Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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It’s interesting to compare those two Stephen’s Green houses with a pair of comparable London houses of about the same date.

This is nos. 23 and 25 Brook St. in Mayfair, built as a speculative development [originally of four houses] by a builder/developer called George Barnes in 1721-2. The water colour dates to the 1830s and shows the original arrangement before the attic storey was rebuilt as a full storey.

I think the floor plan of no. 25 [on the right] may have been altered later in the 18th century and that originally the layout of the fireplaces may have matched that of no. 23 on the left, which is identical to the floor plan of a Dublin ‘Billy’ of this period. The staircases and panelling are equally very similar.

If the floor plans are virtually indistinguishable, the internal fit-out broadly similar and if the differences in brickwork, door design and details are within the normal range of regional variation, there’s just no getting around the fact that it’s the gable design of the Dublin houses that sets them apart as belonging to a different branch of the family tree.

No. 25 was leased by Handel in 1723 and remained his home for the rest of his life. The blue plaque on no. 23 notes the fact that this house was rented for a time by Jimi Hendrex. Both houses are accessible now as the Handel Museum.

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