Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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@GrahamH wrote:

Great thread.

One building I’m not sure about being a Dutch Billy is No. 32 directly across the road, prior to its bizarre Victorian – and probably later again – remodelling.

A picture of the building, possibly from the late 18th century, shows it as having a flat parapet and small window opes precisely matching those of the upper two floors.

Yet this house apparently dates from c. 1725,

And as to the evidence of Dutch Billy, and a large one at that, surely such a fenestration pattern to the rear is suggesting something?

A house of this scale would not be out of place adjoining the tripartite gabled home of Speaker Foster that was once located right next door,


I think you’re spot on there on no. 32. I’m not familiar with the late 18th century print that you mentioned though, (unless it’s this one from ‘Lost Dublin’) and I hadn’t realized there were so many bits of the original structure left inside.

Freddy O’Dwyer had speculated that Speker Foster’s house was ‘something of a hybrid, with gables on top of the parapet’ and that it was to the left of the building in your photograph, no 32 (where 29, 30 & 31 are now), having been knocked and ‘replaced before 1821’ But actually Speker Foster’s triple gabled house was ‘Lisle House’ at 33 Molesworth Street, and it’s still there, the big five bay house to the right of your no. 32. So the yellow rendered house that you’ve shown and the five bay brick ‘Georgian’ to the right are the two gabled houses shown in Penny Journal print reproduced in Freddy’s book.

There are photographs from the early 1970s that show the original three perpendicular roofs to no. 33, that originally lined up with the three gables, peeping up behind the later Geoprgian parapet.

The shameful gutting and removal of the roofs from no. 33 took place as recently as 1974, under the direction of a firm of architects who are still prominent in the city. The recent planning application (reg. no. 2775/07) by Benson & Forsyth to build a large office blook to the rear and further alter the two houses, totally underplayed the importance of the two houses.

The planning application was refused by DCC following some withering comments by the conservation officer, the brilliant Clare Hogan again (she of the savage attack on the Clarance Hotel proposal, which unfortunately wasn’t listened to). I particularly liked her put down of the prestigeous Benson & Forsyth: ‘The National Gallery extension is not considered an acceptable precedent as it . . . is a major public institution’ and implied, this is an office block!

If only someone had pointed this out to our ‘DARE TO BE THE BLOODY SAME’ friends out on the Merrion Road.

Possibly the cruelist irony for the great ‘Dutch Billy’ that was no. 33 is that when it’s main staircase was ripped out in 1974, it was given a new home in 13 Henrietta Street!

I don’t know if great staircases have souls, but this must be like taking a lifelong Everton fan and burying him in a Liverpool jersey.

For the record, I very muched liked the Benson & Forsyth plan, except for the further alterations to the two houses, and I would be far more in favour of stuff like this, densifying up under-used sites in the city centre, than the random depositing of ‘urban’ centres on distant suburban and green field sites.

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