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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Going to School (Street)

School St near Thomas St probably sees more tourists than you’d expect. It’s now a short stretch of nondescript buildings that many visitors to the city wander by on their way to the entrance to the Guinness brewery just beyond. But the street was home to a significant part of our education history. George Newenham Wright, a man Wicklow people know well, tells us in his Historical Guide to Ancient and Modern Dublin (1821) that on March 7th, 1808, a school was opened on this site. The school was funded by Guinness, La Touche and Bewley families, all of whom would soon establish the Kildare Place Society in 1811 (See post: An Education at Kildare Place)

There was substantial demand for the school. A Sunday School had opened in St Catherine’s Parish on Love Lane (Donore Avenue) in 1786, supposedly the first in Ireland. To attend the school, prospective pupils only needed a recommendation from a housekeeper (who these mysterious gate keepers were is unclear) and numbers quickly swelled. While Sunday Schools came with obvious religious overtones, they taught pupils how to read and write. Parents didn’t mind too much what the words were, more that their children were able to read them. If there is one thing most commentators agree on with regards to our early education history, it is that the Irish had a great anxiety for education. Such was the demand that the accommodation being used (the parish house for girls and the court house for boys) was unsuitable, and subscriptions were raised among the parish, and predominantly Quakers in the parish, for a school house. Once matching funding was obtained, it is likely that Guinness et al stepped in and the school house was built. Wright describes the building:

This building, which is of brick, is 156 feet in length and 37 in depth; the two upper floors are occupied by the schools, four in number, two for the boys and two for the girls; the children of each sex are quite distinct and the entrances for each are at different extremities of the building. In the centre of the building and between the male and female schools are the committee room and master’s apartments, the room of the supervisor of all the schools is so circumstanced that he can command a perfect view of all the four schools by standing up and sitting down successively.

School on School St Pimlico is to the bottom right and the Guinness Brewery entrance is to the left

School on School St (OSi) Pimlico is to the bottom right and the Guinness Brewery entrance is to the left.

The building was thus quite substantial, and as can be seen from the OSi map of the late nineteenth century, the school was about half the length of the street. In 1820 when Wright visited, 840 pupils were on the rolls. Girls usually completed some sewing work which was used as a source of income for the school.

Lancaster Monitorial System

Lancaster Monitorial System

Pupils were educated by the Lancaster system. This involved the master having a large class, which was sub-divided among a series of monitors. These were older children who had proved their merit, and who in turn taught groups of children in the class. The method meant that a large number of children could be educated with payment required just for the master and some allowances for monitors. Monitors usually became masters and mistresses.

At its peak, the school had 1000 pupils on the roll, and employed nine teachers. The masters were paid 2/6  per week, while the mistresses were paid 2/ per week. The school closed in the 1920s (Wilson Power, 1998) and was evidently demolished some time after that.

School Street (Google Streetview)

School Street (Google Streetview). The original school was on the right hand side of the road.

Notes

  • Irene Wilson Power (1998) To School in the City, Dublin Historical Record, 51(2), 141-158.
  • G.N. Wright (1820) An Historical Guide to Ancient and Modern Dublin. 

Reginald Street, The Coombe

The very pretty Reginald Street and Gray Street and their associated squares were built in 1880-1882 by the Dublin Artisan’s Dwelling Co. The company was established in 1876 and was chaired by one of the great Victorian philanthropists, Sir Edward Cecil Guinness. It went on to build over 3,600 dwellings around Dublin, which were intended to house the working class of Dublin. Initially, rental costs meant that they were only feasible for skilled labourers, although a (cursory) analysis of the 1911 Census shows that the majority employer of the residents was the brewing industry, so Guinness’ plan to house his workers appears to have worked out well.

Reginald Street

Reginald Street

The small squares off the Reginald Street/Gray Street result in the whole forming a cruciform pattern. Houses in these squares are single storey and likely followed the typical three room plan; front door into the living room with a contained scullery leading out into the rear yard, and two bedrooms off to the side. Despite being a couple of minutes from a very busy Meath Street, the whole area exudes calm.

The Sacred Heart Statue at Reginald and Gray St was a fountain

The Sacred Heart Statue at Reginald and Gray St was a fountain. The plaque reads: “Erected by the Parishioners of St Catherine’s to honour the glory of God and in commemoration of the centenary of the Emancipation 1929

The street names give plenty of notice that this was the Earl of Meath’s Liberty. Reginald Brabazon was the 12th Earl of Meath when the complex was built. No matter how much the romantic in me wishes that Reginald married a Gray, the street he intersects, this is not the case, and Gray Street is more likely to be named after Sir John Gray, the man responsible for bringing clean water supply to Dublin from the Vartry reservoir in the Wicklow mountains. Rather appropriately, the intersection of Reginald and Gray featured a fountain. This was replaced with a statue of the Sacred Heart in 1929, ostensibly to commemorate the centenary of Emancipation, although it can’t just be a coincidence that this is also the year of the death of Reginald, an arch-Unionist and Imperialist. Divine intervention couldn’t save the statue from collision with a lorry, and the current version was that restored to mark the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1975. More on the statue and the pope’s visit, including some attractive photos, are on the Built Dublin Site.

