Friday, 5 June 2015

Finding architectural gems and
surprises on the streets of Bray

A surprise on Quinsborough Road, Bray … but where do the steps lead to? (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

After a long day’s work today [5 June 2015], and facing another working day tomorrow, I went to Bray for a walk on the beach and a late lunch.

Walking down Quinsborough Road towards the seafront, I was surprised at the architectural curios and gems that can be seen in little gaps and corners. Here a gate hiding a flight of stairs, there a former bank long closed, or across the street the former Presbyterian Manse.

Saint Andrew’s Manse … built in 1850 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Saint Andrew’s Manse, at 13 Quinsborough Road, is a detached three-bay two-storey manse built in 1850. This early Victorian manse with Tudoresque overtones is one of the more distinctive domestic properties in the centre of Bray. In the past it was well-preserved and it has formed a picturesque grouping with the neighbouring Presbyterian church.

The front elevation of the former manse consists of three gables. The gable in the centre is smaller but projects slightly, with-single storey canted bays to the outer gables. The façade is finished in painted render with moulded drip stones to the entrance and the upper floor windows and there are small “arrow loop” and quatrefoil recesses to the gables.

The pitched roof is slated and has rendered chimney stacks and rendered parapets with corbels.

The entrance is set within a small recessed porch with a Tudor arch opening, and consists of a timber door with ogee-arched panels, pointed arch sidelights and a three-pane pointed arch fanlight. There are decorative “spandrel” panels between the porch opening and drip stone above it.

The windows are flat-headed and have two-over-two timber sash frames. There are cast-iron rainwater goods. To the west side of the house there is a gabled gate screen, within which is a small pointed arch gateway.

The building faces onto the street but is separated from it by a small garden enclosed by decorative cast-iron railings.

However, this house no longer serves as a manse, and this afternoon the grass was overgrown, and discarded furniture could be seen around the front. I only hope that this is not another part of the architectural heritage of Bray that could become endangered.

Down at the seafront two of us had a late lunch in Carpe Diem on Albert Avenue before going for a short walk on the beach in the late afternoon sunshine.

The tide was out and the sea was calm. Despite the rain earlier in the day, the temperature rose to 19 this afternoon. Perhaps summer is about to arrive on the east coast.

Walking on the beach in Bray in the late afternoon sunshine (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

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