Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Just a quick correction and an up-date on 31 Aungier Street thanks to it’s wonderfully helpful owner, Mr. Stanley Siev.

No. 31 is actually the house beyond the house I had identified. I mistook a set back between it and the next house as the laneway (Aungier Place) when in fact, that laneway can be seen in the form of a surviving archway on the far side of this house in front of the gable end of the Corpo flats beyond. The fact that the house three doors up is clearly labelled ’34’ should have been a clue.

Mr. Siev recalls that there had been talk of a road widening scheme in the ’60s resulting in the terrace we see in the b+w photograph falling into dereliction, in which state several were subsequently burned out by vandals. The already altered top storey to no. 31 itself sucumbed to fire damage when no. 32 was destroyed by fire about 1972.

No. 31, and the truncated remains on no. 32, amid a sea of surface car parks from an 1970s aerial view.

Fortunately the lower floors were not seriously damaged and consequently the house retains many original features. In fact the top flights of stairs to the attic storey also survive as well as the top storey floor joists which were simply flat roofed over after the fire.

Details from the first floor showing some lovely chunky early features, including a heavy cornise moulding which, reportedly, is not plasterwork but timber! The banister profiles and swan-neck handrail feature are very similar to the Parnel St. ‘Billys’ discussed earlier. I love the tie bars (inserted by the Corporation after the supporting archway(s) to the side laneway were removed).

As suspected, the exceptionally high ground floor is actually the result of the lowering of the originally raised ground floor into the space occupied by a half basement level to create a commercial unit at street level.

Another feature, which I wouldn’t have previously thought of as original, is vertical plank panelling to the lower flights of the stairwell. A similar feature is noted in the recent ‘Building Condition Report’ on the Frawleys development, at no. 32 Thomas Street, which was almost certainly a ‘Dutch Billy’ of similar date.

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