Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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There was a lot of interesting new material aired in that seminar which we should have a look back at in due course.

We looked at this pair of former Billys at 27 and 28 South Anne Street before. It appears from lease records that they were amongst the earliest houses built on South Anne Street in late 1724 or early 1725.

The large corner site [outlined in red] was sold by Joshua Dawson to William Wilde in January 1718 under a 999 year lease which contained a covenant that required Wilde to build, ’within seven years from the date of the lease . . . . good fashionable houses to all that part fronting Anne Street’.

It seems that Wilde initially developed four houses on the Grafton Street frontage adjoining the house of a retired Huguenot soldier, Colonel Blosset, at no. 43, but it wasn’t until close to the seven year deadline in 1725 that he completed the first two houses on the South Anne Street frontage. These two houses were the pair at nos. 27 and 28.

In Sept. 1725 Wilde sold on the remainder of the site [outlined in blue] to a bricklayer, Ralph Evans, granting him ‘free liberty of building and resting timber in all the walls and gable ends of the said William Wilde’s house, backside, yard or garden, coach house or stable on the east . . . and a like liberty of bearing timber in Captain Pechell’s gable end [no. 39 Grafton St.] on the south’. Capt. Samuel de Pechels was another retired Huguenot officer who had served in Schomberg’s Regiment during the Williamite campaign.

Pechell’s house, in modernized 3-bay Georgian form, shows up in a late 19th century stereo image of Grafton Street [second house on the right], but the house beyond it, no. 38, was still recognisably a Billy at this stage with its characteristic window arrangement and low hopper heads.

Wilde seems to have had a preference for clean-cut, two-bay, Billys with uncomplicated, single bay, attic storeys under cruciform roofs and a good 19th century image of the east corner house on Molesworth Street / South Frederick Street, developed by Wilde in 1733 or shortly thereafter, survives although the house itself was rebuilt shortly afterwards.

This, along with the neighbouring terrace, also developed by Wilde and afterwards Georgianized, was swept away in the 1970s for the bland office block that now houses the Passport Office. Nevertheless, the Molesworth Street image gives us a pretty clear idea what the pair of Anne Street houses originally looked like.

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