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  • in reply to: Commercial Buildings Dame Street #940255

    Just to be clear on this, W, I haven’t simply . . . forgotten . . . where I saw this proposal for the Commercial Buildings on Dame Street, I have consciously wiped that information from my mind. This is the only mechanism I have for dealing with the Wide Streets Commissioners and all their evil works.

    Nevertheless, I can tell you that the W.S.C. archives are housed in the Gilbert Library on Pearse Street, and undoubtedly it was in that repository that I unwittingly encountered the relevant parchment.

    I just checked the DCC/Gilbert web site and it doesn’t appear to be one of the items they’ve digitized yet for disseminated.

    All I can suggest is that you don’t make eye contact with the ladies who guard the collection and you bring enough garlic and holy water.

    in reply to: Dublin houses using coal in the 1690s #940194

    James, after the death of Thomas Bamber, the bulk of Richard Bamber’s extensive property holdings in Dublin, mostly in the Capel street area, passed to Thomas’s younger brother Paul Bamber. Paul, as you observed, returned to Whitehaven before 1737, at which point he mortgaged the Dublin properties [and others holdings in Kildare and Meath] to Thomas Lutwidge Esq. of Whitehaven.

    Richard Bamber also had a daughter called Elizabeth, whose married name was Watkins. In Dec. 1736 she, then a widow, leased a house on St. Mary’s Abbey that I believe she inherited from her father, Richard, ‘in behalf of Richard Brown Bamber, a minor’ to whom she was guardian.

    I’m not sure if that helps in any way.

    in reply to: Dublin houses using coal in the 1690s #939877

    Chris, that’s an interesting subject you’re enquiring into.

    There wouldn’t have been much ‘industrial’ demand for coal in Dublin in 1690, as such. Most industrial activity was still home-based at this time. The cloth working industry is the classic example of this. While there were thousands of weavers, cloathiers, dyers etc. in Dublin at this time, each operation was largely self contained within the artisan’s dwelling house, albeit often under contract to a major cloth merchant.

    A weaver’s house could be distinguished from other houses by some characteristic features and occasionally we get references to a ‘drying loft’ etc. It is widely believed that weaving looms were located in the attic storey of these houses to take advantage of greater availability of natural light here. We know of examples on Chamber Street where larger windows were clearly added to the gabled top floor of the elevations giving credence to this notion. One interesting innovation in the 1690s was the invention of a ‘napping engine’ patented by a Frenchman, Jacques Delabadie. This was essentially an advance on the water-powered ‘fulling’ mills of the time, a process used to plump up cloth. The first such napping engine in Dublin was installed to the rear of Ald. Braddock’s houses on the east side of Meath Street, after which Engine alley is named [not a Dublin miss-pronunciation of ‘Indian’ as it is widely believed]

    Other professions that involved industrial processes like the tallow chandler, the ‘glew-boyler’, maulster, brewer and distiller were likewise predominantly operations of domestic scale in Dublin until the early decades of the 18th century.

    The main exceptions to this pattern of domestic industrialisation were lime production and glass making. These operations would have been comparatively big users of coal, but there were probably no more than five or six lime kilns and two or three glass works in operation in the city at any one time. The best known glass works in Dublin were in the Lazy Hill [Townsend St.] area, Ringsend and Oxmanstown, and their conical towers can be seen in various topographical views of the city. The glass works in Oxmanstown blew up in March 1697 killing at least seven people. This was evidently a minor set back to what was clearly a profitable concern as it was rebuilt shortly afterwards.

    Coal was absolutely the predominant fuel in Dublin from the 17th century, if not earlier, and I’m not aware of any evidence that turf contributed in any significant measure to the fuel needs of the city.

    You’re no doubt .aware of the much quoted petition of Edward Spragg and other Protestant coal-porters of the city to the Irish House of Commons in 1695 complaining that ‘one Darby Ryan, a captain under the late King James, and a papist, notoriously disaffected, who buys up whole cargoes of coals, and employed those of his own persuasion and affection to carry the same to customers, by which the petitioners were debarred and hindered from their small trade and gains’.

    This Dublin coal trade was predominantly with Whitehaven. Eventually, a certain amount of coal was sourced from the Castlecomer works in Kilkenny, developed by the Wandesford family. Later, in the 1730s, the ‘Ballycastle or Irish Coal Yard’ was established on the east end of Bachelors Walk, by the Boyd family as they sought to develop their small coal field in Co. Antrim. The Bachelors walk yard was adjacent to a new glass works established by the Trinity professor, physicist and early industrialist, Dr. Richard Helsham.

