The Great 1930s Scheme

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    • #708262

      Crumlin is a fascinating place. Its vast tracts of housing were built as the great hope for solving Dublin’s housing crisis of the early 20th century, but then went into a dark period about ten years later once the young, often disadvantaged families began to grow up, stigmatising the area, but now it is going through a revival of sorts as the population has mellowed and aged and the ‘troublesome’ generation dissipated, with new families now moving back into what are now highly desirable homes close to the city centre.

      A lot has been written about the great Corporation schemes of the 1930s-60s, particularly the flat complexes, but not so much of the suburban housing constructed, and least still of their architecture. The book ‘Shaping the City and Suburbs’ seems to have a good bit on it though – hope to get hold of it soon.

      The Crumlin housing as it exists today itself reads as an open book, reflecting cultural and societal trends to an extraordinary degree – most prominent of all of course being individualism.
      Indeed it is the result of this very practice that forces you to look down from above to see the Crumlin Scheme as originally built. This is an OS map of the area – you can see how beautifully planned it is:

      …all linking through to Crumlin village at the very bottom.

      (apologies for the poor quality of the pics below – very rushed)

      Mostly designed and built in the 1930s, the basic house unit is quite modernist in style: streamlined, clean cut lines, stripped of virtually any decoration, with the aesthetic relying on the bold structure of the buildings, the paint colour used, and the simplest of render detail in the form of a distinctive band running across the middle of every house, and around doors and windows. They have an almost classical elegance, particularly the doorcases:

      For the most part the units are not built as semi-detached as above – these were only used as infill or on corners – but rather as part of terraces such as these:

      There were three main house types: the Mk 1, the Mk 2 and Mk 3 – the first being a two-bed mid-terrace, the second a three-bed mid-terrace, and the third being an end-of-terrace which is usually 3-bed. Most of the houses are built of solid concrete (not sure if this is cast concrete or cavity block though), making them incredibly solid, seemingly well insulated, and completely sound-proofed from neighbours. The interiors feature quality carpentry in doors, architraving, skirting and stairs.

      As most people in Dublin know, it is the latter corner house that is highly coveted :), either in the form of an end-of-terrace or a signature corner house at a crossroads of which there are many beautifully laid out examples.
      Corner houses were often given ‘special treatment’ like the Wide Streets Commission corners of old, with classic wine-bricked ground floors:

      …or just featuring a posher string course of brick rather than render 🙂

      It is without doubt these carefully laid out crossroads punctuating linear streets that is one of the most appealing aspects of Crumlin housing. Which is where the rant begins 😡

      Why why why must we allow anything that is good in this country fall to pieces for the sake of individualism and parish pump politics?
      Why in the name of all that is sane was the Crumlin Corporation housing scheme not protected from the inevitable utter insanity that prevails today?
      Why is it that in Britain local authorities protect and enforce letting contracts in even the most depressingly bog standard, sprawling 1950s estates, yet in Dublin the Corporation couldn’t have given a toss as to how its flagship scheme built with such pride and optimism ended up?
      Why when it started selling off its stock c.1970s did it not do so under strict lease conditions, indeed any conditions at all?!

      It is so depressing to walk around these once fine areas and see the most arrogant, self-absorbed, selfish, self-centred preposterous alterations being carried out to units in this planned scheme, with not so much as the slightest input of any planning professional.

    • #763713

      One of the worst manifestations of this is the destruction of the distinctive boundary walls – arguably the finest feature of Corporation housing, and a design that remains completely unchanged for every single type of house ever built in the area from 1930 through until 1950 – they link everything together. Beautifully proportioned, built and finished, these walls are fine pieces of design, with the original gates featuring a little flourish of detail in what is an otherwise straight-laced urban scheme:

      Everywhere you go you see the walls hacked down and left vacant, gateposts knocked out to fit cars into the drive – if you’re lucky they may be crudely rebuilt – breeze block walls, unrendered walls, rail-topped walls, ghastly all-singing red or tan brick replacement walls, piers and gateposts, 70s railings, 80s railings, gold-tipped 90s railings………

      When you see all this nonsense, and it’s everywhere, the planning threshold of around 1.5 metres or so to the front of properties comes across as nothing short of a farce.

      Similarly, and much more prominently, how can any local authority possibly claim to be ‘protecting’ or ‘preserving’ the ‘established character’ of residential areas with extension applications, when you see the travesties of Corporation housing – the vast majority of which was not carried out in the dark ages of the 1970s as is commonly perceived, but rather today. How can Dublin City Council possibly permit this type of development?

      A crucial corner house:

      A rendered-over mid-terrace:

      The ubiquitous porch addition:

      …and countless countless other additions on every second house.
      Another astonishingly bad example of atrocious planning is the building of new houses as infill in the gardens of corner houses. Not only can this destroy the orderly planned crossroads, these houses aren’t even built in the same style! Red or orange brick and everything in between is permitted, materials completely alien to their location, cladding detached houses with equally inappropriate roofs chimneys and boundary wall treatment

      Why was all of this allowed? Is personal ‘freedom’ and ‘expression’ considered so much more important than the greater good? Do really hold mé-féinism so dear to our hearts?!

      Even if the houses of the 1930s don’t quite suit contemporary needs, a series of templates could have been drawn up by the City Council for the purposes of extending the original dwellings: plans that could not be deviated from that would have complemented the collective whole.

