Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

Home Forums Ireland ‘Dutch Billys’ Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’


@gunter wrote:

The weavers houses of the Liberties were never high status houses, but they were merchantile houses in the European tradition and they had been recognised as unique and duly recorded in photographs and yet we still we allowed these houses, and numerous Dutch Billys, to vanish almost without a murmur of protest.

They were indeed merchantile houses until the weaving industry collapsed in the 19th century, following this the houses degenerated to slums and at the time were condemned as the ‘worst slums in europe’ by the types of people like the Guinnesses who built the Iveagh schemes.

We didn’t allow these houses to fall into disrepair and slum status it was ruthless landlords. We didn’t fight for their retention as they were squalid. At the time of the slum clearances in Ireland the school of thought as per many other european cities was to get people out of the squalid areas and into new worker housing (see some of the Amsterdam school of Apartments on the continent, and some famous examples in Berlin, Vienna and indeed most european cities) London too got rid of places of character where Jack the ripper did his work but they needed to go as people lived in appaling conditions.

The fine buildings that survived in most European cities, London included were, like merrion square, the hoses of the better off. Almost all the slums deteriorated and were cleared. It was much later in the 20th century (70s onwards) that the thought of restoration came on board in theses Isles, something that we in Ireland have only caught on to recently.

Yes it would have been wonderful to have an intact group of fantasticly restored weavers houses in Dublin, but given the economic, political and academic thought conditions at the time of the free state’s foundation this was never going to happen. Grieve for the loss of the streetscape by all means but don’t beat yourself up over it.

GrahamH – I wouldn’t class the early corporation schemes as derisory or substandard. The effect of poor maintenace on some and later schemes built around road engineers plans and flinging people out to the new towns without infrastructure were far more detrimental.

Latest News