Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Apelles, until about three years ago I had no idea that Drogheda retained a treasure trove of houses belonging to the gabled tradition, none of the histories of the town make any mention of it. It was almost as if the street architecture of Drogheda was thought to skip straight from the elaborate half-timber cagework tradition of the celebrated Boate House to the stoic Georgian of the Grammar School, Singleton House and the like.

Without doubling the length of the Dutch Billy thread, I don’t know if we’re going to be able to put that record straight, but, as a first step, it certainly wouldn’t do any harm to point out that only the façade of the house you’ve highlighted [no. 106 West Street] is actually a ‘Protected Structure’ and neither of the two identical former Billys at nos. 5 and 8 almost directly opposite on the south side of the street even have that minimal level of protection . . . and these – the magnolia three – are only the tip of the gabled iceberg on West Street.

no. 106 West street

no. 5 West street, the right hand half of Dunnes Stores

no. 8 West Street, with its heavy parapet moulding which almost certainly replaced an original curvilinear gable

The rear of no. 8 West street, which was built over a medieval lane running down to Dyer Street

A view of the roofscape of the stretch of West Street from no 3 to no. 12 taken from the church parapet showing not just the former gabled houses at nos. 5 and 8, but also less obvious, two-bay, former Billys at nos. 4. 9 and 12 also. The roofs of nos 105 and 106 can be seen in the foreground

I don’t know what features the interior of these houses may retain, none of them are Protected Structures, but unfortunately I can confirm that the interior of no. 106 was recently, and comprehensively, plasterboarded out complete with a replacement stairs straight out of B+Q, all of which works take advantage of the fact that, unusually for Drogheda, only the façade of this particular house was Protected.

the top landing of no. 106

a beautiful pair of late Georgian curved windows are preserved on the rear elevation of no. 106, other features may survive behind the plasterboard.

Ironically, the house next door at 105 – the Victorian redbrick in Apelles pic. – enjoys full Protected Structure status even though it was only built in 1895.

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