    • #763714

      Crumlin as it exists today is a shambles, with, as happens in all similar schemes, the only fragments of the original plan remaining manifest in decrepit houses occupied by elderly people who have lived there since day one: the Marian blue paint still on the front door since 1973, the garden overcome with weeds, and the original timber windows rotting off the sills.
      Indeed original windows, let alone front doors are as rare as hen’s teeth now, with probably less than 1% of houses, i.e. less than 1 in 100 houses retaining their features, having survived the self-improvement brigade.

      None of this intended to come across as some sort of Marxist rant, far from it, just if you have a plan, you stick to it. If it needs to be changed, you do it in an orderly fashion.
      The above is also not intended as a scoff at the taste or cultivation of people, but rather their blindness towards the bigger picture.
      It’s not the preposterousness of the cliché below that is offensive, rather it is the damage done to common interest:

      (Though saying that, you gotta love that last house – it has what seem to be blue LEDs built into the interior sill of the bay window that light up the curtains at night :D)

      It seems the ‘common interest’ in this country is having the freedom to do as you like, considering this is what most people seem to want…
      Similarly you could argue that part of the appeal of Crumlin today is this very patchwork makeup of the area.

      How different things could have been.

    • #763715

      Ah yes, Crumlin – it has the holy grail of planning today: the ‘series of interconnecting streets and spaces’. A detail I love is the Art Deco-ish motif on the dwarf wall surrounding the circular green in the centre.

      It is so sad what is happening to those houses and their curtilage. A friend of mine lives in one – the insides are of similarly good robust design.

      Something definitely needs to be done before the place becomes unrecognisable.

    • #763716

      Graham honey, there’s no accounting for taste. Some people like easi-cheese with their fois gras.

    • #763717

      I seem to recall reading a microfilm news report from the period that the primary school in Crumlin was the largest in Europe due to the sudden influx of new residents.

      One wonders if locating the Children’s Hospital there too was an early (rare) example of planning.

      The influence of Marino on Crumlin is very pronounced. Pity the planners of both areas did not foresee the explosion in car ownership, a the narrow roads are in part the explanation of the early transformation of gardens into car parking bays. This is one of the most pronounced, yet unremarked, features of changing urban landscape.

    • #763718

      Absolutely – though the opposite is often the case regarding road widths dc3: Crumlin has exceptionally wide streets in places, made up of wide pavements, an equally wide and often windswept lay-by, and then wide two-lane carriageways in the middle. Even in these cases no effort is made to convert these areas for parking.
      I know from residents that these areas are used by commerical outfits and small business to park their trucks and trailers at night! Indeed the place can become a dumping ground at weekends for commercial vehicles.

      Also many of these areas are devoid of planting, i.e. trees along what could be fine very avenues and roads. No doubt this is in part due to the troublesome generation of the past, but efforts should now be made to change this. One need only look at the beauty of St Agnes Park, the main avenue that links the Crumlin Scheme to the village and church.
      It is a private road, but was developed at roughly the same time in the late 40s and early 50s. At the time it was planted with sycamore trees and now these form an almost Griffith Avenue-like streetscape – if only the same could be said for the Crumlin scheme.

      As the Hospital has been mentioned the new wing recently opened looks great, fits in very well with the original scheme, even if its long-term future may be in question:

      Yes that fact about the schools in Crumlin is extraordinary – something like 20,000 children used to pour out of the schools at closing resulting in the closing times being staggered like present-day nightclubs 🙂
      Indeed three of the schools are on St Agnes Park/Armagh Road, architecturally interesting in themselves – one modernist, the other two neoclassical.

      When you see the gently curving roads of Crumlin, the squares and crescents, the well-designed houses and curtilages, the spaces set aside for recreation, the tree planting in areas where it has survived, the emphasis placed on layout and social interaction, you really would wonder about modern-day housing estates.
      Why can’t developers even lay out a curved street?! Is it really that difficult?! They can be so picturesque and visually interesting.
      Why can’t developers build terraces anymore, or indeed anything other than semi-ds on a grid pattern?
      Or properly finish off estate walls, paving, planting, street furniture…?

      The other factor to consider with Crumlin is that it was built at such a density as to make public transport more than viable; there’s a bus every 15 minutes at peak times in most places, with every 20-30 minutes thereafter.
      Very few, if any housing estate in modern Ireland can claim anything even close to the success of the Crumlin Scheme, planned over 70 years ago.

    • #763719

      Good work, Graham. . ‘Tis like reading a book.. when are you publishing that book on Dublin anyway?

      One thing that strikes me about Crumlin/Drimnagh.. concrete & tarmac city. Not a planned tree in sight. The Long Mile Rd there is terribly sparse. A few trees down the median would work wonders.

      Those houses in your first post were built to a very high standard. My sister has a similar house out in Inchicore, which is exactly the same as the ones in Crumlin. She had the house renovated, everything stripped back. It was amazing to see the craftsmanship underneath the plaster. Quality stuff indeed.

      That building above (or the one next to it on the left) has something to do with Macdonalds fast food, they provided funding for it. I believe they serve food to the visitors of the hospital in that building. Sorry for being vague. I remember driving past it last week and seeing (much to my surprise) ‘Ronald Macdonald House’ on the side of the building!

      Somebody here must know more about it.

    • #763720

      Well they do operate a children’s charity, a big world-wide organisation, so maybe it was part-funded by it?

      Yes it’s funny to see good old Corpo housing in parts of the city that may be unfamilar to you – they breed like rabbits, popping up all over the place 🙂
      The basic model was used all over the city – even Fair City took them into account when building their set in the 80s!

