Monday, 22 August 2016

Three elegant Victorian terraces
on Quinsborough Road in Bray

The three elegant Victorian terraces on Quinsborough Road in Bray are part of the architectural legacy William Dargan bequeathed to the ‘Brighton of Ireland’ (Photograoh: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Patrick Comerford

In my discussions last week of the elegant Edwardian and Victorian architecture of Bray, Co Wicklow, I looked at the Presbyterian Manse and Church on Quinsborough Road, the Post Office across the street from these two buildings, and the stories of Bray’s lost Turkish Baths and International Hotel.

They were important components of the vision of the railway pioneer William Dargan (1799-1867). With the arrival of his railway in Bray, Dargan laid out Quinsborough Road in 1854, linking the Main Street of the old town with the new railway station, the Esplanade and the seafront, as part of his dream of transforming Bray into the ‘Brighton of Ireland.’

Although Dargan’s dream was never realised, the legacy of his forward thinking is seen in Quinsborough Road and particularly in its three elegant terraces from the 1850s and 1860s that remain largely intact since they were built over a span of four years more than a century and half ago: Duncairn Terrace (1859) on the north side of the street, and Prince of Wales Terrace (1861) and Goldsmith Terrace (1863) on the opposite, south side of the street.

No 1 Duncairn Terrace, built in 1859, is now known as Dargan House (Photograoh: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Duncairn Terrace is the first of these three mid-Victorian terraces on Quinsborough Road. It was built as Dargan Terrace on the north side of Quinsborough Road, between the site of the former Turkish Baths and the Carlisle Grounds, and dates from 1859.

At the west end of Duncairn Terrace, No 1 is appropriately named Dargan House in honour of William Dargan. This semi-detached, three-bay, three-storey over basement house, built in 1859 as part of this development of 10 terraced and semi-detached houses.

Looking at No 1, the west elevation is a two-bay full-height projection. The façade is finished in unpainted roughcast, unpainted plain render to the basement level, granite quoins, a parapet with projecting eaves course, and moulded surrounds to many of the openings. The slated hipped roof is largely hidden from view behind the parapet and has rendered chimney stacks with corbelling.

The entrance to the south elevation of the west projection consists of a panelled timber door and semi-circular fanlight encased with a moulded surround. It is reached by a flight of stone steps with cast-iron railings.

In general, the windows are flat-headed with two-over-two and one-over-one timber sash frames. Most of the ground and first floor windows have plain moulded surrounds, with projecting hood mouldings to those on the latter floor. There are cast-iron rainwater goods. The house faces onto a road but has a large garden enclosed by cast-iron railings and gate.

No 2 next door is another semi-detached three-bay, three-storey over basement house, also built in 1859. A large single-storey over basement extension was added around 1990.

No 3 to No 8 Duncairn Terrace form a terrace of six houses enclosed by the two matching pairs of semi-detached houses at each end.

No 3 is an end-of-terrace three-bay three-storey over basement house, built in 1859 as part of the terrace. To the west elevation is a two-bay full-height projection. The façade is finished in unpainted roughcast, painted plain render to the basement level, granite quoins, parapet with projecting eaves course, and moulded surrounds to many of the openings. The slated hipped roof is largely hidden from view behind the parapet and has rendered chimney stacks with corbelling.

The entrance is to the south elevation of the west projection and consists of a panelled timber door and semi-circular fanlight encased within a moulded surround. It is reached by a flight of stone steps with cast-iron railings. There is a decorative wrought-iron balcony to the first floor of the front elevation. However, a smaller balcony to the west elevation has been removed.

No 4 is one of the mid-terrace houses The flight of stone steps is shared with the neighbouring property. The original first floor windows have been replaced with a large canted oriel window with a hipped roof.

No 5 Duncairn Terrace has a large canted oriel window, but No 7 does not (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

At No 5 and at No 6 too, the original first floor windows have been replaced with large canted oriel windows, each with a hipped roof, but neighbouring No 7 and No 8 have no oriel windows.

No 8 is the complementary end-of-terrace house. It is a three-bay three-storey over basement house, and to the east elevation is a two-bay full-height projection. The entrance is to the south elevation of the east projection. There is a decorative wrought-iron balcony to the first floor of the front elevation, with a smaller one to the east elevation.

