Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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What we’ve ended up with here is the worst possible outcome; the two houses have been demolished, we’ve found out almost nothing about them that we didn’t know before, and the value that this city puts on its pre-Georgian stock is demonstrated to still be at or near zero.

If you have a pair of houses [one of them a Protected Structure] and they are the least altered surviving structures that date to the original development of a three hundred year old street and, after fire damage has burnt off a good part of their non-original roof timbers, the local authority can’t be bothered to devise a structural cage to secure the intact walls of these houses, I think it’s time to conclude that many of the people drawing pay-cheques in this city, in positions of heritage protection, just don’t get the whole Dutch Billy thing.

All we can do now is pick through the rubble.

This is a view down the hall to the stairs of no. 6 after the fire, but before demolition. It’s interesting that the stairs clearly had winders, an early feature that almost never appears in later houses.

The same stairwell from the rear during demolition. The remains of one of the stair timbers, cut off with a chain saw, can be seen on the right and square mortise holes can be seen in the trimmer beam and in the beam on the left built into the stairwell wall to receive the tenon of the first floor beam that would have originally divided the span of the small, square section, joists in the back room. All the floor joists and support beams had been replaced in no. 6, some may have survived in no. 5.

One of the sawn off flights of stairs can be seen dumped on the pile of rubble in the yard.

The charred remains of one of the newel posts and a lone surviving banister demonstrate that the well crafted stairwells in these houses had survived the later modernisations.

This is a photo of the stairs in the five-bay orphanage house in Harold’s Cross, discussed earlier, which is a very close match for the banister and newel post detail in the Benburb Street houses . . . . orangey-red paint included.

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