      Concrete & tarmac city is right – ridiculous amounts of space left bare and windswept. Indeed as we speak, much of this concrete is being renewed all over Crumlin causing something of a headache for residents trying to get home.
      Hopefully trees will feature more this time round.

    • #763721


      Well done Graham.

      My understanding is that Ronald McDonald houses provide living quarters for parents of sick children, so they can stay with them in hospital.

    • #763722

      Graham, Excellent work, terrific rant 🙂 But must disagree totally!
      To my mind one of the most appealing aspects of these houses is that the basic robust structure of the units allows them to be individualised – a bit like Le Corbs Donimo. And if and when so desired in future times, the original can be reinstated without too much effort. I say this giving particular consideration to add-on conservatries that may up the floor area of a two-bed from maybe 70 sq metres (?) to closer to 100 – and so dramatically enhance the quality of life of a young couple with two kids. Any takers? I know that this heresy is probably going to be a minority view of 2! 😀
      PS When is the book coming out – and will you take contributions to its content from archiseek members?

    • #763723

      I live in a similar scheme in Donnycarney…although it was built a little earlier than Crumlin. But there are similar issues here. Extensions into side plots, building whole houses on some corner plots, re-rendering of facades out of style with the restof the scheme, hacienda style additions.

      We also had no trees for years until some where put in about 10 years ago. However it was more a case of put a tree where there’s an excess of pavement rather than laying out any sort of planting scheme.

      Paving and surfaces are in a poor state generally. Personally I dont understand this fixation with using poured concrete for surfaces. Its only laid and it dug up by a utility. The cumulative affect in our scheme is a patchwork of low quality pavements and roads. The use of a high wuality tarmac set off with proper stone kerbs would be much more practical. Or eve the combination of tarmac and paving slabs that you see in UK housing schemes. At least the tarmac can be more easily removed and replaced when utility works are required.

      And finally the mass of overhead wires and poor grade lighting takes away from the schemes. You rightly point out the aesthetic qualities of these housing schemes Graham…its such a pity that the public domain wasn’t given as much consideration. Of course if this was Sandymount, Ballsbridge, Foxrock….

    • #763724

      Good article Graham!!
      As a resident of Crumlin I would agree totally on your thesis.
      The houses when originally built were very basic often with very basic sanitary facilities. the norm was to have a separate toilet in the back garden. The majority of the original houses had a very small kitchen area (back) with a small parlor room at the front. This space is small compared to today’s standard new house design. I would guess that 95% of all housing stock in this area has some kind of back garden extension in order to compensate for the lack of space.(look at the OSI 1:1000 map). In my case, there is an single story flat roofed extension in the back garden which is where the kitchen is located. Kitchen extensions would make up the majority of extensions in the area. Having said that, it is great to live in an area with a very settled population. These is a sense of neighborhood which I feel if often missing in new housing developments.There is a great mix of people from young couples to OAP;s in the area. This kind of mix of people you do not get in any of the new housing developments in the new suburbs. The area is generally very safe where neighbors would generally look out for one another.

      One of the biggest problems with new housing schemes on the peripheries of out towns and cities is this ‘Cul-de-sac’ culture. Nearly every new housing scheme has one entrance in and out only. When looking on a map each housing estate is linked by these distributor roads which are dreary featureless places often with a footpath and gray block walls. These do not add to the concept of an urban place. While I understand that most people who buy (or rent) houses with children want cul-de-sac’s because of traffic issues (so that they will let there children play out side etc). But these new cul-de-sac developments are usually not sustainable, lead to this car dependant culture and this monotony of house design which is so prevalent in Irish towns and cities today. I think new developments should have a sense of propose, streets which go places, terraced housing, footpaths and places where you will find pedestrians. One of the interesting things looking at the population density maps (based on DED’s) from the last census is that Crumlin and Drimnagh have some of the highest population densities in the city. Yet all houses in these areas have some kind of small private open space

    • #763725

      anybody see the dreadful estates on Prime Time Investigates last night. One can’t but winder that this terribly bleak estates had something to do with the Anti social behaviour (That and the parents and lack of law enforcement!)

    • #763726

      anybody see the dreadful estates on Prime Time Investigates last night. One can’t but winder that this terribly bleak estates had something to do with the Anti social behaviour (That and the parents and lack of law enforcement!)

      Yes, but Graham is in favour of the bleakness. Did you not read the thread properly?

    • #763727

      Absolutely – there’s nothing like a well-placed burnt out car, stripped-back pebble-dashed (also preferably scorched) facades, and all round a sense of hopelessness and despair. Conforms to what’s been said above to a tee.

      There is nothing bleak asdasd in uniformity, though this does seem to be the Irish mindset. There is nothing bleak in the order proposed above – quite the opposite in fact, in contrast with modern-day estates which are very much so cheerless places. Corporation schemes like Crumlin have a life of their own by virtue of the variety of house designs, street patterns and layouts, and the multitude of colours used. Coupled with imaginative street planting and the individuality of resident’s gardens, they make for thoroughly attractive places to live

      I’m not suggesting that this is what you think asdasd, but your use of the term ‘bleak’ perfectly encapsulates for me Irish people’s attitude towards domestic architecture and ‘communal’ living. Everything is ‘bleak’ and ‘boring’ unless I get the the chance to tart my place up, and make it stand out from the crowd. Uniformity, order and coherence are not considered worthy concepts in this country any more; people are no longer content to live with a base unit to which they can merely add some of their own touches in the form of differently coloured front doors or windows. They have to make a ‘statement’ – smash out the front of the house and stick in a bay window, tack on a porch, change the windows to highlight my tastes, install a length of new facia the pathetic width of my plot to demarcate my patch from the plebs, install regal railings to the front, paint my house in what is an otherwise unpainted terrace…….the list goes on and on.