    Those attempts to supply Dublin with native coal, only go to emphasise the importance of the Whitehaven connection. The Whitehaven/Dublin coal trade is historically of huge significance. Prominent Whitehaven families who established merchant dynasties in Dublin in the early 17th century include the Lowthers and the Nicholsons. Other Whitehaven merchants who became involved in property and development in Dublin in the early 18th century include, Richard Bamber, Thomas Lutwidge, William Stephenson, James Grayson, Henry Littledale, and James Bennet. The number of merchants and artisans in the city whose origins are described as Cumberland would be a great multiple of this.

    I’ve come across dozens of other Whitehaven connections that I can’t put my finger on right now.

    Some anecdotes you might check out are;

    A house on the south side of Newmarket which was known by the sign of Whitehaven, and which was in the possession of a William Bibby in the 1720s.

    Also, the Dublin merchant and former Lord Mayor, Bartholomew Van Homrigh, father of Esther [Stella], received plaudits from the administration for his services in arranging at short notice the transportation of troops from Dublin by hiring the coal fleet. Van Homerigh, with Sir William Robinson held the position of Commissary in Ireland and in August 1703 he organised the dispatch of up to 1,600 troops from to bolster the British regiments serving in Portugal at that time. Chief Secretary Southwell noted in a letter to Lord Nottingham, ‘. . luckily we had a great many Whitehaven ships in port and in a few hours, he had done as desired.’

    I would be interested to hear how your research progresses. Best of luck.

    in reply to: Commercial Buildings Dame Street #939876

    I’ve seen a proposed elevation of the Commercial Buildings with an additional storey.

    A four storey Commercial Buildings would have been impressive, or odd, depending on your point of view given that, at three stories, it was already taller than the adjoining WSC terraces.

    I can’t remember if the drawing was attributed.

    in reply to: North Georgian Dublin #932329

    There’s still nothing like dogma for leading you down an intellectual cul-de-sac.

    We have conservation guidelines yes, but you’re not supposed to disengage your brain before using them.

    The passage quoted in the planners report states:

    ”the importance of recognising the various past alterations/interventions that contribute to the cumulative historic interest of a building and the fact that these should not be erased without due consideration of all the consequences.”

    What are the terrifying consequences of reinstating the original window proportions?

    The building is now semi-anonymous in the streetscape and virtually un-dateable to the casual observer due in large measure to having been thoughtlessly fitted up with a set of 19th century plate glass windows. And that’s the alteration that we’re supposed to value over an above any consideration for the integrity of the original design.

    The City Assembly House isn’t some vernacular building that evolved over time, each new generation contributing wonderfully to its layers of patination. It is a dignified minor set-piece building that was consciously designed in the mid 1760s by an individual [apparently Oliver Grace] and that was faithfully executed according to that design.

    Were the original window proportions integral to the architectural design? Of course they were.

    The City Assembly House doesn’t have . . . various cumulative alterations and interventions that contribute to its historic interest . . . it has the wrong windows!

    in reply to: ‘Dutch Billys’ #925232

    Gnidleif, reluctantly I think we have to accept that we could be both barking up the wrong tree with this, at either the Blind Quay or the Fishamble Street location. Also, I don’t think Dab’s idea works either.

    Rocque again with Fleece Alley high-lighted as a marker

    We know quite a lot about that part of the west side of Fishamble Street and most of the houses at this location were either earlier or later than we’re looking for. The one house in that block that looks to be from our period clearly had a single cruciform roof and therefore would have had a only single conventional gable. The photograph comes again from Peter Walsh’s excellent article we mentioned above, from thirty years ago.

    Fishamble Street looking north with one tall house in the distance about 30 feet north of Fleece Alley

    The same stretch in the late ’60s or so with a Corpo block on the site of the four storey house and showing the entrance to Fleece Alley in the distance.

    Photo from the DCC archive

    The entrance to Fleece Alley as it stood in gaunt isolation for many years before being buldozed.

    These street views show the gradient of the street dropping away, whereas the O’Colmain painting rather shows it rising, which is one of the reasons I was originally keen on the other side of Fishamble Street being the possible location.

    In the view below, note also the location of the two former Billys that faced west onto Wood Quay, with the northern one now made over in the Victorian warehouse style we talked about before.

    Another aerial view of Fishamble Street, this time from the north, again showing the Kennan's buildings on the south side of the elbow.

    Damn Paul and his inexhaustible supply of dodgy 19th century

    There a couple of other locations in the city where there is an elbow in the street and which once would have had houses of the right period, but I don’t really like any of them for it.

