Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Anonymous
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Just off Brown Street is Weaver Square. Now a desolate space to the south side of Cork Street, its form was obliterated by slum clearance and 1960s social housing.

1880s

Today

The Billies were probably of c. 1700 date, while the Victorians were pretty much brand new.

Here’s the terrace just a few years later. Two of the already-delapidated Billys were by then truncated. It looks like one collapsed and both were subsequently ‘made good’.

Interestingly for the 19th century Liberties, it appears even these buildings were considered out of bounds for the most wretched of potential tenants.

Just another typical day. I wonder where these ladies were off to. What a beautiful lamp.

I thought I’d (crudely) layer the modern-day scene from precisely the same position of the 1880s.

It is an extraordinary sensation to stand right on the site of the houses, with the foundations probably still concealed beneath your feet. The crudeness of the urban form at this location – essentially a cleared site unresolved from the 1960s (or should that be resolved 1960s style) – makes the former presence of these houses all the more vivid. Some forms can even still be made out on the gable of the adjoining Victorian.

The site of the houses is just poured concrete.

The Victorians still standing are curiously grand and middle class given the dereliction formerly directly adjacent. These were by no means artisan housing.

The central house owners are particularly deserving of credit for their beautiful maintenance.

The flat complex that replaced the Billies is now vacant and awaits demolition. Plans are currently being drafted – surely any half-decent contextual development would acknowledge through design reference both the former significance and the dominant architectural idiom of this place and that of the adjacent Chamber Street which it principally fronts.

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