      So few people seem to have an appreciation for the understated, the simple, for quiet elegance. Instead of being content with quietly being part of the crowd, people want to detach themselves from it at all costs. Of course this has always been the case down through time, but it’s never been as blatently evident nor as destructive in the built environment as today.

      @Richards wrote:

      These is a sense of neighborhood which I feel if often missing in new housing developments.There is a great mix of people from young couples to OAP]

      Could not agree more Richards, this is perhaps the best aspect of Crumlin today. There’s such a mix of people there now that works so well, especially having the older generation around which is wonderful – such a refreshing contrast to the stilted demographic of newly established housing estates. There can be a real sense of community in places, with younger people looking after the older ones, and they in turn enjoying having kids around again etc.

      Also Crumlin housing is prefect for modern needs with the mixture of two and three-bed houses. With the household population topping 1.4 million recently, a whopping proportion of this increase is amongst single and dual-occupier households, to whom the two-beds perfectly suit. The diversity in house size here further helps to enliven the area and attract different people.
      Agreed about the room sizes, the sitting room in particular to the front is really tiny in the two-beds. But yes there is huge scope to the rear of these properties to extend, which is where all such extensions should’ve been confined instead of destroying the distinctive streetscapes with willy nilly, and by and large remarkably ugly, additions.

      @hutton wrote:

      And if and when so desired in future times, the original can be reinstated without too much effort

      So when exactly is this Revolution planned for hutton? Please give us a hint so we can cash in before the Morehampton Roads of the city vacate in favour of Drimnagh. I can see the estate agents’ blurb on original features already :p

    • #763728

      Graham. I dont take offence at you assuming that I am opposed to grey bleak unifrom council houses. I think there should be restrictions on what can be built but lets leave people ownership of their housing stock. You do sound like a Marxist, or a paternalistic conservative: not sure which.

      install a length of new facia the pathetic width of my plot to demarcate my patch from the plebs

      (My boldification.)

      I see.

    • #763729

      Pathetic in the grand scheme of a terrace – there is nothing more ridiculous, more ludicrous than a length of personalised fascia on one unit in a terrace. More than anything, this is what sums up people’s self-absorption when it comes to the built environment.

      I dont take offence at you assuming that I am opposed to grey bleak unifrom council houses.

      In which case I presume you are not opposed to Crumlin, considering its houses are for the most part neither grey nor bleak.
      There is a world of difference between Crumlin and the likes of architecturally dismal Muirhevna Mór in Dundalk.

      By no means is uniformity desirable across the board in the built environment – variety is the spice of life, and this is what makes our streetscapes and buildings interesting. What irritates me about Crumlin is that like countless other schemes and developments, it was just allowed to fall apart because nobody could be bothered to keep it together.

    • #763730

      Yeah I admit I dont know much about crumlin at all. I am thinking of certain northside housing estates.

    • #763731
      Rory W

      Don’t worry – all the houses in Crumlin are soon to have a unified scheme, all extensions re-renderings etc will be disguised under wave after wave of Christmas Lights – you wont be able to see any modern additions! 🙂

    • #763732
      Alek Smart

      Holy God Graham but given the present social climate I would hope you keep your camera well concealed during your perambulations through Crumlin/Drimnagh…..:eek:
      Its something to keep in the back of your mind,that the sight of a strange fellow taking pictures of individual houses and cars in a resedential area might not be seen as having anything to do with a Social/Architectural forum in some people`s minds…….Bi Cuaramach A Cairde 🙂

    • #763733

      I think that the most lamentable thing here is that these great works of planning is that they aren’t done anymore. If you look at the map above you see that the area is well laid out in a web of roads which create some sense of there being a neighbourhood. One road leads to another and traffic is assimilated better. Nowadays though all you have are cul-de-sacs with 200 homes on them which all lead on to the same road. There could be 5 or 6 estates leading onto what was a country road 5 years ago, which leads to the same set of traffic lights.Theres no sense of area, just anonomous estates with roads that go from the exit/enterance to the end and back again. The large housing estates built by the government in cities around the country in the fifties and sixties were well designed in terms of layout though socially they were a disaster. Sometimes I wish that the government would make up the plans for new neighbourhoods themselves, with better integrated road networks, and then let the developers do the rest. But thats not going to happen.

      On the subject of the careless alterations of houses such as these, have you seen some of the colours on houses
      in knocknaheeny in Cork? Luminous orange ground to gutter. Yuk!

    • #763734

      @PTB wrote:

      On the subject of the careless alterations of houses such as these, have you seen some of the colours on houses
      in knocknaheeny in Cork? Luminous orange ground to gutter. Yuk!

      Maybe you should call in and complain?

    • #763735

      Yes original windows and doors are a missing feature now around crumlin. Ive often been temped to call into an ‘original’ house when its just been sold on and ask for all the windows and doors if the house was being gutted, which more often than not it is. but ive never done it.

      Speaking of walls they are an amazing asset to the estates. Not sure if anyone noticed over the past few months, but a house on the corner of Sundrive Road and Clogher Road had its curved original front wall damaged very badly in a traffic accident. The owners have done a most amazing job on restoring the wall to almost original condition and it really does look fantastic. Although one would know on looking at it that the quality just isn’t the same. In Crumlin all those lines are perfectly straight and level in the walls, the border where the bit of dashing crosses onto render is perfectly straight, and the curves leading up to the pillars are all perfectly formed. In this day and age with all our technology 70 years later, out builders just cannot seem to get this right. and It shows. none the less it’s a pretty good job. ill try and get a photo.


