Iveagh Market Buildings

Nearly one hundred and nine years ago, Colonel George W. Addison R. E. represented the Iveagh Trust at a ceremony to formally hand over the new Iveagh Markets to Dublin Corporation. Giving his thanks on receiving the deeds of conveyance and keys, the Lord Mayor expressed the hope that the city would continue to benefit from Viscount Iveagh’s munificence, and that he would be spared to continue his noble works.

Iveagh Markets (from the Dublin City Library image collection - click to go to source)

Iveagh Markets (from the Dublin City Library image collection – click to go to source)

This exchange is captured in an Irish Times article in June 1906 which thankfully recorded the ceremony and some detail about the markets; for there is surprisingly little source material elsewhere. The markets themselves came about after clearances around St Patrick’s Cathedral to remove some of the slums there as part of the Iveagh Trust building development. There was a need for a new space for market traders, a need apparently noticed by Iveagh himself:

The state of affairs did not pass unnoticed by Lord Iveagh… and frequently visiting the neighbourhood, was often an observer of the unfortunate conditions under which the street merchants carried on their business; he, therefore, conceived the idea of providing suitable covered accommodation…

OS 25" map showing Iveagh Market (OSi)

OS 25″ map showing Iveagh Markets (OSi)

The location of the markets is just off Francis St, and they are shown clearly on the Ordnance Survey 25″ map. A new road on the north-eastern side of the markets was built—linking John Dillon St to Lamb Alley (the diagonal running left-right across the map shown). Eagle-eyed among you will notice that this new street terminates just before it reaches High St at Cornmarket, and in his address to Addison, the Lord Mayor noted that it would be a great advantage to the scheme if this cul de sac at Lamb Alley could be opened to Cornmarket. As this is now the case, we can assume that Iveagh agreed. The markets were built on the site of Sweetman’s brewery; the site had previously been purchased by Guinness as part of their ever-growing domination of the brewery industry. Sweetman’s don’t appear to have had much luck in situating their brewery; they were previously moved by the Wide Street Commissioners to this location. As well as Sweetman’s, the construction involved the demolition of some houses on Francis St to open up Dean Swift Square.

Entrance to Iveagh Markets

Entrance to Iveagh Markets

Keystone representing Ireland (Hibernia) (from about.com)

Keystone representing Ireland (Hibernia) (from about.com)

The building housed two markets: a market for the sale of old clothes (100 by 150 ft), accessed from Francis St, and a market for the sale of fish, fruit, and vegetables (130 by 80 ft), accessed from John Dillon St. The markets were fitted up with stalls, and the fish stalls were of white glazed earthenware, the first of the kind to be adopted. The building itself was designed by Frederick Hicks, of 86 Merrion Square. It is constructed with Portmarnock red brick and Newry granite, with door and window dressings of Portland stone.A distinctive feature is the keystones, carved with heads representing nations of the world. The centre keystone represents Ireland, with others representing Eastern Turkey, Europe, Asia, Africa, Americas, and for some reason Spain and Israel get their own.

Washhouse on Lamb Alley (Photo: B)

Washhouse on Lamb Alley (Photo: B)

The Act of Parliament which moved the traders away from St Patrick’s Park also included a clause that all clothing for sale was to be disinfected.It is just possible to discern a Public Washhouse and Disinfecting Dept just north of the markets on the map shown above. The washhouse was fitted out with the latest laundry fittings and machinery, with accommodation for 40 washers. In addition, there were four centrifugal wringing machines and 40 hot air drying horses, an iron and mangling room, and if there was time to sit down while doing all this work, a waiting room. The disinfecting department was equipped with three high pressure steam disinfectors and two formaline chambers for clothing not able to take steam treatment.

The management of the entire facility was to be taken on by the Corporation. The Irish Times stated that:

though a further responsibility is thrown on the shoulders of the city fathers, still, everyone will admit it is a worthy one.

Indeed.

Notes

The full Irish Times article is: “The Iveagh Market Buildings” Irish Times, Thursday, July 26, 1906, page 11. The always excellent Dictionary of Irish Architects gives some references to Irish Builder articles on the markets which can be viewed in the National Library.