    I’m beginning to think O’Colmain was pulling our chain.

    in reply to: ‘Dutch Billys’ #925178

    Your location is spot on, that pair of Billys faced westward onto Wood Quay. They featured in an article by Peter Walsh in ‘Viking Dublin Exposed, The Wood quay Saga’ published in 1984. The houses were located a little to the west of the medieval ‘Fyan’s Castle’, a rectangular tower on the circuit of the city walls.

    The house on the left was rebuilt in a Victorian gabled warehouse style soon after the picture was taken and both were subsequently demolished after Fishamble Street was extended to the quays.

    Interestingly the site had been occupied by one of Dublin’s first public jacks [Jakes] erected in the 1650s and when a Mr. Connor, gent, took a lease of the ground from the Corpo in 1674 he was obliged to reserve ‘the house of office in good condition for public use as heretofore’

    A ‘house of office’ or more descriptively a ‘house of ease’ being the polite term then in use for a toilet.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    That print of Kennans from the 1860s rather pours cold water on Fishamble Street being the location of the O’Colmain streetscape. Back to square one on that I think.

    in reply to: Past ambitious road projects that were never built!! #925177

    That Travers Morgan scheme was truly eye-popping. I’m old enough to remember seeing it as live news as reported in the Irish Times in 1973.



    You couldn’t make this stuff up!

    in reply to: ‘Dutch Billys’ #924961

    I think Lower Exchange Street, or Blind Quay as it used to be, is probably a less likely match for the O’Colmain streetscape than Fishamble Street, based on the width of the street, among other things.

    There is a Flora Mitchell view of Exchange Street, looking eastward towards the bend, which would also tend to suggest that O’Colmain’s view is not of that particular streetscape.

    Flora Mitchell's depiction of Exchange Street

    in reply to: ‘Dutch Billys’ #904316

    I’m working on the assumption that O’Colmain based his painting on an old photograph of the elbow in Fishamble Street, for now. I can’t find a better match for the particular characteristics of the streetscape.

    It would be a great photograph to find, if it can be found. I imagine a photograph like that would have surfaced by now if it was in any of the usual places, so it could take a while to ferret out.

    If the houses O’Colmain depicted were indeed on the Kennan’s site and were twin-gabled, as it appears, it may be possible to tentatively corroborate the accuracy of the depiction without necessarily finding the photograph it’s based on. Comparatively few Dublin builder/developers were associated with the construction of twin-gabled houses, it was a variation of a type and specialization, most had a background in the roofing trades, unsurprisingly.

    As it happens the particular builder/developer who is probably most associated with the construction of twin-gabled houses did develop a pair of new houses on the east side of Fishamble Street in 1728. He had acquired the lease of a site the previous December that then contained two old houses, which he knocked down. We have some quite detailed information on the dimensions of the property, but not many clues as to its exact location on the east side of the street.

    The same developer repeated the exercise in 1736, again buying a site with two old houses on it and redeveloping it as ‘two new large brick houses’. Again the location is on the east side of the street, but again the exact location is difficult to pinpoint. Essentially you have to identify the position of all the houses on one side of a street before you can be certain of the exact position of any individual house.

    I can think of a few people who will not be persuaded by this kind of construction on top of a supposition based on a dodgy, semi-impressionist, painting of an unidentified location, but that’s never stopped us before.
    Fishamble Street from Rocque’s map. The Kennan’s site is just below the ‘R’ in STREET

    in reply to: Getting Started on the new forums #903614

    Ah Jaysus


    Unless it is the box.

    in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #775065

    @Praxiteles wrote:

    From Apollo Magazine

    [align=:1qx8vyam]Bronze Blunders
    ROBERT O'BYRNE[/align:1qx8vyam]

    If Robert O’Byrne has moved on to dodgy art deprecation, which the dapper one was born to scorn, does that mean that we’re now limited to sourcing our seasonal architectural triflings from Tarquin or Turtle?

    in reply to: ESB Headquarters Fitzwilliam Street #775525

    Architecturally, you have to say, it is a clever idea;

    Piss everyone off equally . . . . . and collect a big cheque.


    @Praxiteles wrote:

    Do not tell me that Bernardo Walsh had something to do with Thomas Street, Dublin?

    Bernardo’s tomb in front of the altar of St.Patrick’s chapel

    Not Thomas Street, sadly, the ‘Billy’ connection is with Waterford. Quite a good summary of Bernardo’s life and family in translation in that blog. There is also a recently published book on Bernardo called Dios, Clan y Negocio [God, Family and Business] by Agustin Guimera Ravina, which includes, in an appendix, Bernardo’s own memoirs in English.