    • #763736
      Rory W

      @djasmith wrote:

      Yes original windows and doors are a missing feature now around crumlin. Ive often been temped to call into an ‘original’ house when its just been sold on and ask for all the windows and doors if the house was being gutted, which more often than not it is. but ive never done it.

      Speaking of walls they are an amazing asset to the estates. Not sure if anyone noticed over the past few months, but a house on the corner of Sundrive Road and Clogher Road had its curved original front wall damaged very badly in a traffic accident. The owners have done a most amazing job on restoring the wall to almost original condition and it really does look fantastic. Although one would know on looking at it that the quality just isn’t the same. In Crumlin all those lines are perfectly straight and level in the walls, the border where the bit of dashing crosses onto render is perfectly straight, and the curves leading up to the pillars are all perfectly formed. In this day and age with all our technology 70 years later, out builders just cannot seem to get this right. and It shows. none the less it’s a pretty good job. ill try and get a photo.


      Back then people took pride in their work – builders today are not the apprenticed craftsmen of old, rather they are the jack of all/master of none variety

    • #763737

      i always liked on these roads how all the houses were the same and yet all differant in little ways,although one of those front extensions you showed is crazy!by the way does anyone know why these houses only have one window upstairs?

    • #763738

      From what I remember of being in the houses, all of the Mk1’s, Mk2’s and the Mk3’s have just the one bedroom across the front originally, some with the hotpress in here too. However lots of the houses have had little additions over the years some fitting in an extra bedroom, some sticking a bathroom in there. My grandfathers house on cashel road in crumlin didnt have a bathroom as new, it was outside. Not sure if it was a mk1 or mk2 but ill check it out tomorrow! certainly wasn’t a mk3 i dont think.

      The bigger 3 bed houses in inchicore had the ‘box room’ as we call it at the front of the house as well as the master bedroom.

      Now here’s another question: At the corners of some of the roads eg captains road and stannaway road, there are bigger houses again. They have 2 windows on each level at the front, one to either side of the front door. there style houses are only built on the corners… were they built at the same time as the others? they look older yet that wouldnt make sense as they fit in perfectly with the estate

    • #763739

      Hello Dave. I’ve enjoyed your posts, and your obvious passion for these houses! It’s great to see such commitment and interest in something that most people just turn a blind eye to.

      I’m very surprised the houses of Cashel Road were only built with an outside toilet as late as c. 1930 – presumably they had interior washrooms at least? I must check out the corner houses you refer to.

      Thanks for the link you posted in your other thread – fantastic interiors!

      Property websites are increasing helpful for allowing sneaky views of original interiors!

      There is such little appreciation for the original joinery in these sturdy little houses: simple, elegant and pleasing to the eye. I recently spent about eight hours stripping back years of paint from a 1950’s handrail similar to that above, and in spite of the gruelling process, it came up beaufifully once sanded and stained as original. The difference these small improvements can make is enromous – the same regarding Bakelite handles, light switches, architraving, steel windows etc.

      Unfortunately more of this is still happening as we speak.

      Surely works of this scale require planning permission, in which case why is DCC permitting such unashamedly insensitive and inappropriate alterations to residential stock? And the original boundary walls swept clean away – now what monstrous tack can we expect in their place?

      Contrast the lop-sided disaster on the above corner house with its colleague opposite.

      What even remote connection does tan brick have to 1930’s pebble-dashed housing?! This coloured material in particular is bizarrely popular in Crumlin, and is destroying the place by stealth. Obviously there’s no objection to people extending their homes, but the ham-fisted manner of the vast majority of jobs leaves a lot to be desired. Not even a more considerate wine brick is ever used to tie in with existing string courses and dressings.

      And speaking of wine brick (you probably know this one Dave), there is the most delightful little gem of a building on Cashel Road in Crumlin, a stone’s throw from the three-school ‘campus’ in the area. Seemingly once built as a health centre or community hall, today it stands apparently idle or at best underused as a modern-day health centre for the South Western Area Health Board (which unfortunatly on first glance somes across as SWAB)

      A delightful neo-Palladian design, it features little curved wings (seemingly since heightened to stop people sitting on them), an imposing Lutyens slated roof, and crowned with crisp and elegantly austere chimneys.

      As is typical, the only steel windows to survive are those not being used or otherwise inaccessible – in this case in the charming central gable.

    • #763740

      All of the cast iron rainwater goods survive.

      As do the faintly Art Nouveau boundary furnishings.

      Supported by elegantly profiled little feet atop a rendered concrete base.

      It’s sited as an (admittedly underwhelming) focal point on a green on Cashel Road.

      Such a shame the state it’s in. Given the abuse I got from a passing car while taking the pics, looks like it’ll probably stay that way too.

      There’s other examples of these well-designed public buildings in similar estates.

    • #763741

      Well Im heading out on a little expedition in a while around Crumlin on the rothar and ill take a few photos of those corner houses see what ye make of them. Yes the health clinic is a lovely little building, and unfortunately it does suffer a lot of negligance.

