Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Back to Thomas Street in Dublin.

As we’ve long suspected, the sale of the Digital Hub site on the south side of Thomas Street appears never to have been completed. Manor Park Homes, or whoever it was that lodged those gubu planning applications for the site in 2006 and 2007, have now vanished over the horizon and ‘The Digital Hub Development Agency’, the state agency set up in 2003 to develop and manage ‘The Digital Hub’ is now back at the controls and seeking to progress matters itself on a vastly more modest scale.

The Digital Hub Development Agency recently lodged a planning application [Reg. no. 2855/10] to convert the old Corporation library at 22-23 Thomas Street, latterly the ‘Brewery Hostel’ to office use.

Nothing much to get excited about here, except that this confirms that the state is the owner of the two important [and crumbling] former ‘Billys’ next door at 20 and 21 Thomas Street.

After establishing beyond much doubt some time ago that these two houses are both very early 18th century gabled structures that each retain significant original features, the City Council were politely asked to initiate the designation process that would bestow ‘Protected Structure’ status on the houses. They were also asked to investigating the ownership of the properties with a view to making the structures weather tight until further research could establish the true value of the houses as probable representatives of the lost ‘Dutch Billy’ tradition and establish the potential scope for restoration.

While I’d like to think that a great deal has been happening behind the scenes, the likelihood is that actually nothing has been happening at all. I’m not even sure that the water supply to the burst tank in the attic of no. 21 has been turned off. This would be bad enough if Manor Farm Chickens were the owners of the properties, but the state is the owner of the properties.

I think we need to see some action on this now. I’m not impressed that DCC would even contemplate granting permission for the change of use of nos. 22-23 to the same outfit that have shown utter disregard for the architectural heritage of the properties they own next door.

Everyone involved in this has questions to answer, the state, The Digital Hub Agency, Dublin City Council, the participating professionals, everyone.

The city is attempting to obtain UNESCO designation for the Georgian core and at the same time it’s allowing the foundations of the city’s 18th century grandeur to crumble away.

Not good enough 😡

This is a 1950s aerial glimpse of the south side of Thomas Street with nos. 20 [blue], 21 [red] and 22-23 [green] marked.

It looks like we mightn’t have been too far off with that conjectural reconstruction posted a while back, at least we have confirmation of the original fenestration to the facade of no. 21.
It’s interesting also that the full lateral roof to the front of the old library [nos. 22-23] must be quite a recent alteration.

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