Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Anonymous
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Graham, great images from Shandon. The condition of that cluster of gabled houses on the corner of Shandon Street and John Philpott-Curran Street is a real concern though. Oddly whereas nos 5 and 6 [O’Hara’s Dental Practice and Star Cabs respectively] are Protected Structures, no. 7, the corner house next door with the side elevation to J P-C St. is not. Nos. 22 – 23 [Frank Nolan] the doubled gabled house is a PS also, but again nos. 118 and 119 are not. I think you’re spot on with your identification of all of these houses as early 18th century gabled houses, with some later alterations. The presence in Cork of a strong Victorian tradition of gable fronted houses makes it difficult to read the situation down there especially since some houses seem to have morphed straight from ‘Billy’ to Victorian, without the Georgian layers were used to seeing in Dublin.

Looking at Chearnley’s view of Shandon from c. 1746, he depicts quite a clear hierarchy of house types with ‘Billys’ dominating the main thoroughfare, then Mallow Lane – now Shandon Street and Gerald Griffin Street – with a range of vernacular typologies including gabled dormers and simple transverse roofs predominating amongst the buildings lining the secondary streets and laneways.

I’ve high-lighted Shandon Street by outlining the roofs of the near side of the street in red.

If the Shandon Street houses Graham has detailed are survivors from this ‘Billy’ streetscape, and if they are true to form, they will probably have been built, or at least faced, in red brick which may survive behind the rendered and painted finishes that now give the houses a 19th century appearance, I note a fine brick chimney in the photograph of the double gabled house at nos. 22 – 23.

Current aerial views show a derelict house a bit further up Gerald Griffin Street, near the back of the Neptune Stadium, that appears to have a series of substantial front-to-back beams at what would have been second floor, or attic storey level, we’ll have to check that out.

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