      Just a couple of interesting little note about the map you have posted above. Im sure its quite obvious to most people, but ill metion it anyway. Crumlin was beautifully designed to depict a celtic cross, and the majority of the roads from the 1930’s sceme are named after monastary associations…. The one that stands out like a sore thumb that isn’t is Captains road. The name of captains road derives from the original captains lane, where the ‘captain’ of a grand house around where brookfield estate was murdered one night. The lane was used to join windmill road to the mills along the poddle, at the current Lower Kimmage Road. The lane ran pretty uch in the direction of Captains road, but towards the kimmage end took the path of the current Ravensdale Drive…

      Which leads me to another point… On most maps, including you map above, there is ‘Rathland road’ in the area where cashel road and captains road meet. This road has been called Ravensdale Drive for the last 20 years or so, yet is still referred to as Rathland Road on many maps and on all post to our house from the government offices etc. The name ravensdale comes from one of the many flour mills that were along the poddle. Some others included Loder Park Mills, and Larkfield Mills.

      However Im straying from the 1930’s scheme now… lets go back.

      I mentioned above that Crumlin is built in the shape of a celtic cross. 2 other areas with similar design thoughts were Ballyfermot, and Cabra.

      Lets look at Ballyfermot first. The stone on the roundabout has 3 names for Ballyfermot in irish, one of which translates as ‘The Town of Conflict’…. people from Ballyfermot dont like to admit this translation. Now if we look at the map of ballyfermot, we’ll discover a very deliberate design feature…. It’s built in the shape of a sword…. Town of Conflict…. Sword…. Have a look for yourself:

    • #763742

      The other one that I’ve heard about, but dont know the full story of is Cabra. The story I originally heard was that Cabra before its investment in the 30’s and 40’s was an increadabely run down area. The basica idea was that this sceme would give new hope, new life, and new beginnings to cabra. And so as a result, Cabra was built in the shape of a tree, to display all of these qualitys. Again I dont know alot about tis area but im sure somebody else could shed some light on it.

      If anyone else is interested in history of the Kimmage/Crumlin area i can throw another post up tomorrow. Although im tending to stray away from the ‘1930’s scheme’

    • #763743

      Marino is the other great 1930’s estate, built in the same design. Sorry I don’t seem to be able to post a map or satellite link. I’ve heard 2 reasons for the Celtic Cross design. The first is to do with the rise of Nationalism at this time and the desire to promote Ireland as a country post independence. The second is to commemorate the Eucharistic Congress which happened in Dublin in the 30’s.

    • #763744

      Here’s those corner houses on the corner of Captains Road and Stannaway Road. They’re in quite a few different locations around the estates and link the roads together quiet nicely. Were they built at the same time??

      Here’s one on the opposite corner, one of few which is pretty much in original condition, apart from the front door etc.

      Further up captains road just after the right turn onto armagh road, are these houses. There’s a few terraces of the scattered around, but not to many. They’re similar in style to the bigger corner houses above, but not identical. Again I dont know a whole lot about them only where they are.

      At the very end of Captains Road, just before Windmill Road, we have one of these prized corner houses. As pointed out by graham above, these houses were given ‘special treatment’ from day one. Being on a corner they had bigger gardens, and often decorated that little bit better with that maroon coloured brick. Also most fo the corner houses were Mk3’s, the biggest of the houses, (although this one isn’t) even on a road of Mk1’s on one side and Mk2’s on the other, these bigger houses will be plonked on the corners. Unfortunately not all of these houses are receiving ‘special treatment’ anymore……

      And finally in this batch of captains road photos, directly across the road from the above house, there’s a beautiful Mk2 (I think, can’t see the chimney forgot to look).

    • #763745

      Ok now we skip around the corner onto Cashel Road. As graham pointed out the health clinic opposite the 1st green on the road, Ill point out the former church on the 2nd green. Its marked down as a church on maps as we can see from the above post, but the pictures tell otherwise…

      Crumlin Hall is the name above the door. Dont know how long it’s been like this, or I can’t even say I’ve ever seen the front door open… Just like the health clinic, the condition oft he building says a lot about it…

      Just take a look at the sade gates into it, and that awful eyesore of a drive… Not to mention the pillars.

      Finally I’ll throw in a couple of photos of the schools on armagh road. There’s 3 schools on armagh road, and one around the corner on captains road. There’s also a convent on armagh road and around the corner from that on stannaway drive, and there’s st. colombus house on armagh road. All of these buildings are within 5 minutes of each other, and are all beautifully maintained for working buildings. Unfortunately the future of the Armagh Road schools doesn’t look too secure. Time will tell of what is to happen these wonderful buildings.

      the second school one Armagh road, opposite the above. My favourite of all the buildings in the area. Unfortunately my poor photography work doesn’t capture it very well.

    • #763746

      Great stuff lads, keep it coming. A part of Dublin history that’s rarely remarked upon except of course in Ruth McManus’ great book ‘Shaping the Suburbs’.
      Dave, I’m curious what you mean about Ballyfermot being shaped like a sword. But sort of see what you mean about Cabra:,-6.281948&spn=0.010397,0.028839&z=15&om=1
      There are some wonderful houses in this part of Cabra and in general they are in far better repair than those in Crumlin. There’s also a lovely red-brick church, which when I finally get a decent camera will take some pictures of.

    • #763747

      Can you not see the shape of the sword above within the red shape?? Landen and Decies roads form the ‘blade’, with Lally road acting as the ‘point’. To the left of the image you can see Thomond road and Muskerry road forming a handle….. It takes imagination but it is certainly there!

    • #763748

      I can’t see it either lol. More a dagger perhaps? A slashhook maybe? 😮

      Ah the schools – thanks for the pics Dave. Yes they’re three very interesting buildings – two stripped classical and one wine-bricked modernist, the latter finished in 1939 I think. Is either of the two former boys schools in use anymore? One is in pretty poor condition, with the other used by the health board I think – decked out in all-singing PVC a few years ago :rolleyes:. All combined, the schools form an oddly mounmental air to what is an otherwise modest residential suburb.