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The Coombe Hospital Portico

The Portico of the Coombe Hospital, built 1877

The Portico of the Coombe Hospital, built 1877

The Coombe Hospital, now on the upper reaches of Cork St began life in The Coombe itself. After the Meath Hospital moved from the site to Naboth’s vineyard on Long Lane in 1822, the hospital was bought by John Kirby, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, who ran it as a general hospital. According to a contemporary report, the location was apt:

This charitable institution stands in that part of the city where poverty and disease prevail in their most calamitous degree of aggravation; and where accidents, in their severest forms, constantly occur, and hourly demand admission into some asylum where suffering may be alleviated and life preserved. [Wright, 1825]

A plaque on the portico tells us what happened next:

Towards the end of the year 1825, two women whilst making a vain attempt to reach the Rotunda Hospital perished together with their new born babies in the snow. When this became known a number of benevolent and well-disposed persons founded “The Coombe Lying-in Hospital” in the year 1826 for the relief of poor lying-in women.  Leading the Charitable Committee was a Mrs Margaret Boyle of Upper Baggot St, Dublin.

Coombe map

Coombe Hospital, OSi

Kirby was replaced as Master in 1836 by Hugh Carmichael, and the name of the hospital changed to the ‘Coombe Lying-in Hospital and Dublin Ophthalmic Dispensary’ — Carmichael had an interest in ophthalmology. In 1838, it was reported that the hospital had 42 beds and “daily affords advice and medicine to about one hundred and fifty extern patients.” The original building deteriorated and in in 1867, the patients were transferred to another hospital on Peter St run by Kirby. Benjamin Guinness and others provided funds for a new hospital which opened in 1877. A dispensary is visible along Brabazon St on the later nineteenth century map of the area, labelled “Guinness Dispy”.

A century after the original building closed, this new hospital also closed, and the new Coombe Hospital opened on Cork St. The portico is all that remains.

The plaque continues:

The portico surrounding this plaque formed the entrance until the year 1967 when the hospital moved to a new location in Dolphin’s Barn. It has been retained and restored by Dublin Corporation as a memorial to the many thousands of mothers who gave birth to future citizens of Ireland in the Coombe Lying-in hospital and also to the generosity of the staff and friends of the hospital.

The housing scheme which was subsequently erected on the site by Dublin Corporation was officially opened by the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, Alderman Fergus O’Brien T. D. , on 20th November 1980.

Notes

  • David Mitchell (1989) A Medical Corner of Dublin (1711 to 1889), Dublin Historical Record, 42(8), 86-93.
  • L. B. Somerville-Large (1964) Dublin’s Eye Hospitals in the 19th Century, Dublin Historical Record, 20(1), 19-28.
  • You can see a photograph of the original building at Archiseek.

Artichoke Road, then Wentworth Place, now Hogan Place

Artichoke Road

Artichoke Road, 1797 Plan of the City

The short stretch before Grand Canal St Lower from Holles St to Grattan St has a surprising amount of history packed into it. Before its current name honouring Irish sculptor John Hogan (see below), it was called Wentworth Place, housing both Hogan and Irish painter George Sharp. And before that again, a map of the city from 1797 labels the entire length Artichoke Road. Although this was at the eastern outskirts of the city, some development along the initial stretch of this road is apparent on the 1797 map.

One of these early buildings probably housed the man responsible for the first name of the street: Artichoke. In 1736, French refugee John Villiboise leased some land from Richard, 5th Viscount Fitzwilliam, and erected a “curiously designed house” there (Dawson, 1978). Villiboise grew artichokes in his garden, and his agricultural efforts led to both the road and the house taking on the appellation. According to Dawson in 1978, the site of The Artichoke house, then at 37 Wentworth Place, had been recently cleared, but people remembered it and used to call it “The Castle”.

Robert Strahan

Company details of Robert Strahan, showing address of factory on Wentworth St

The street at this time was also home to the “factory and timber yard” of Robert Strahan & Co., a furnishing company established in 1776, located at No. 12, as can just be made out in the company’s advertisement. Strahan also made doll’s houses, and a house made about 1820 (“Strahan House”) was donated to the National Museum of Ireland (Raftery, 1985). Some detail on Strahan’s furniture is available on the NMI website.

Wentworth Place OSi 1838

Wentworth Place OSi 1838 (maps.osi.ie)

The street obtained the name Wentworth Place in the 1830s, when a terrace of houses were built by John Swift Emerson, who likely obtained a lease from Charles Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, whose father had inherited both the Wentworth and Fitzwilliam fortunes. The OSi map from about 1838-1840 likely captures this new terrace, and shows the street name now as Wentworth Place.

My interest in this street was piqued by Philip McEvansoneya’s recent article on George Sharp (2014). In it he writes that Sharp had set up a school in the late 1840s at Wentworth Place, with the help of his friend and mentor Sir Philip Crampton. In promoting his school, Sharp wrote that it was “the only school room for drawing established within the city of Dublin for 50 years“.

