13 July 2018
Two contrasting examples
of domestic Victorian
architecture in Bray
I was writing earlier this morning [13 July 2018] that I find the Victorian and Edwardian domestic architecture in Bray, Co Wicklow, is inspiring.
A fine example of these houses is found in the four adjacent Victorian buildings that are now home to the ATC Language Schools at the south end of Strand Road.
These four houses facing the seafront include Dunluce House, Neptune House and Altona House. This pair of semi-detached houses have carefully refurbished, restored and upgraded, combining Victorian elegance with modern comforts.
These semi-detached, two-bay, two-storey over basement houses were built ca 1865. Each house is finished in render with a Tyrolean finish and is double-piled.
The paired and curved dogleg stairs rise to the broad shared stairs that rise to the raised ground floors. They have decorative wrought-iron guard rails.
The panelled doors have plain fanlights and sit within semi-circular arched openings tnat in turn are set within semi-circular arched recesses with twisted rope decoration.
The window openings have segmental arch heads at the ground floor with flat-headed openings elsewhere and have one-over-one timber sash windows. Louvred shutters have been added to the exterior wall surface adjacent to each window.
These are well-preserved examples of early semi-detached houses that recall the Victorian love of the seaside and they form an important part of the promenade’s set of mainly Victorian houses.
Between the promenade and the railway line, a very different example of domestic architecture from the same decade can be seen in the houses that form Brennan’s Parade, which opens onto Albert Avenue at a point facing Carpe Diem.
This is a terrace of two-bay, two-storey houses, built ca 1860 as 14 uniform mews behind Brennan’s Terrace.
The ground floor levels of the front façades are faced in granite rubble, with raised pointing and painted brick dressings to the openings.
The first-floor levels are in brick with projecting string courses and bracketed eaves courses. The slated roofs are pitched and the houses have shared, rendered chimney-stacks.
Many of the front doors on Brennan’s Parade still have their panelled timber doors and plain semi-circular fanlights in place.
The houses face directly onto a relatively narrow private laneway, and this uniform mews terrace, hidden from the view of most visitors, is something of a rarity in Bray.
Although the houses have no front gardens, colourful flowers have planted along the brick walls facing the terrace, and at the south end there are small bird boxes that aim to make this area a quite and colourful oasis in Bray.