      I’d imagine the big corner houses with brick dressings are a little later than the stocky all-render houses, though it’s hard to say. I think there’s similar ones around Stannaway Avenue too, near the park. Lots of great front doors around here too, esp on private houses. If there’s a single good thing to be said about aluminium infill porches, it’s that they usually saved the front door itself from being replaced, so many have survived thus far. Alas the lure of the heritage stained glass brigade is proving increasingly strong of late. Hope to get some more pics soon.

      Agreed about Marino alonso. Generally nicer than Crumlin – it’s amazing what a few trees and more intimate road widths can achieve. There’s much more of a garden suburb feel there.

    • #763749

      If I’m not mistaken there’s a wine-coloured brick building on Brian Road in Marino that’s identical to the Cashel Road one. It’s on the bit that faces the Malahide Road and is in a much happier state of repair.

    • #763750

      @djasmith wrote:

      Can you not see the shape of the sword above within the red shape?? Landen and Decies roads form the ‘blade’, with Lally road acting as the ‘point’. To the left of the image you can see Thomond road and Muskerry road forming a handle….. It takes imagination but it is certainly there!

      I’m guessing you’re thinking of something like a pirate’s cutlass?

      Or was it something a little more exotic, like this late 19th century beauty from the Democratic Republic of the Congo?


    • #763751


      A few more views of two of the three schools on Armagh Road in the morning sun, all built around the late 1930s.

      This building probably has the greatest architectural ambition – the others are relatively predictable. Even this is no great shakes, but like its colleagues is well-proportioned and suitably imposing for what were some of the largest schools in the city. Such a shame all its original windows – probably of steel – have been lost.

      Lovely Mannerist entrance columns – always liked these.

      And a distinctive – if underwhelming – cupola perched on top.

      The adjacent school is more textbook watery neoclassical; it looks like a seaside Victorian convent in Dun Laoghaire.

      Sadly mauled with PVC a few years ago.

      Its austere chimneys and hipped roofs cut an imposing silhouette.

    • #763752

      is the bottom pictures you have taken not just a convent?? I was always under the impression that it was, St. Colombus house or something like that… The third school on armagh road is in off behind the redbrick school It can barely be seen from the road. Ive been at many a feis in that school! There’s a 4th school then around the corner on captains road. I was nearly sure that building was a convent, but I could be wrong. ill check it out.

      Scoil Colm which you also have pictures of is a lovely building, but Ive often looked at those columns and I still reckon there’s something missing from the tops of them, they’re just not finished or something…. look at them.

      Anyway Scoil Colm is the Christian Brothers boys school, and on the opposite side of the road are the girls schools. Ive heard many many stories about those schools, but one in particular comes to mind when you mention the windows of the building.. It was that of a young boy in communion class, who was being taught the ‘old fashioned way’, this unfortunately proved too much for him and he jumped out the top floor window and broke both of his legs.

      One of the schools (not sure which) wasn’t built until the mid to late 40’s, due to building supplies shortages during the war. The village end of Armagh road from the schools up to the church was orinally planned just like the rest of crumlin, but in 1939 when the war broke out, Watchorn & Company (one of the main building companies in crumlin, and a very old family from the village) had to stop work due to the shortages. It was only after the war that building resumed with houses of a more modern style on that road.

      Another interesting point about Crumlin is that it also had 2 other schools in its day. There was the National school on St. Agnes Road, which was where the ‘country children’ from Crumlin, in the days before the 1930’s scheme all went to school. Much later on Greenhills college was based in the old school in Crumlin for a couple of months until the building of what is now greenhills college was finished. This was only ever a temporary thing though.

      Gawd I could waffle for hours about Crumlin……but I wont! Hope the above is of some interest to somebody, and please do correct me on any points, as all the above is learned from word of mouth, Im still only 17 and remember not a lot about the area personally!

    • #763753

      No Dave you’re probably right about the convent – I’ve always just assumed it was a school, but it’d make sense for it to be a convent, not least beacuse it looks like one, but also as there’d hardly be three primary schools clustered right beside each other. It seems the one behind on Captain’s Road is the post-war school – it has a later air to it. Yes I too have heard stories of what went on the the CBS on Armagh Road – apparently you could hear the roaring of brothers from passing outside on the street :eek:. Its columns are not unfinished though – they’re just modernist in style.

      Where was the school on St. Agnes Park do you know? On the site of the row of shops perhaps? This road has always fascinated me, because as you say you can see very clearly the interrruption of the War in terms of the style of house built. The transition from an essentially Edwardian design to much more modern house styles is clearly evident.

    • #763754

      That Scoil Colm is quite impressive. Would possibly deserve to be a Protected Structure. The facade anyway.

    • #763755

      It’s a good piece alright. The red brick girls school across the road is also an attractive collection of buildings – needless to say the girls, as usual, got the dressed, sensitive treatment, with a bombastic monolith reserved for boys…

      Looking down from the schools is the delightful St. Agnes Park, the main avenue leading down to the village and church (bizarrely built off-axis). Essentially it links the Crumlin Scheme to the existing old village.

      No doubt its trademark c.1950 concrete lampposts will get the chop before long 🙁

    • #763756

      The original National school in Crumlin was on St. Agnes’ Road, not St. Agnes’ Park. Up until the corporation schemes, St. Agnes Park was virtually non-existant. For a small stretch it ran out of the village opposite where the church is now, and turned a sharp right and down towards the modern stannaway. This was the Captains Lane. This is pretty much what St. Agnes’ Park follows today up until it reaches armagh road.

