch, and throwing in a battery of Shanghai style high rise towers on the former Guinness site to the rear.

This application was refused permission, but you can sense a air of regret in the planner's report that permission couldn't have been granted. Essentially the dense cluster of high rise was a step too far.

In the current proposal for Lot 1, I think some of the houses on this stretch of Thomas Street may have got a reprieve, but I don't think these two former 'Billys' are included. To be honest I've lost track of this proposal. I remember looking at some of the elevation drawings and literally not being able to figure out what they were actually proposing. I'll have to try and get another look at it.

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Less threatened by development, but still in danger from neglect, is this fine little probable former 'Billy' at 25 Aungier Street. The proportions here are very similar to the 3 bay Thomas Street house. The rear has lost it return, but the slight recess in the rear elevation (right side) is a good indication of it's original existence. The left, or stairwell, side of the rear elevation retains a piece of the original gable which is quite steep and should give a clear indication of the original profile of the main roof.

ImageImage
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby johnglas » Mon May 05, 2008 11:19 am

gunter: what is DCC about allowing that level of neglect and dereliction on Aungier St? 'Bridal Designs' and its next-door neighbour are just too dire to live; by contrast, the pub is doing a good job retaining its Victorian (you know what I mean) credentials. Surely DCC should have some kind of grants scheme to enable commercial premises to retain their historic character, even if they don't avail of the Living over the Shop scheme (does it still exist)?
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby aj » Mon May 05, 2008 11:20 am

gunter wrote:This site is part of the Digital Hub. When the state chose not to lead the development of the Digital Hub itself, in 2005, but rather to put out the holdings to tender in two lots, part of the advertisement included a 3D render which showed this reasonably intact section of Thomas Street retained with some contemporary in-fill in the gaps with some 'medium rise' in the mix. Unfortunately, the developers who bought Lot 1, (the south side of Thomas Street) threw out these modest proposals and went into full slash and burn mode, proposing the demolition of all the ordinary houses on Thomas Street, leaving only the old library on this stretch, and throwing in a battery of Shanghai style high rise towers on the former Guinness site to the rear.

This application was refused permission, but you can sense a air of regret in the planner's report that permission couldn't have been granted. Essentially the dense cluster of high rise was a step too far.

In the current proposal for Lot 1, I think some of the houses on this stretch of Thomas Street may have got a reprieve, but I don't think these two former 'Billys' are included. To be honest I've lost track of this proposal. I remember looking at some of the elevation drawings and literally not being able to figure out what they were actually proposing. I'll have to try and get another look at it.

Image

Less threatened by development, but still in danger from neglect, is this fine little probable former 'Billy' at 25 Aungier Street. The proportions here are very similar to the 3 bay Thomas Street house. The rear has lost it return, but the slight recess in the rear elevation (right side) is a good indication of it's original existence. The left, or stairwell, side of the rear elevation retains a piece of the original gable which is quite steep and should give a clear indication of the original profile of the main roof.

ImageImage


thanks Gunter
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Mon May 05, 2008 8:41 pm

gunter wrote:Image


Yeah these two are most interesting. Despite the heavy alterations/rebuilding of the façade of No. 21, an original gable front is still discernible in the pattern of windows. There’s an interesting photograph in the EIS of the original Manor Park application for the site (53-storey etc. buildings), showing its 2nd floor front room where you can see the ‘inside’ of the gable front, although as you said gunter the pitch has been lowered somewhat.

Also there are photographs of the interior of No. 20 and it has an original heavy early 18th century staircase with barley sugar balusters … at least for the first 10 steps. After that the balusters have been ripped out, and the scars are conspicuously new and raw looking … hmm

No 21 may also have an early staircase however in the photos it’s covered over with sheet timber.

Re demolition, the houses have a stay of execution at the moment as the latest (and third) Manor Park application has just gone in for a portion of the site which does not include them, in order to deliver the space required under the Digital Hub contract before the deadline of May ’08 (9 month extension in the case of an appeal), however the previous two applications sought their demolition …. not to mention inappropriate replacement!!! Might be worth putting elevations up if I get time.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue May 06, 2008 10:38 pm

Devin wrote:There’s an interesting photograph in the EIS of the original Manor Park application for the site (53-storey etc. buildings), showing its 2nd floor front room where you can see the ‘inside’ of the gable front

Also there are photographs of the interior of No. 20 and it has an original heavy early 18th century staircase with barley sugar balusters … at least for the first 10 steps. After that the balusters have been ripped out, and the scars are conspicuously new and raw looking … hmm

No 21 may also have an early staircase however in the photos it’s covered over with sheet timber.