    Briefly; the Walsh family had been Waterford merchants of long standing until the change in the political climate in the second half of the 17th century prompted them to decamp to the Canary Islands. Bernard Walsh, the last head of the family to have been born in Waterford [20 Aug. 1663], left the city in August 1679 in an exile that eventually took him to Tenerife where the family, and a batch of other Catholic merchant families of Waterford, had already become established.

    Bernard Walsh [Bernardo Valois] in particular prospered as a trader and wine exporter, although in what must have been an occupational hazard he developed the gout that he was to spend much of his life trying to get relief from.

    Bernardo never severed his links with Waterford and when news reached him of his aged mother’s death in March 1711 he had ‘oficios and masses said for her soul in the city and port and all the convents.’ The most enduring Walsh connection with Waterford, following their journey into exile, was their patronage of the Holy Ghost Hospital in the city.

    Henry and Patrick Walsh had founded the hospital in 1545 by purchasing a portion of the recently dissolved Franciscan Friary within the walls of the city. The new hospital was dedicated to the care of sick and infirm of both sexes and the hospital charter, in return for their continued patronage, gave the Walsh family the right to nominate the master, subject to the approval of the Corporation.

    The Holy Ghost Hospital remained a Catholic institution throughout this period, despite the absence from the city of their primary patrons and despite the fact that the composition of Waterford Corporation had become exclusively Protestant after 1690. It seems that the Corporation were content to allow the hospital function, with all its mass celebrating papist rituals, throughout the era of the Penal Laws and the records suggest that the masters appointed in this period, who were all Corporation members and Protestants, conducted intermittent correspondence with the Walsh family in Tenerife, usually inviting them to send money under various guises.

    The Waterford chroniclers, Smith and later Ryland, each noted that a tablet over the main door recorded that the hospital had been repaired and enlarged in 1741 and 1743 by the Corporation. The interesting thing, from a social and architectural point of view, is that this repair/enlargement of the hospital carried out by the Corporation did not seem to serve the purpose of improving in any way the quality of the accommodation, which remained grim and medieval, but it did have the effect of grafting a new brick, triple-gabled, frontage onto the crumbling edifice, literally giving the Holy Ghost Hospital a Protestant facade!

    The Holy Ghost Hospital in Waterford shortly before demolition. The ruins of the Franciscan Friary remain

    A photograph of the hospital, shortly before its demolition in the 1890s, survives and has been reproduced in a recent book on Irish Gothic Architecture and although the building had clearly been ravaged by decay over a prolonged period and patched in the most haphazard fashion, just enough of the new,18th century, gabled facade was still discernible to hint at the remarkable history encapsulated in this wonderfully complex building, which was afterwards reduced back to just the ruins of the Franciscan Friary that we can see today.


    My God, you’re good!

    I was just going to lay out some red herring trails, when you jumped straight in there with the identification. Inglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Pena Francia [Our Lady of the Rock of France], Puerto de la Cruz on the northern coast of Tenerife. Apparently the church is located quite close to a Molly Malone pub for those seeking the authentic Irish experience on their holidays in the Canaries.

    You will, however, not be able to tell me what the Dutch Billy connection is, surely?

    The aforesaid Bernardo Walsh

    in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #774964

    Thanks for that apelles, I did have the Dictionary of Irish Architects reference, but not the interesting footnotes.

    As former occupants of 16 Moore Street, it would have been interesting if the Caseys had crossed the path of Pearce’s old man, given that they were all in the Gothic church fitting out business together, but neither the dates, nor the projects, seem to overlap. It was just a thought.

    Here’s one you’re going to struggle with:

    This is the magnificent baroque altar [you’ll know the correct term] of a chapel built about 1700 and dedicated to St. Patrick.

    I will be seriously impressed if ye know where this is to be found.

    in reply to: O’ Connell Street, Dublin #731577

    That single intervention to the city would be so calming and civilized, it’s almost scary.

    They’ll never go for it now Graham!

    in reply to: O’ Connell Street, Dublin #731574

    Fully agree with rumpel, Peter Fitz and Graham on this. Nothing says; – we’ve just stop trying – quite like that wretched corner

    and yet it had a presentable neatness in it’s original Wide-Streets-Commissioners form.

    in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #774950

    What do the gentlemen of this thread know of the work of a Dublin stained glass artist called John Casey, who sometimes traded as J & D Casey, of Moore Street and later Marlborough Street, 1830s to 1870s?

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