Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

Home Forums Ireland ‘Dutch Billys’ Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’


There was an interesting interview with the legendary historian of Dublin, Maurice Craig, in the Irish Times a few days ago in which he reminded us that he was given assurances by the authorities that the importance of the last two surviving unaltered Dutch Billys in Dublin, a pair on the south side of Longford Street, was recognised, and the houses would be protected, only to see them buldozed a short time later.

two 1940s photographs of the Longford Street ‘billys’ shortly before their demolition.

We can see again, in the right hand house, the relaxed attitude to window spacing and also the willingness to use more than one width of window on a single facade.

A while back, I think I posted these two views below of 56 Capel Street where the back is classic ‘Billy’, but the late 19th century front facade betrays no particular evidence of ‘Billy’ origins.

recent front and rear views of 56 Capel street.

This is the facade of no. 56 Capel Street as it appears in Shaw’s Dublin Pictorial Directory of 1850 with a window arrangement almost identical to the right hand Longford St. ‘Billy’, even down to the slightly wider dimensions (admittedly not always a reliable level of detail in 19th century prints) of the first floor windows. The single window on the top floor, had this facade survived, would have given us a clear indication that the house was a Georgian masked ‘Billy’. Still, even though the facade was clearly completely bebuilt, post 1850, there’s every reason to believe that the guts of the house remains intact and lest we allow more Dutch Billy heritage to fall through our hands like the Longford Street houses sixty years ago, this house and the many more that we know survive need to be surveyed, assessed, registered and put on the record of protected structures, without any more weasel words and half-baked commitments.

Latest News