No 9 and No 10 form a second pair of semi-detached houses at the east end of Duncair Terrace (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

No 9 and No 10 form the second pair of semi-detached, three-bay, three-storey over basement houses. To the west elevation of No 9 is a two-bay full-height projection. The entrance to the south elevation of the west projection consists of a panelled timber door and semi-circular fanlight encased with a moulded surround. It has a flight of stone steps with decorative cast-iron railings. There is a decorative wrought-iron balcony to the first floor of the front elevation with a smaller one to the west elevation.

At No 10 next door, the east elevation has a two-bay full-height projection. The entrance is to the south elevation of the east projection with a flight of stone steps. There is a decorative wrought-iron balcony on the first floor of the front elevation with a smaller one to the east elevation.

Prince of Wales Terrace was built in 1861 as a row of 12 houses and was named in honour of the future Edward VII (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Prince of Wales Terrace was built in 1861 as a planned row of 12 houses. It was named after the Prince of Wales, Prince Albert Edward who would later reign as King Edward VII.

Prince of Wales Terrace was designed by Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon, an architectural partnership based in Belfast and Dublin, formed in 1860. The partnership was formed when Charles Lanyon and William Henry Lynn took Charles Lanyon's eldest son, John Lanyon, as their junior partner. At the same time, the firm opened a branch office at 64 Upper Sackville Street (O’Connell Street), Dublin, which was run by John Lanyon until 1867.

No 1 Prince of Wales Terrace is an end-of-terrace three-bay three-storey over basement house. To the west elevation of the building there is a large full-width, single-storey over basement, entrance projection. The façade is finished in unpainted lined render with moulded quoins and decorative moulded surrounds to many of the openings, as well as moulded pilasters, a first floor sill course, and a parapet with a projecting eaves course.

The slated hipped roof, which is largely obscured from view behind that parapet, has rendered chimney stacks with corbelling. The parapet to the west elevation has a centrally positioned pediment. The roof of the single-storey projection is totally obscured from view behind its own more decorative pierced parapet with urn finials.

The entrance is to the south elevation of the single-storey projection and consists of a panelled timber door with three-quarter Ionic column ‘jambs,’ a projecting entablature and a plain semi-circular fanlight, all set within a moulded reveal.

A flight of stone steps leads up to the doorway with decorative cast-iron railings. In general, the windows are flat-headed, with arched heads to those to the projection. Most of the windows have one-over-one and two-over-two timber sash frames, with segmental pediments on brackets above the ground floor windows, and simpler cornice-like hoods on brackets above those to the first floor. To the rear there is a full-height return. There are cast-iron rainwater goods.

The house faces onto Quinsborough Road, but is separated from the street by a large garden to the front, with a large yard and garden to the rear. The garden is enclosed with decorative cast-iron railings with a matching gate to the front.

The houses on Prince of Wales Terrace were built in 1861 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

The 10 mid-terrace houses are three-bay three-storey over basement houses, built in 1861. The entrances consist of a panelled timber door flanked by pairs of moulded jambs with decorative console brackets, all set within projecting porticos with Ionic columns, corner pilasters, entablatures with projecting cornice, and decorative pierced parapets that obscure the roofs.

The porticos are paired with the neighbouring houses, and have arched windows to the side. They are reached by a flight of stone steps with decorative cast-iron railings. In general, the windows are flat-headed and have two-over two timber sash frames, with segmental pediments on brackets above the ground floor windows, and simpler cornice-like hoods on brackets above those to the first floor. There are cast-iron rainwater goods, and the houses face onto the street, but are separated from it by the large gardens enclosed by decorative cast-iron railings and gates.

No 12 is the complementary end-of-terrace three-bay house. To the east elevation there is a large, full-width, single-storey over basement entrance projection. The parapet to the east elevation has a centrally positioned pediment. The roof of the single-storey projection is totally obscured from view behind its own parapet. To the rear there is a full-height return, with a lower two-storey extension to the north of this, added in the later 20th century.

Goldsmith Terrace was built in 1863, the latest and the most altered of the Victorian terraces built by William Dargan (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Further east on the south side of Quinsborough Road, Goldsmith Terrace, built in 1863, is the latest and the most altered of these three mid-Victorian terraces planned by Dargan. Here, all bar two of the 12 original houses have been put to commercial use. The shopfronts are unsympathetic and the front gardens have been lost. Yet, it is still possible to imagine the Regency-style grandeur of the row and the terrace still makes an important contribution to the streetscape of Bray.