Re demolition, the houses have a stay of execution at the moment as the latest (and third) Manor Park application has just gone in for a portion of the site which does not include them, in order to deliver the space required under the Digital Hub contract before the deadline of May ’08 (9 month extension in the case of an appeal), however the previous two applications sought their demolition …. not to mention inappropriate replacement!!! Might be worth putting elevations up if I get time.


Devin: I had a quick look through the planning files earlier today and I posted up some info on these applications on the Thomas St./James St. thread. There didn't seem to be an EIS with the second application and I could find nothing in the file on the houses to be demolished incl. 20 & 21. There was a 'Record of Historic Structures' document, but it just covered the Protected Structures and skipped from no. 19 to nos. 22-23 (the old library).

No. 21 is a facinating little house, but the complete rebuilding of the front elevation, in comparatively recent times, is going to make it difficult to unravel. This house is very low and possibly suggestive of an older still triangular gabled type structure, like the Marrowbone Lane houses, rather than a curvilinear 'Dutch Billy'.

The interesting thing about no. 20 is that, as you say, a significant amount of the interior arrangement survives and I didn't realise, a piece of the staircase too. The survey plans show a massive pair of corner fireplaces on each level. Most original 'Dutch Billys' were altered in the late 18th century and this Georgian masking is now an integral part of the history of these houses, but no. 20 has lost it's entire top storey and like the Capel St. house, is therefore a good candidate for restoration to it's original condition, without the dilemma of reversing later alterations. I'd much prefer to see a retained streetscape here with some careful restoration of rare and valuable house types than the bizarre brick curtain that deBlacham & Meagher have proposed to bring down over most of this streetscape.

I took one quick copy of this proposed elevation (which is still a live planning application) and I'll see if I can stick it up on the Thomas St. thread.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Devin » Wed May 07, 2008 6:23 pm

I'll try and scan & post those interior pictures I was talking about later in the week.

The second application may have been under the EIS threshold.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby forrestreid » Thu May 08, 2008 8:58 pm

Gunter said:

"Less threatened by development, but still in danger from neglect, is this fine little probable former 'Billy' at 25 Aungier Street."

Not directly threatened Gunter, but the current application in for its neighbours will surely have something of an impact on it?

I am referring to application 2651/08, (lodged on 2nd May) where Flanagan's funeral home plan to demolish part of 19-22 Aungier street (themselves protected structures) and to build:

"a new 26m high / 9 storey hotel building (with various building line/height and setbacks at lower levels) comprising: - 232 ensuite bedrooms, with all associated entrances, corridors exits, ramps, reception, foyer, licensed restaurant/bar, delivery areas, service areas, ESB substation and switch room with separate ramped access to 2 no. different basement levels ie: The upper basement parking to be accessed from existing archway between 22 and 23 Aungier Street will be for the sole use of Fanagan Funeral Directors to provide..."etc.


Surely development of these will be shortly followed by the redevelopment of neighbouring 25 Aungier St.?
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby Zap » Sat May 10, 2008 1:59 pm

What a fantastic thread this has become. And Gunter - what fantastic detective and reconstruction work on those photos from Thomas Street.

Thomas Street is a fantastic street - how more fantastic it would become if these two Dutch Billys were restored - or at the very least the one on the right which is very easy to imagine as a Dutch Billy due to Gunter's sketch. The street is an easy match for Dame Street, with more life.

I am fascinated by the Capel Street recent reconstruction. Of course the end result isn't great - the brick work used looks like they will be able to weather into a good match for the rest of the building - but you do have to give marks for the effort. Also, a re-rendering of the badly matched reconstruction could easily right this.

I had no idea that Dutch Billys do still exist - though of course in just a handful of numbers compared to 50 years ago.

Does anyone have a scan of Marlboro Lane in the LIberties? The past buildings from that area do seem quite interesting. I'd love to know their history.

So, how could we campaign the developers of Thomas Street for the reinstatement of these buildings? I hate the obvious retentions - of course you'd keep the old library - but its all the building on that part of Thomas Street that makes the street. Why can't people realise that? Do the planners and developers ever visit Europe? Or what do they think when they see cities such as previously mentioned Gdansk - just a waste when they could have 20 storey glass boxes instead of heritage vernacular architecture?
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby johnglas » Sat May 10, 2008 5:57 pm

