Re: Re: Arnotts

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Oddly, given the enormous commercial implications of this scheme…

The tower you refer to Fergal is the central tower that was taken down in 1949, for no apparent reason other than it was deemed to be ugly, or at best unorthodox. It had survived 1916 and 1922. Presumably it was also at this time that the turrets were removed from the two side towers. And then about 15 years later the western tower disappeared completely with the construction of the 1960’s curtain-walled extension, however it would appear that only the tower’s facade was demolished, with its substructure including Victorian cast iron columns being retained behind part of the new facade, at ground floor level at least. Indeed it’s possible this is the reason a curtain-walled solution was called into play with the Arnotts extension: to partially clad over the western tower. Though why/if this was done is anyone’s guess…

Btw I recently tentatively ventured deep into the bowels of Arnotts, into the school uniform and baby needs section high up on the second floor in the Victorian block fronting onto Henry Street, and as hoped it’s a hidden enclave of original features that survived the 80’s and 90’s remodellings, with cast iron columns puncturing up through the floor. The floor seems to line up neatly with the windows, but the low columns and capitals, some only at waist level, clearly suggest a much grander plan originally, perhaps with no floor divisions at all, like a double or triple height space over the main entrance behind the red brick facade. There’s also a few simple arches that may or may not be original, clad over if I recall. It’s all very make-do-and-mend, with the shop charmingly muddling around these curious relics of a bygone store 🙂 – an increasingly rare phenomenon in Dublin today.

Of course many of the columns around part the central rotunda are also original, the mezzanine level only installed in the 1980s. That’s why the columns are ridiculously short at that level. So the original store was at the very least a double height space in the red brick block.

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