1891 – The Dublin Working Boy’s Home, Lord Edward Street, Dublin

Architect: Albert E. Murray



Designed by Albert E. Murray, this former Boy’s Home is now a backpackers hostel and still well maintained. The original aims of the charity were to “afford comfortable and healthy lodgings at cheap rates for boys who were earning their bread”. Purpose built as a hostel for boys, this fine building at the top of Lord Edward Street adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral has four floors of accommodation over several retail units. The retails units still possess their original facades which are integrated into large brick arches. The building has much decorative work around the windows, notably the windows over the main entrance and on the gables at the top of the building. The interior has a fine wooden staircase.

“THE Committee of the Working Boys’ Home and Harding Technical School, at present located in Grand Canal-street, are erecting new premises in Lord Edward-street—the new thoroughfare leading direct from Dame street and Cork-hill to Christ Church Cathedral (lately so splendidly restored by Mr. Henry Roe). The site is on the north of the street, running, from the west corner next the Cathedral, 162 ft. down street.

The building is of brick, faced with Dennis Ruabon red brick and buff terracotta. It contains, on the ground floor, entrance-porch and hall, dining-hall, kitchen, pantries, and also superintendent’s office, recreation-room, and large lecture-hall, with platform, &c., for entertainments. On this floor the superintendent has his private apartments, and over this is sleeping accommodation for about seventy-five boys, with all most approved sanitary arrangements, baths, &c. On ground level there is also a considerable space at rere, to be used as a recreation ground and gymnasium. The charity is supported partly by money bequeathed to it, and partly by subscriptions, and is a most useful one, supplying, as it does, a home for boys, with education for both mind and body at a cheap rate. The contractors are — Messrs. H. and J. Martin, of Belfast, for general work; and Mr. H. MacGarvey, of Lombard-street, Dublin, for the plumbing and gasfitting, &c.; and the whole is from the designs and under the superintendence of Mr. Albert E. Murray, F.R.I.B.A., architect, 37 Dawson-street.” Published in The Irish Builder, November 1, 1891.

“The new premises of the Dublin Working Boys’ Home and Harding Technical School, in Lord Edward Street, were opened today by the Lord Lieutenant. The institution was established about fifteen years ago, and during that time about 550 boys have availed themselves of its advantages, many of them remaining as long as seven years in the old premises in Denzille Street. A most satisfactory feature in connection with the institution “is that three-fourths of the income required — £800 — have been subscribed by the boys themselves. The necessity, however, for suitable premises was for a long time felt, and it was only in 1886 that an opportunity was afforded to provide such buildings as the increasing extension of the good work demanded. In that year an endowment was allocated to the institution by Mr Thomas Spunner and Mr Francis B Ormsby, the trustees of the will of Miss Anne Middleton Harding, on condition a technical and night school should be opened in connection with the home. The conditions were of course agreed to, and the arrangement was subsequently ratified by a scheme framed by the Commissioners of Educational Endowments. The result was the erection of the present commodious buildings.

The site selected, as the audience assembled at the opening ceremony were reminded today by the Recorder, was at one time occupied by what was known as the Maiden Tower, with countless ramifications and passages leading to nowhere in particular. The building has a frontage of 162 feet, and on each side of the main entrance, there are two shops. At the rere, at Copper Alley, a plot has been purchased with the object of providing a play-ground for the boys.

There is a suggestion of the Elizabethan style in the architecture, an attractive feature of the frontage being a buff terra cotta oriel bay window. Mount Argus bricks have been largely used in the structure. The interior is elaborately fitted up, the dining-room, in particular, being neatly arranged. There are eight tables, each capable of accommodating six boys. This apartment communicates with the kitchen by means of a sliding window, and on the same floor are spacious pantries, lavatories, &c. On the first floor is the lecture hall, capable of seating 150 persons, and containing a fire-place and platform. The board-room and boy’ reading room for boys, are on the same floor. On the second floor is the schoolroom, and here also are the dormitories and bath-rooms. The dormitories are capable of affording accommodation for 6O residents, while in the technical and night schools about 100 pupils may be instructed. The boys from Denzille street have already moved into the new premises. The ages of the boys who usually attend the home range from 14 to 19, and they are obliged to pay in fees, which includes board, lodging, and washing, the comparatively small sum of from 5s 6d to 7s 6d per week. Messrs H and J Martin deserve credit for the manner in which they have performed their contract under the supervision of Mr A E Murray, the architect.” Evening Herald, February 22, 1892.