Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Anonymous
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Fabulous work, gunter! Such superb attention to informed detail. My, the impact these houses could have were they to be reinstated! Particularly as a non-uniform pair, side by side, characteristic of so many streets in early 18th century Dublin.

It’s interesting how the broad pitch of No. 21 manifests itself in the conjectural gable; even depicted as wide as it is, the breadth of the gable is still only the bare minimum it could be. Quite a cumbersome, if charming, shaped house it has to be said. I would almost firmly agree that a curvilinear, open-bedded pedimented gable is the most likely type this house once had. In spite of its overriding squat character, the surprising grandeur of the rooms and extremely broad stairwell are more suggestive of an early grand house than a later modest house with a triangular gable. As such, an ambitious decorative gable is likely to have been the order of the day. No. 20 is of course more textbook. And to get those chimneystacks back too! Oh the rooflines!

We appear to have another Billy lurking in the ranks over on Stephen Street Lower, opposite the Trinity Capital Hotel.

The lands of South William Street were under development as early as the late 1670s, so it is fair to say the plots on Stephen Street emerged soon afterwards. All are shown complete on Brooking’s map of 1728. The building in question is the central building below, a newsagents with a Victorian refacing.

Note how primitively spaced the windows are and the marvellously low shopfront.

Here it (appears) to be on Rocque’s map of 1756. There is some confusion matching modern-day plots with those depicted by Rocque – there seems to be one missing closer to South William Street, but working back from the Hairy Lemon pub, the below plot is correct, along with a distinctive closet return. The problem is, the existing chimneystack is on the wrong wall for it to be one of the below (probable) matching pair…

We zoom inside, and what do we encounter only a corner chimneystack 🙂

The diminutive height of the ground floor of more suggestive of a c. 1700 building than a transitional Georgian of c. 1740 which are fairly commonplace.

The neighbouring building (left) would appear to fit that bill better. It too has a corner chimneystack to the interior, but is overall more grandly scaled.

The rears are very interesting, if sadly impossible to accurately make out from this vantage point. Lots of returns pooping in and out. There’s so much going on, my head is wrecked trying to match all of the evidence. Too many discrepancies!

The distinctive rebuilt chimneystack. The wider street scene also nicely highlights our building as the anomaly it is.

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