Re: Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!
In the instance of No 37, the owner simply disregarded all the advice and best practice made available to them and went ahead with destructive behaviour that has significantly reduced the attractiveness of their building and resulted in the loss of features on interest on the building. Its a real shame.
Perhaps advice was made available to the owns of no. 37, but even if that is the case, part of the problem as I see it is the seemingly arbitrary nature of the ‘Protected Structure’ register.
Why is it that no. 37 Thomas Street is a Protected Structure, but neither no. 36, nor no. 38 are?
Particularly when the house retained its original sash windows, the façade of no. 37 [which is probably a late 19th century re-facing of the house that Charles Willcocks was inhabiting in the 1740s] had qualities in its proportion and the distinctiveness of the detailing that clearly merited Protected Structure status, but it isn’t just the façade of no. 37 that is protected, it is the whole structure, so clearly, the local authority had a notion that the structure as a whole had conservation significance.
In the fifteen or twenty years since no. 37 was first included on the Register of Protected Structures, has anyone in the local authority ever communicated with the owners of no. 37 to explain what the particular qualities were that mark his building as worthy of a level of conservation protection that the neighbouring structures don’t merit?
Which leads on to a second question; has anyone in the local authority any actual information on the house to communicate?
Has any research been undertaken, in the fifteen or twenty years since the house was first listed, in an effort to clarify the significance of the structure, or any features that it may retain?
Should we really be shocked and dismayed that property owners regularly behave with little or no regard for the Register of Protected Structures?
Essentially we have a system here where the owners of Protected Structures are left to fend for themselves in an information vacuum, often with little or no idea why their particular house was singling out for inclusion on the register in the first place and where they have little reason for confidence that the register is either fair or grounded in anything more that a superficial glance at the streetscape.
Like no. 37, both no. 36 [The Fade-Willcocks Bank] and no. 38 have undeniable streetscape merit, even in their present 19th century guise, but in addition to that there is strong documentary evidence that both structures were newly rebuilt between 1728 and 1734 and it is probable that much of the fabric of both houses substantially dates from this period. As we know, the built-heritage of this period, which was the heyday of the gabled tradition, continues to disappear at an alarming rate.
For decades, Dublin City Council have treated their responsibilities for building conservation as a bloody nuisance and even today responsibility for protected structures is dispersed among half a dozen departments or divisions; Planning, Planning Enforcement, Conservation, City Architects Office, Heritage Office etc. all of which fragmentation conveniently keeps the goal of building conservation from ever being a serious objective that might require the allocation of actual resources.
I’m not defending the owner of no. 37 Thomas Street for his culpability for the unauthorized works to this Protected Structure, but if I was defending him, I think I’d be entitled to join the city manager into any action taken against him.