Goldsmith Terrace was probably designed by George Wilkinson (1814-1890), former architect to the Poor Law Commissioners in Ireland (1839-1855). He was born in 1814, a son of WA Wilkinson, carpenter and builder of Witney, Oxfordshire. Before coming to Ireland, he designed many workhouses in England and Wales. Nearly all the workhouses were designed in a Tudor domestic idiom, with picturesque gabled entrance buildings.

After retiring in 1855, Wilkinson continued to practise as an architect in Dublin for another 32 years. During that period, he was the architect for three railway companies, and designed stations at Harcourt Street, Dublin (1859), Athlone (1859) and Sligo (1862). He returned to England in 1887, and died in London in 1890.

No 1 Goldsmith Terrace is an end-of-terrace, three-bay, three-storey former house, built in 1863 as one of the original, uniform row of 12 houses. It is now uses as offices and a shop. To the west there is a full-width single-storey former porch projection. The façade is finished in brick and painted render with moulded quoins and window surrounds, and a parapet with eaves cornice. The roof is hidden behind the parapet and has a rendered chimney stack.

There are two entrances to No 1, one to the porch and one to the east end of the house. The second entrance appears to be a later insertion in place of a window, and has a panelled timber door, three-quarter Tuscan column ‘jambs,’ an entablature with a cornice, and a semi-circular fanlight. The entrance to the former porch has a 1990s mainly glazed double door with a semi-circular fanlight.

When No 1 is compared with No 12 at the other end of Goldsmith Terrace, it seems the eastern entrance door, ‘jamb’ and entablature at No 1 may have been taken from the original porch. The shopfront is in timber and dates from 1995. The windows are a mixture of flat-headed and segmental-headed and most have replacement top-hung timber frames. The surrounds to the first floor windows incorporate cornice-like hoods on decorative brackets. There are cast-iron rainwater goods. The building has a street frontage, and the original front garden has been paved over.

No 2, which is now Dunne’s Stores, has probably seen the greatest amount of alteration of the whole group. It was probably converted to commercial use as early as 1910. The Edwardian first floor window is wholly out of style with its surroundings, but is impressive.

The façade of No 2 is finished in painted render with moulded panels, pilasters, string courses, window surrounds, and a parapet with eaves cornice. The roof is hidden behind the parapet and has a brick chimney stack. The ground floor level is completely taken up with a large timber shopfront dating from 1995. On the first floor, the large full-width late Edwardian window incorporates a central bay with curved glass edges. The window is filled with mirrored glazing. The remaining second floor windows are flat-headed and have two-over-two timber sash frames. There are Cast-iron rainwater goods. The building has a street frontage, and the original front garden has been paved over.

No 9 Goldsmith Terrace (left) retains its front garden and cast-iron railings (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

No 9 in this terrace is now in used a doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries. The façade is finished in painted brick and painted render with moulded window surrounds, and a parapet with eaves cornice. The roof is hidden behind the parapet and has shared, rendered chimney stacks. The entrance includes a panelled timber door with a moulded entablature supported on decorative brackets, and a plain segmental fanlight. The windows are flat-headed and have two-over-two timber sash frames. The surrounds to the ground and first floor windows incorporate cornice-like hoods on decorative brackets, and there are cast-iron rainwater goods. The house retains its small garden, enclosed by cast-iron railings and a matching gate.

At the end of the terrace, No 12 is a three-bay three-storey over basement house, now divided into apartments. To the east there is an almost full-width single-storey porch projection. The façade of No 12 is finished in brick, painted brick and painted render, with granite quoins and moulded window surrounds, and a parapet with eaves cornice. To the east elevation are moulded pilasters, while the parapet to this side has a centrally positioned pediment. The roof is hidden behind the parapet and has rendered chimney stacks. The porch roof is also hidden behind a more decorative pierced parapet.

The entrance to No 12 is to the north face of the porch and is made up of a panelled timber door, three-quarter Corinthian column ‘jamb,’ entablature with cornice, and a plain semi-circular fanlight. The windows are both flat-headed and semi-circular headed and they have and variety of one-over-one, one-over-four and four-over-four timber sash frames, with replacement top-hung timber frames to some of the basement windows. The surrounds to the first floor windows incorporate cornice-like hoods on decorative brackets. Here too, there are cast-iron rainwater goods. The building faces onto the street but retains its garden and the cast-iron railings and gate.