Reginald has the last laugh though. The eponymous street ends in Meath Terrace, and he is also remembered in three of the four squares in the complex: Brabazon Square, Reginald Square and Meath Square. For good measure, the eastern edge is flanked by Meath Street, and Earl Street is nearby. Vota vita mea

Brabazon Square

Notes

Christine Casey has more details on the Artisan’s Dwelling Co, including some sketches of typical houses and a floor plan of a bungalow, described above. Casey, C (2005) The Buildings of Dublin, Yale University Press

Crooked Staff now Ardee Street

Brewer's House Ardee St

Brewer’s House, looking south down Ardee St

The Brewer’s House on Ardee St still stands despite all around it descending into chaos. To the west and north, new apartment complexes with pint-sized sitting rooms and now-vacant office blocks were thrown up in the boom. To the south and east, the brownfield remains of the Newmarket Square complex, where rebuilding in the 1990s has, in the words of Christine Casey, “if anything worsened matters than what was there before”. Still the house stands tall, even if one side of it has plastic sheets dangling from it, protecting the chimney stack of its old next door neighbour, ripped away by St Luke’s Avenue, the extension to Cork St. The house and ruined buildings to the rear are the legacy of what was one of Ireland’s oldest breweries: Watkins.

watkins

Watkins’ Brewery

Watkins’ Brewery dates from the early eighteenth century, and along with Jameson Pim & Co probably pre-dates their more famous neighbour at St. James’ Gate. The brewery was located on Lord Meath’s estate; who is still remembered by some street names: Brabazon Place off Newmarket Square, at the rear of the site, Meath St nearby and of course Ardee St itself. Watkins were particularly well known for their XX Stout and their porter; eagle-eyed among you will spot an advertisement for Watkins’ Extra Stout in this image from the National Library of Ireland. But the continuing rise and rise of Guinness meant that the competition steadily closed down. In 1904 Watkins merged with Jameson Pim & Co, and by 1937, the company intended to go into voluntary liquidation. It must have been a hard decision for Alfred E Darley, descendant of Joseph Watkins, to end his family’s business. That the company lasted this long is a testament to its success in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the company had a profitable export business. What happened after closure is unclear to me. In 1943 The Irish Times carried an article about a High Court order allowing Dublin Corporation access to the basement of the premises, still owned by the company. The basement had been designated by the Corporation as an Air Raid Shelter, and the company were refusing access.

Watkins Buildings Street sign

Old and new signs for Watkins’ Buildings

On the north side of the intersection with Cork St., there are a row of cottages known as Watkins’ Buildings, which were built by the company to house workers locally. Casey describes them thus: “rows of attractive artisan dwellings in brown and red brick of c. 1880.” These houses therefore were built in a similar period, if not slightly earlier, thank those built on Bride St and St Patrick’s by the Guinness Trust.

Watkins Buildings (Informatique on Flickr)

Watkins Buildings (Informatique on Flickr)

The Eighteenth Century: Crooked Staff

Booter Park

Booter Park (Lawlor, 1931)

A map of the site where Watkins’ buildings are now located exists. Drawn in 1749, it is called Booter Park (Lawlor, 1931) and was bound by the Coombe to the north, Ardee St to the west and “bounded towards the East and the South upon the lands now in the tenure of the Right Hon Henry the Earle of Meath”, according to a document from 1669. The Coombe is visible in the bottom left (north-east) of the map. This was the heart of the Earl of Meath’s “Liberty”, which was a fashionable quarter during the eighteenth century. The Earl of Meath had a townhouse, Ardee House, located near the Coombe Hospital. The name Ardee itself comes from the fact that the Sir Edward Brabazon was elevated to the Peerage of Ireland by King James I as Baron Ardee in 1616. He established Killruddery at Bray soon afterwards. Edward’s son was subsequently elevated again by King Charles I as Earl of Meath in 1627. The patchwork of land ownership in this area is clear from a map setting out the plan for Newmarket itself (Frazer, no date), which distinguishes between “Earle’s Land” and “Church Land”.

New Intended Market for Donour

Both of these maps show that Ardee Street originally had the name is “Crooked Staff” (you have to read Staff twice to check you don’t read Street). I wonder if this name comes from the area’s proximity to St Patrick’s Cathedral, whose Dean owned the land. Looking at Rocque’s map from a decade later, it’s clear that the street has a kink in it right about where the present-day Cork St intersects it.

Plaque commemorating 1916 site

Regular readers of this blog (I always wanted to say that) will know that I like to connect a plaque with the street being discussed. The Irish Times reported in October 1949 that in a ceremony presided over by W. T. Cosgrave, four plaques were unveiled on buildings

occupied by volunteers during the rising of 1916. The buildings were South Dublin Union, Roe’s Distellery, Marrowbone Lane distillery and Watkins brewery. The plaques bear the inscription: “This building was occupied by Volunteers of the 4th Batallion, Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers, against British forces, during Easter Week, 1916. Commanding officer for the area of occupation: Commandant Eamonn Ceannt.”

Watkins’ Brewery itself was occupied by Captain Con Colbert, but on the Tuesday evening of Easter Week, Colbert took his his company to join those at the Jameson Distillery site on Marrowbone Lane (National Library of Ireland). The plaque no longer exists on The Brewer’s House that I can see.

What now?

Plan for Cork St/Ardee St ("The Brewer's Block") From Archiseek.

Plan for Cork St/Ardee St (“The Brewer’s Block”) From Archiseek – click image to go to discussion post.

Three of the four corners of the crossroads between Ardee St and Cork St were redeveloped during the boom. A model of what was planned for the fourth corner, incorporating the Brewer’s House and the site still exists. Although it will probably be a few years before we go as mad again, it is interesting to look at what might have been the final piece of the jigsaw.

References

Ardee St (2014) using Google Maps' sqish new 45 degree viewing option

Ardee St (2014) using Google Maps’ swish new 45 degree viewing option

  • Christine Casey, 2005, The Buildings of Dublin, Yale University Press
  • William Frazer, Newmarket and Weavers’ Square, Dublin City Council Heritage and Conservation Booklet, Link to PDF (2.4 MB).
  • H. J. Lawlor (1931) Booter Park, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Seventh Series, 1(2), 151-155.
  • National Library of Ireland, The Main Sites of Activity During the Rising, online exhibition, Link to PDF (843 kB)