It's certainly worth a trip to Gdansk, I was there last October. The restorations are mostly 50+ years-old now and look as 'authentic' as you'll get (the main street in particular is as good as any in Europe). Interestingly, at least 50% of the old centre is unrestored and the restorers did not reinstate the 'service lanes' behind the grand city houses ( they are now mostly parking areas and nondescript open space). So Gdansk can cash in on its heritage even more than it has. (And the people are courteous and are not falling dead drunk all over the place, as in Ireland and GB.)
There are areas where restoration and even 'pastiche' are not just acceptable, but probably the best option - Thomas St and Newmarket are two of them.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Sun May 11, 2008 2:37 am

Zap wrote:
Thomas Street is a fantastic street - how more fantastic it would become if these two Dutch Billys were restored - or at the very least the one on the right which is very easy to imagine as a Dutch Billy



Zap: That sketch of a Dutch Billy top on no. 20 was a bit conjectural. I don't have enough information to be sure that this was the original arrangement. That isn't to say that a restoration isn't posible, just that much more detailed survey work would be needed.

I agree with you completely that some sort of campaign is needed to raise consciousness of this vanishing (and immensly valuable) layer of our built heritage, before there just won't be enough left to ever be able to read this chapter at all.

For example, there was blanket coverage in the media this week of issues to do with the Battle of the Boyne and the enduring impact on this country of William of Orange, but there wasn't a single mention of the remarkable architectural legacy (bearing his nick name) that is inextricably intertwined with this political and historical heritage.

I think if you go into the story of 'Dutch Billy' architecture, you find that there are probably two identifiable sources:

1. [INDENT]A common North European source that developed out of the common desire to advance beyond the medieval vernacular building traditions and build modern, comfortable and impressive houses on tight urban plots. This source connects the 'Dutch Billy' in Ireland with the traditions that gave rise to tall gabled brick houses in parts of England, Holland and across the Baltic coast from Lubeck to Gdansk.[/INDENT]

2. [INDENT]The political statement source. What appears to have happened is that a small number of Dublin gentry made the remarkable decision to celebrate the triumph (on Irish soil) of William of Orange, and their own ascendancy that this event ensured, in the bricks and mortar of their own new houses.[/INDENT]

My gut feeling is that the second source is the one more critical to the 'Dutch Billy' story, but it is what happened next that is really remarkable. Within a handful of years, a full blown indigenous architectural movement had evolved, that took this initial willful idea and combined it with elements of pre-existing building tradition (in part, eminating from the first source) and brought it way beyond any two dimensional, political statement, or pattern book concept. In no time, the movement had developed a complex language to tackle and exploit tricky urban challenges like the awkward corner, or how to replace repitition with rhythm and, to a standard not equalled since, how to address and definin urban space.

McCullough makes the point in Dublin, an Urban History, that had poverty come in the1750s, it is this version of Dublin (and the other urban centres of Ireland) that we would be familiar with today. Instead, however, the outrageous self confidence that had given rise to the movement in the first place, increasingly turned to self consciousness about it's ever more apparent divergence from English practice. What had been architectural daring began to be percieved as backward provinciality and pride increasingly turned to embarrassment as neighbour after neighbour, either moved to more modern 'Georgian' addresses, or hastely modernised their homes to try to conform to the new minimalist palladian doctrine. In this way, a heavy Georgian curtain came down on this vibrant urban tradition, a curtain that it's not easy to peep through. So thoroughly has this phase of our architectural development been erased from the urban record, that, to all intents and purposes, one of the brightest chapters in our story has been reduced to little more than a footnote.

What I think we badly need now is a detailed inventory of our surviving stock. I'm pretty certain that enough survives to develop accurate typologies. Archaeologists do this all the time, once the typologies are cateloged and understood, it doesn't matter how miserable the shard of pottery you find is, you can quite easily compare it's characteristics to your typology database and the original shape and form can be deduced with very little conjecture. Buildings might be more complex than neolithic pots, but the principle is the same and they come with many more clues.

I'm not saying we should start the wholesale restoration / reconstruction of Dutch Billys across the city, but there are examples which might merit this attention and, in any case, a 3D computer model wouldn't be beyond our capabilities. What ever else we do, we've got to stop knocking these things down before we even know what we have.

This is all too much talk and not enough pictures. Here's another nice pair of 'Billys' on the north side of Thomas Street, nearly opposite the two we discussed earlier. I understand that the one on the left has a nearly intact panelled interior. Notice the very steeply pitched roof and the absolutely massive single central cruciform chimney stack.

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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Tue May 20, 2008 10:52 pm

forrestreid wrote:
25 Aungier Street, not directly threatened Gunter, but the current application in for its neighbours will surely have something of an impact on it?

