Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Most of Charlemont Street would be a bit later, apart from that stretch at the northern end with the big contrast in scale that McCullough high-lighted [in D. an U.H.]

That particular – three storey with prominent hipped roof – house type that Boooooog refers to turns up particularly on the arterial routes into the city, with surviving examples [only just about] on James street and Dorset Street. The little blocky Dublin door surround is invariably found on that particular house type, as it is on almost all modest Dublin houses from the 1770s up to the early 19th century. The same door surround turns up on Mountpleasant Square begun about 1803.

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In trying to get to grips with the multiplicity of 18th century Dublin roof layouts [and what they may indicate] it might be worth looking again at the London situation.

We’ve noted the impact of the post 1666 – ‘Re-building London Regs’ – in bringing the curtain down on gabled streetscapes by prescribing orderly parapet lines, and we’ve looked the influence of ‘Palladianism’ as delivered by the speculative builders once Lord Burlington and Colen Cambell had put a ‘Britannicus’ stamp on Vitruvius, but beyond the boundaries of new building regulations and the reach of fashion, some fragments of a once common gabled heritage can perhaps be glimpsed in once peripheral locations.

This streetscape photographed before demolition in the 19th century was in Bermondsey, east of the Southwalk bridgehead on the south bank of the Thames. Obviously the terrace had been horribly mutilated by the time it was photographed, but if we imagine it with orderly ranks of flush mounted windows, in repeating brick façades, that’s not far from being a parallel for Chamber Street, assuming that is that the gables were never more elaborate than simply triangular. The apparently triple gabled structure in the foreground is interesting.

Not far away from the site of the Bermondsey terrace, a small group of interesting [if heavily altered] houses survive on Grange Walk.

nos. 5 [pale blue in the distance] to 9, Grange Walk, south London

nos. 6, 7 and 8 Grange Walk from the rear, probably too much rebuilding to draw conclusions

The group appears to date in part to about 1700, but it might be rash to draw too may conclusions from that grey, doubled gabled, house in particular as this house was reportedly built on the remains of a medieval monastic gate house with the projecting hinges still evident in the façade being a vestige of it’s former manifestation. Despite the heavy rebuilding of all these houses, there are possible clues to a shared tradition, in the fenestration of no. 8 with it’s façade including both grouped windows and a narrower light which presumably reflect the position of a stairwell. A small number of the Chamber Street houses included similar features and we saw the odd narrow window on Bachelor’s Walk.

no. 8 Grange Walk showing brick string courses angd different window widths on a single facade

north side of Chamber Street showing one house with similar windows, there were a couple more opposite this one on the south side of the street

However this seems to be where the two traditions diverge. The London equivalent of our ‘Weaver quarter’, with the same Huguenot associations and talk of weaving looms in light filled garrets, the area around Spitalfields east of the London Corporation boundaries, featured houses apparently designed from the start with the a characteristic ‘M’ shaped roof section, closely related to the lateral double-pile roof we were to become familiar with in Dublin in Georgian times.

This example is no. 20 Spitalfield Square, recorded by the London Historical Survey around 1909. The section is also interesting in that it shows the extent to which many of these houses were modernized in high Georgian times, this one in a particularly chaste Adams style, leaving only the less important areas still panelled in their original condition. It seems probable that the roof may have originally swept out beyond the elevations on carved brackets, but either way we can see that the main difference here was the choice of continuous lateral roof volumes over the terrace with a problematic concealed valley gutter and attic spaces relying on dormers, as opposed to the more sensible Dublin tradition of cruciform roofs which incorporated short valleys and which afforded standard window opportunities in the front and rear gables.

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