Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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The two New Row South corner houses (pairs of houses). These buildings both have close-coupled twin gables. The Blackpits corner is five bay and has a true attic storey with one opening per gable. The Ward’s Hill corner is closely related, but the window distribution doesn’t really acknowledge the gabled profiles fronting uninhabited attic space above.

30 Jervis Street is closely related to the Blackpits corner, as may be this house (dim rear view) at 123 Thomas Street, which is directly opposite the disputed house at no. 32.

Also closely related to the Blackpits corner is this Malton print of a five bay house (or pair of houses) at the corner of South William St. and Wicklow St. which again appears to have had close-coupled twin gables each lined up with one attic storey opening. Beside it is 41 Stephen’s Green, a former twin Billy with uninhabited attic space. The house has a Jervis Street style free distribution of windows at first floor level.

The famous triple gabled house on Molesworth Street, which like the Ward’s Hill corner house, has essentially ‘floating’ gables somewhat independent of the regular five bay window arrangement below. Beside it is a potentially significant, Malton drawn, house on High Street (second from the corner) which appears to be a standard narrow three bay, reducing down to two bay at the third floor level. Malton has drawn it with a chunky square chimney stack and a central gutter which strongly suggests that the house had a pair of axial roofs behind what looks like an altered flat parapet.

I would take this High street house to be a close parallel for Mulligan’s (8 Poolbeg St.) and a reasonably close parallel for both 32 Thomas St. and 25 James’s St.

To me, this short selection of prints and photographs is enough to show us that twin-Billys were a prominent and an important type in the range of gabled houses being built in the heyday of the Dutch Billy movement. To me, it’s not a huge leap of faith to imagine comparable twin gables on any house of the period that has a Billy plan and a roof structure (even if altered) that corresponds to the roof structures of these known (or strongly suspected) twin Billys.

Of course this won’t work if you’re in a state of Georgian induced denial:)

@Devin wrote:

The building is of significant architectural heritage value in its current late-Georgian shop-house character, regardless of possible origin.

I, don’t agree. I think 32 Thomas Street has much more significance if it’s accepted as a former twin-Billy, which is what I believe it to be. Incidentally that doesn’t mean that I want to ‘restore’ a presumed former appearance, absolutely not in this case.

@Devin wrote:

That looks like a standard early 18th century plan to me, not linked to any particular roof form. You haven’t actually said why “it makes perfect sense as a twin Billy” or why “the floor plans scream that out”.

The floor plans scream out ‘Billy’, or do you not agree with that?, From a design point of view, a two bay facade topped by twin gables would make perfect sense! . . . as it would for the Bachelor’s Walk and the Cork St. twin roofed houses, would it not?

If you come at it from the point of view that, in the gabled tradition, the roof structures were designed to support the chosen elevational treatment, then I think it becomes easier to see. To a large extent, in the Georgian era, roofs were just designed to keep the rain out.

@magwea wrote:

Heck, i never even new what a Billy was until i started reading this.

. . . and now you’re more confused than ever 🙂

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