George Sharp

George Sharp

McEvansoneya gives the address as 16 Wentworth Place, and indeed the street index of 1862 lists George Sharp, artist and professor of drawing, R.H.A. as resident there. Buildings either side are labelled “tenements”, but this must have been pretty decent accommodation for the time. Sharp had good connections to high society, and he counted Viscount Powerscourt and Sir Charles Coote among his patrons, and perhaps his pupils. This area near Pearse St would become a popular place for artists and architects (Casey, 2009) and Sharp was joined in 1862 by Lawrence Aungier (painter) and John Hogan (sculptor).

14 Hogan Place

14 Hogan Place

Hogan lived at No. 14, which still exists, just about. It looks like it has been incorporated into the modern buildings to the west, where 10-13 have been rebuilt. Hogan was a sculptor, Waterford born, self-taught, and initially based in Cork. He moved  to Rome in 1824 although returned to Ireland regularly to exhibit work and collect payment (Turpin, 1980). He returned to Ireland in 1849, settling at Wentworth Place. A lot of detail about Hogan’s work, and his many statues in Ireland are available at this website (McGreevy, 1943). These include his statue of O’Connell at City Hall, shown. Viscount Powerscourt must have enjoyed visiting Wentworth Place, as he was a patron of Hogan too, as was Lord Cloncurry. The latter commissioned Hibernia with a bust of Cloncurry (1846), which Turpin considers to be his masterpiece. It is available to view in the UCD Collection, and it shows Hibernia giving Cloncurry a delicate but affectionate little hug.

john Hogan O'connell statue

Daniel O’Connell at City Hall, by John Hogan

Hogan died in 1858, but his family lived on in Wentworth Place. The 1901 Census lists three of his daughters: Margherita (aged 58) and Kate (Cattarina) (49), both born in Rome and both unmarried, and Susan McSwiney (née Hogan), a widow (40). It looks like the family moved from the original house at No. 14 though, as the address is given as “Wentworth Place South Side“. This may have been to distinguish them from another Hogan—James (52)—who also lived on the street. He is not, as far as I can make out, a brother, but is perhaps another relative. By 1911, only James’ wife Kate (now Catherine) was living on the street. The occupations of her children (domestic servant, van driver, shop assistant) suggest that if they were related to John Hogan, the family’s social status had fallen.

Whatever about the family’s fortunes, such was Hogan’s output, it was decided to rename Wentworth Place as Hogan Place in 1924. The Irish Times reported in May 1924, under a headline that made this author happy (“Dublin Street Names“), that along with changes to Sackville St., Queen’s Square, Great Clarence St., and Hamilton Row,* Wentworth Place was to be renamed as Hogan Place. The resolution was moved by Mr P McIntyre at Dublin Corporation, seconded by Mr Medlar, and with that, the new name was official. We won’t know until the release of the 1926 Census whether there were any descendants of Hogan still living in the eponymous street, but No. 14 must certainly be a candidate for a plaque to commemorate one of Ireland’s most prolific sculptors.

19 Hogan Place in the 1950s. Links to Dublin City Library Archives

19 Hogan Place in the 1950s. Links to Dublin City Library Archives

Notes

*Changed to O’Connell St, Pearse Square, Macken St, Fenian St respectively.

  • Casey, C (2005) The Buildings of Dublin, Yale University Press
  • Dawson, T (1978) Some Echoes of “St. Catherine’s Bells”, Dublin Historical Record, 31(3), 82-93.
  • McEvansoneya, P (2014) More Light on George Sharp (1802-1877), Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies, XVI, 50-69.
  • MacGreevy, T (1943) Some Statues by John Hogan, The Father Matthew Record. 5-6.
  • Raftery, C (1985) The Strahan Doll’s House, Irish Arts Review, 2(2), 33-35.

Pitt Street now Balfe Street

balfe plaqueThe strange little laneway that runs by the front of the Westbury Hotel is called Balfe Street. I didn’t know that either, but on Clarendon St, at the back of the Westbury, there is a plaque commemorating Michael Balfe, composer, which says that he grew up on a house nearby on Pitt St. Pitt St is now Balfe St in his honour—though exactly why this plaque is on Clarendon St is anyone’s guess.

The evolution from a street remembering the Prime Minister who saw through the Act of Union to a street recognising one of Ireland’s great composers (I’m told) happened after a resolution was passed by Dublin Corporation in January 1917,  having been proposed (and unopposed) by a Unionist member of council. A letter writer to The Freeman’s Journal remarked a few days later:

I, as a ratepayer, and speaking for all the other ratepayers, hasten to say how pleased we are. Balfe, to whose honour the street will now be dedicated, is a very appropriate name. Although the street is not much either in length or respectability, still it is the best we can do at present for the great Balfe. The street, just like Pitt himself and his foul work, the Union, has gone into decay and rottenness.