      Another thing to remember is that Captains Lane was there long before the church. St. Agnes’ church as we know it today was not built until 1935, which is why it probably explains why the road leading up to it is not directly opposite. The road was there before the church. However I have seen pictures looking towards the church before it opened while it was all being built, and it would indicate that the church is directly in front of the road.

      The Original St. Agnes’ Chapel was down towards the Ashleaf end of the village, right beside the old National School which I referred to earlier. The national school still stands today and I think its used by fás. As far as Im aware though the chapel is gone. Ill go on another photo taking expidition later on today for you all.

      Looking down from the schools is the delightful St. Agnes Park, the main avenue leading down to the village and church (bizarrely built off-axis). Essentially it links the Crumlin Scheme to the existing old village.

      Just a very minor note on the above; The old village was not down the end where the church is today, It was at the other end, up where we turn out as if to head to the hospital today. On that corner (there was only a right turn, no left) was, and still is today, the old protestant church, St. Marys. Right beside that is another old school, naturally known as ‘the protestant school’, while ‘the catholic school’ was at the other end of the village as Ive just mentioned.

      Opposite St. Marys church used to lie the old police barricks, but that was demoloshed to make way for the turn onto what is today ‘Bunting Road’.

      It’s all very hard to imagine, but ill try and throw together a small drawing to show what i mean with the various locations of buildings, and how much the 1930’s scheme changed a lot of things around Crumlin with regard to schools, churches and convents. (there’s a lot more than you think – 6 schools, 3 churches and 2 convents!!)

    • #763757

      Indeed! Thanks for the clarifications and info. Of course now I remember the National School on St. Agnes Road – it’s an imposing stock brick affair with red brick dressings, dated 1916 or 1918, can’t remember which.
      Apologies for mixing up Road and Park – spend my life getting corrected on it :o. So do you mean that the church was actually built to align with the former Captain’s Lane, and not in fact St. Agnes Park which didn’t even exist at the time? As far as I know, its early red brick houses are post-war, c.1947-50, which would tie in with your thesis.

      Yes isn’t the old village of Crumlin just wonderful. It’s amazing the country character it still has. The part closest to the church is as you say the ‘modern’ village, essentially purpose-built roundabout 1950. Sounds like the residents of the Crumlin Scheme had to suffer with no facilities, just like today, for over a decade.

      Lovely crisp, simple lines.

      While the old village merges directly into it.

    • #763758

      As for St. Mary’s Church, as far as I know it’s protected and is probably the finest – and most bizarre – building in the area 🙂

      It’s textbook ‘English’ 1930s isn’t it – you could tell it was a Protestant church a mile off.

      What a gem. Unfortunately some ugly boundary wall issues have emerged since these pictures were taken two years ago – they don’t look promising.

      The old, seemingly 18th century, St. Marys? next door is equally fascinating.

      And very sinister…


      It’s wonderful that this layered, more organic built history survives beneath the processed development – now in itself of historical note – of the 1930’s Scheme.

    • #763759

      Ah it’s a while since I’ve been on here! A search on Richmond Barricks (part of my research into how the council houses came about in Inchicore in 1929) showed up the fantastic thread on Collins Barricks just below.

      Just a couple of interesting points on the above..

      The ‘new’ st mary’s church just above was the last building to be built from ‘Dolphin Brick’ which came out of the quarry at Dolphins Barn. Thus it was one of the few building projects which ran on through the war in Crumlin (the war put a stop to the 1930’s scheme as mentioned above). I dont know a whole lot about Dolphin brick but I know that its hard to come by now and it can fetch nice proces when buildings are dismantled that contain it.

      The old St Mary’s church is also very interesting… there was a fás programme a few years ago which did some restoration work on the building. Not sure what exactly went on, but that front door was put in, and up on top of the steeple you can see the modern section was constructed…. i still can’t see why this was put up other than as a training excerise.

      Maybe somebody else from the area might know??

      As for the quarries around Crumlin, there were lots of them! In more recent years there were lots of problems constructing the Manortown community centre (just east of the Crumlin Cross). It took something like 3 or 4 go’s to get a solid enough foundation on what we know as the 8 acres park (dont know the real name). This was due to the fact that all that land is just filled in quarries, and is very vrey soft ground, and very liable to flooding. St. Damians school had similar problems much earlier.

    • #763760

      Just an update on the amazing work on The Bru at the bottom of the village. I don’t pass it too often I cut through captains road etc, but I was amazed when i did the other day! It’s looking well!

      Not exactly the 1930’s scheme, but the scheme had HUGE effects on this building as a school in the 1930’s.

    • #763761

      Crumlin Hall on Cashel Road got a facejob recently (hideous in my opinion). What it was before is in another post above.

    • #763762

      Hi folks,

      I’m trying to get my hands on something very specific, and I’m not sure if this is the right place but I’ll chance it!

      I’m looking for a cast iron fireplace surround to match those of the front room of the 1929 batch of council houses (Marino & Inchicore). They were slightly wider than the bedroom fireplace surrounds, and the the back room had a bigger surround and arch with a range. So I’m being quite specific!

      They’re a cast iron fireplace surround with the 3 flowers across the top under the mantle.

      Anyone who can point me in the right direction please pm me asap.


    • #763763

      macs salvage.islandbridge.they always seem to have them.expect to pay between 50-100 euro.

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