The end of the line

This is the final post for the foreseeable future. Thank you to the many subscribers and visitors to the blog. I leave for now with a note on Heuston Station.

The King's Bridge by George Petrie (1832). Crawford Gallery, Cork (link to source)

The King’s Bridge, Dublin (West View) by George Petrie (1832). (Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. Click on image to go to source)

Although the establishment of a Commission for the development of a railway network in Ireland in 1836 was motivated by military needs, the subsequent lines built saw the end of canal passenger transport in 1852 and crushed the long distance coach business. With the establishment of The Great Southern and Western Railway Company in 1844, there was a need for a site to act as a terminus for all lines from the south and west parts of the country converging in Dublin. The site at Heuston, selected by Sir John MacNeill, was attractive given that it approached the centre of the city; a contemporary pamphlet advocating this site remarked that the Liffey “divides [the city] into two nearly parts. The terminus at King’s Bridge, will therefore be on the centre line of the city.” It was also convenient to the Royal (now Collins) Barracks, and thus allowed for easy deployment of troops by rail.

Heuston Station (thanks to B)

Heuston Station (thanks to B)

The first sod was cut in a field near King’s Bridge (named after George IV in 1828) in January 1845 in a ceremony attended by among others, the Duke of Leinster. According the the Irish Railway Gazette report that month: 

His Grace, amid the loud cheers of the assembled crowd, took off his coat and in his shirtsleeves, with the skill and goodwill of an able workman dug up six sods which he threw into a wheel-barrow, and rolled off to some distance. The bonhomie the Duke of Leinster displayed elicited the utmost enthusiasm, and a country fellow turning to one of his companions said with the utmost glee, that he would now die happy, as he had seen a duke work like any common man.

The ceremony was concluded with a very elegant dejuner.  

Kingsbridge Station, by Sancton Wood (1848)

Kingsbridge Station, by Sancton Wood (1848). Reproduced in Craig.

The station terminus itself was designed by Sancton Wood and built by Cockburn and Williams of 179 Great Brunswick St (now Pearse St) using native stone. Completed in 1848, it was Dublin’s third railway terminus, following Westland Row (1834) and Amiens Street (1844). It is a substantial building, 107 feet wide, with wings projecting 53 feet each. Two panels on the front, “VIII VIC” and “1844” indicate the Act of Parliament under which the railway company operated. Between these are the three coats of arms of the cities served by the railway: Dublin, Cork, and Limerick. Descriptions of the architectural significance of the building abound, but I like Craig’s best:

…a delightful building, a renaissance palazzo, gay and full-blooded, with fruity swags and little domed towers on the wings, a thoroughgoing formal composition, excellently articulated. It is the fashion nowadays to sniff slightly because it is not as good as Broadstone: but by these standards few buildings would escape whipping.

In what sounds like a familiar tale, after the terminus of the Dublin and Wicklow Railway was built at Harcourt St in 1859, there was a desire to link up the termini at Kingsbridge, Westland Row, and Harcourt St. In 1867, the City of Dublin Tramways Co. was empowered to develop such a link. The proposed track was to run from Kingsbridge along the South Quays to Westland Row, and on to Earlsfort Terrace. Although work began on Aston Quay, it was quickly abandoned after a row caused by track being used, which left a depression in the roadway between the rails.

Map of Dublin (1847) showing the (unfinished) station terminus at Kingsbridge.

Map of Dublin (1847) showing the (unfinished) station terminus at Kingsbridge. (From Cullen, 2015)

The first trip from the station was made in August 1846—they didn’t hang about in those days. A train left Dublin for Carlow at 9 am with carriages of all classes densely crowded with passengers. A trial run had been made the day before to the Curragh, with among others Sir John MacNeil, the man responsible for the enormous railway sheds at the rear of the building terminus, Peter La Touche, Mr Brooke (Governor of the Bank of Ireland), and the Chairmen of both the Paris and Rouen Railway and the Orleans Railway. A dejuner was again served at the Curragh; railway travel clearly being an activity that requires food. Although Independence brought a name change for King’s Bridge, to Sarsfield Bridge in 1923 and Seán Heuston Bridge in 1941, Heuston Station had to wait until 1966 to follow the name of the bridge. A tram now links the station to Amiens St (Connolly) and the missing link to Harcourt St is imminent. All change!   If you’d like to follow my street adventures in a new city, keep an eye out for my new blog later in the summer. In the mean time, enjoy this great song from Boy and Bear: End of the Line.  

Plaques for Sancton Wood and John MacNeill are at the entrance to Heuston Station

Plaques for Sancton Wood and John MacNeill are at the entrance to Heuston Station

Notes

  • Cullen (2015) also shows Petrie’s East View of King’s Bridge, which shows the Royal Barracks in the background.
  • Maurice Craig (1952, reprinted 2006) Dublin 1660-1860: The Shaping of a City, Liberties Press (Dublin).
  • Frank Cullen (2015) Dublin 1847: City of the Ordnance Survey, RIA (Dublin).
  • William J Jacob (1944) Kingsbridge Terminus, Dublin Historical Record, 6(3), 107-120.
  • Francis J Murphy (1979) Dublin Trams 1872-1959, Dublin Historical Record, 33(1), 2-9.
  • Michael J Tutty (1981) Bridges over the Liffey, Dublin Historical Record, 35(1), 23-33.
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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.