Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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@trace wrote:

house C: but why do you think it had lost its top floor by the time the photo was taken (as it must have done to accommodate the low central drainpipe)?

trace, I was tempted to see that low, off-centre, hopper-head and drain pipe as evidence of another ‘twin-Billy’ here, but there is no outlet through the parapet corresponding to a central valley and that drainpipe looks pretty haphazard at best, it’s hard to see it as having been there 15 years, let alone 150, so I don’t think we should put too much store on it.

The house is early 18th century in every other detail, so it just needs an early 18th century roof profile. Of course, it could still have had a twin perpendicular roof, with the valley draining to the back (like 25 James’s St.) but we’ll only have Devin up in arms again if we try that:)

The photograph doesn’t give us any clues, no hint of a blocked up window cill in the brickwork of the parapet, but if house ‘C’ had the same type of, half full and half attic, storey as houses D & E (also shown below) I think it’s unlikely that it would have lost this top storey and still remained as substandially complete and occupied as it looks in the photograph. I think it more likely that this house just had a simple roof structure springing from the floor joist level of the third storey. That is also the most elegant of the various ‘Billy’ compositions,I MO, and this has the look of a house that somebody put a bit of effort into getting just right!

This is the other later photograph of houses D & E, from maybe ten or fifteen years later. House C is gone and replaced by some sort of miniature Victorian warehouse and the path has be re-laid in concrete, by the looks of it. The lamp standard has survived though.

It’s a pity there isn’t some mark on the party wall to indicate something of the profile of the roof structure of house ‘C’.

The little interior shot is just labelled ‘Newmarket’, but it would fit very well with being the front left attic storey room of house ‘D’ (the chimney stack being the same).

The variety in section of roof joists is a good indication of what to look for in a ‘Billy’ period house and contrasts with the standard sawn timber sections that would have been used in standard ‘Georgian’ construction a few decades later. This type of comparitively light construction is totally dependant on a framework of heavy timber beams (unfortunately one is probably just out of view above), for structural stability.

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