Balfe the House

No. 10, Pitt Street, by Flora H Mitchell (National Gallery of Ireland)

No. 10, Pitt Street, by Flora H Mitchell (National Gallery of Ireland)

The Corporation’s resolution was the latest effort to honour Michael William Balfe. After his death in 1870, there appears to have been a flurry of activity. A bust was unveiled in the National Gallery in July 1878. The delay appears to be due to the fact that a stature was desired, but the £2000 required for that could not be raised. In any case, the bust, by Thomas Farrell RHA, was presented to the Gallery by the Lord Mayor. That same month, Mr William Logan, a contrabasso performer wrote to the Irish Builder wishing it to be known that:

I am the owner of the house, 10 Pitt-street, in which Balfe was born. I take a pride in living in that house… May I take the liberty of asking you to make public the fact that “Balfe’s House” is in the possession of a Dublin musician… who will place a medallion of Balfe on the front of the house, at his own expense.

Thanks to Mr Logan, a marble plaque was placed on the front of the house, as can be seen on Mitchell’s painting.

Balfe the Street

Extract from Roque's map of Dublin City, 1756

Extract from Roque’s map of Dublin City, 1756

Rocque’s map of Dublin City (1756), as reproduced in Lennon and Montague’s Dublin, shows a tantalising glimpse of the area of interest. Harry St runs southwest on a diagonal from Grafton St, through what appears to be open ground. By 1797 though, the orientation of the street was set as we now know it today, with just a component of the diagonal remaining. Pitt, yet to unleash his damage on Dublin and Ireland, is honoured with the new street name.

1797 Map of the area showing Pitt St

1797 Map of the area showing Pitt St

Its proximity to Grafton St means that it gets more mention than it might expect otherwise. No. 12 housed the “First Irish Lithographic Establishment“, mentioned in 1824—the first suggesting that the process had just been introduced to Dublin (MacDowel Cosgrave, 1907). Balfe was not the first musician on the street. John Field took lessons here as a boy from the pianist Giordani (de Valera, 1986).

Pettigrew & Oulton's Dublin Directory 1842Dublin Street Directory

Pettigrew & Oulton’s Dublin Directory 1842
Dublin Street Directory

The street was also home to the Opthalmic Hospital from 1829 to 1834, founded by Arthur Jacob, housed at No 8 and 9. It closed after the opening of an eye-ward at the Royal Dublin Hosptial, and No 8 and 9 were rebuilt. The Institute for Sick Children, fore-runner to the National Children’s Hospital at Harcourt St was also on the street.  (Somerville-Large, 1964). A survey of a house plan from the records of the Wide Street Commissioners also exists for Pitt St in 1840, for the holding of James Hanan.

Pitt St, from the 25" OSi map (www.osi.ie)

Pitt St, from the 25″ OSi map (www.osi.ie)

The street must gone into decline towards the end of the 19th century, as suggested by our first letter writer. By 1901, despite its length, about 250 people were crammed into its buildings. The 1911 Census recorded about half that number. We can get a sense of how many houses were there both from the Census and from the 1890 OS 25″ map. I count nine houses on the western side, of which only Sheehan’s pub on the corner is likely to be the only remnant. On the eastern side, there were fewer buildings, the block dominated by one large central building (the site of the former hospital or lithographic works, perhaps?). What is now No. 4, Harry St, directly opposite Westbury entrance/Bruxelles was built in 1880 by Dublin Corporation as a Weights and Measures Office, and is captured by this map (Casey, 2005). It looks like the remaining buildings were cleared in the 1920s; there are two relevant entries in the DIA for Balfe St, construction of a school for the sisters of the Holy Faith in 1921 and construction of a factory in 1923 for HAP Taylor. The dominant presence on the street is now the Westbury Hotel.

Perhaps we could re-instate the latest memento to Balfe back to its home on Balfe St?

Notes

  • Christine Casey,2005, The Buildings of Dublin, Yale University Press.
  • Terry de Valera, 1986, Grafton Street: A Collage of Time and PeopleDublin Historical Record, 39(4), 122-131.
  • Colm Lennon and John Montague, 2010, John Rocque’s Dublin: A Guide to the Georgian City, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. 
  • Birthplace of Michael Balfe, The Irish Builder, July 1878, Vol. XX, no. 446, p. 202.
  • E. MacDowel Cosgrave, 1907, A Contribution Towards a Catalogue of Nineteenth-Century Engravings of DublinJournal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 37(1), 41 – 60.
  • John O’Gahan, Letter to The Freeman’s Journal, Jan 11, 1917.
  • L. B. Somerville-Large, 1964, Dublin’s Eye Hospitals in the 19th CenturyDublin Historical Record, 20(1), 19 – 28.