I am referring to application 2651/08, (lodged on 2nd May) where Flanagan's funeral home plan to demolish part of 19-22 Aungier street (themselves protected structures) and to build:

"a new 26m high / 9 storey hotel building (with various building line/height and setbacks at lower levels) comprising: - 232 ensuite bedrooms, with all associated entrances, corridors exits, ramps, reception, foyer, licensed restaurant/bar, delivery areas, service areas, ESB substation and switch room with separate ramped access to 2 no. different basement levels ie: The upper basement parking to be accessed from existing archway between 22 and 23 Aungier Street will be for the sole use of Fanagan Funeral Directors to provide..."etc.


I haven't had a good look at this application, but it does appear to be for development mostly to the rear of Aungier Street, rather than directly impacting on the old houses, including protected structures, on Aungier Street itself. The fact that they don't appear to be addressing the existing poor state of no. 22 is itself a cause for concern though. I hope somebody in An Taisce is on top of this one.

I checked out the Hendrick Street situation, as originally posted by newgrange earlier in this thread. That 1950s photograph does appear to show the six 'Dutch Billys' that also appear on Rocque's map (1756). My confusion was that the one surviving house (if you could call it that) isn't one of the six. What now seems clear is that this last surviving house is the first of the 3, three storey, houses seen in the distance beyond the last of the 6 gabled houses. The bad news for 'Billy' watchers is that it appears that this house was never a Dutch Billy!

The last three houses look very very 1740s, but Rocque shows only open space here and there is a rear view of one of the three houses in the Architectural Archive and it shows a flat rear elevation, without a return and with a tall hipped roof, just like the front. This, despite the flush window frames, would put this house, and it's two neighbours, into the transitional category that followed the phasing out of gables. Obviously some builders clung onto some of the earlier gabled house characteristics decades after the standard 'Georgian' house had become established elsewhere in the city.

I'll post up the Hendrick St. picture again, together with a close up of the three transitional houses. The closest of the 3 three storey houses (no. 12) is the sole survivor today.

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Below is a 1960s photograph of transitional houses on James Street which show some of the characteristics a bit clearer. Tall hipped roofs, square chimney stacks (again serving corner fireplaces), but a much more frugal simplicity to the elevations. Only one of the terrace of four similar three storey houses, (no. 164) survives today, but in an increasingly derelict state. There is also a fine four storey example on Bachelor's Walk.

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gunter
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby gunter » Wed May 28, 2008 2:10 am

There has long been an assumption that the construction of 'Dutch Billys' petered out in Dublin around the 1740s once the standard Georgian house type, with it's uncompromisingly flat parapet, had become established, but there are conflicting messages in the documentary evidence.

On the one hand there are various brief references from the 1770s and 80s to 'old houses', definitively 'Dutch Billys' which we know from other sources, had only been built in the 1740s, suggesting that, by then, the style of house itself was unmistakebly from a previous era, and then, on the other hand, there is the evidence of the likes of the Moore Street terrace.

This terrace, including the 1916 associated recently designated 'National Monument' houses at 15, 16 & 17, in plan, section and rear elevation, is standard 'Dutch Billy'. Even the loss of front gable pediment and the re-fronting in late 19th century brickwork could be regarded as consistant with the characteristic fate of the 'Billy'. The remarkable thing about the terrace is that it doesn't appear to have been built until some time after 1756! Rocque's map clearly shows a vacant lot, labelled 'The Old Brick Field', on this stretch of Moore Street.

The evidence of the Moore Street houses leads to the inescapable conclusion that the gabled tradition flourished into a sixth, or possibly even a seventh, decade. For this terrace of, brand new, gabled houses to have been built a decade or so after, and in close proximity to, the development of Gardiner's high status Sackville Mall, is a huge testament to the depth and rigour of the gabled tradition in 18th century Dublin.

Unlike the Hendrick St. houses, there is nothing to suggest that the Moore St. terrace was, in any way, a hybrid, or transitional development, the only typological model that these houses fit comfortably is the standard 'Dutch Billy' model. Gardiner's influence and the impact of Richard Cassells may have taken the aristocracy class down the English Palladian road, but ordinary Dubliners obviously liked their 'Billys'.

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Survey drawings submitted with the O'Connell Street application. The rear elevation drawing illustrates the characteristic narrow return projection on the opposite side to the stairwell. The floor plans of nos. 16 & 17 have a characteristic massive central chimney stack formed by a cluster of corner fireplaces.
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Re: 'Dutch Billys'

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:32 pm

Long shot, perhaps- I noticed in the Commercial Property pages of the IT today that 71 Camden Street (a butcher's shop) is for sale. In the accompanying photo (page 2, sidebar), the single half-moon window in the centre of the top floor made me go 'Hmmm'. Am I way off?

Might try and have a look on the way home.
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