Explore Your Archive Story Box: Parnell Square

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Explore Your Archive LogoThere is a goldmine of information and untold stories within the collections of Dublin City Archives.  This STORYBOX created for Explore Your Archive Week 2014 gives examples of how we can use a variety of different archival collections to uncover the history of a particular area or street across different centuries. The STORYBOX focuses on examples of archival sources which relate to Parnell Square (previously known as Rutland Square), one of Dublin’s finest Georgian Squares. The original items referred to below can be viewed by calling to Dublin City Library and Reading Room in person.

Please bring photographic id with you on your first visit so that we can issue you with a research card.

Explore Your Archive Box from Archives & Records Association on Vimeo.

Wide Street Commission Minute Book, Volume 9, p179Source 1: Wide Street Commission Minute Book 1789-1790 (WSC/Mins/09) and the Wide Street Commission Map Collection

The Collection: The Wide Street Commission established by an Act of Parliament in 1757 was the first urban planning authority in Europe. Its function was to provide “Wide and Convenient Streets” for Dublin and it had extensive powers to acquire property by compulsory purchase, develop new streets, demolish buildings and impose design standards on building lots which were sold to developers. The Commission had a major impact on development of Georgian Dublin between 1757- 1851

Storybox Item: The Minute Book of the Wide Street Commissioners show details of a meeting held on 27 March 1790 in which plans for new street to be built between Rutland Square and Dorset Street are discussed. The new street is to be called Fredrick Street and the adjoining Barley Field is also to be developed. See:  WSC/Mins/09  pp 179-180 and pp 208.

Wide Street Commission Map 245.1Related Records: The Wide Street Commissioners produced over 900 maps in the course of their work, many of which have been conserved and can be viewed at our Wide Street Commission Maps Image Gallery.  The WSC Map collection includes WSC/Maps/327 and WSC/Maps/245/1-2 which relate directly to the development of Barley Field and Fredrick Street in the vicinity of Parnell Square in 1790.  These three maps were conserved in 2014 with funding received from the Heritage Council of Ireland under the Heritage Management Grant Scheme 2014.

WSC/Map/245/1 includes a map of proposed new street adjoining Rutland Square and a survey of the Barley Field with details of rental agreements and leaseholders.

Further Research: A vast collection of records relating to Wide Street Commission (including maps, minute books, deeds & leases, architectural drawings) are held in Dublin City Archives. These records can help uncover the history of many streets and buildings within Dublin City. Search and browse the Archive of the Wide Street Commission Maps online.

 The Heritage Council

Source 2: Dublin City Archaeological Archive/ Moore Street/Parnell Street, Dublin 1 (98E0357) Collection

DCAA Front CoverThe Collection: The Dublin City Archaeological Archive was established in 2010 to preserve the records created by archaeologists during and after an excavation.  It can include items such as maps, drawings, find sheets, photographs, slides and reports which provide important information on a site –and these records are particularly significant if the site is subsequently developed over.

DCAA.01.06 related to an excavations carried out by Edmond O’Donovan of Margaret Gowen & Co. Limited on a block at the north-eastern corner of Moore Street and Parnell Street between January and April of 2003 in advance of the construction of a hotel and other retail outlets by Shelbourne Developments.

Storybox Item. DCAA.01.06/Box 1/Folder 6: Archaeological Excavations Moore Street/Parnell Street, Dublin 1 Report- Edmond O'Donovan (24 May 2004)

The final report describes the four phases of activity uncovered at the site: 1) the medieval phase, 2) use of site as brickfield in early eighteenth century, 3) construction of Georgian Houses between 1750-1770  and 4) occupation & alterations of site from 1770 to 2003. One of the most significant finds at the site was a wooden toy boat c.1750-1780.

Further research: There are summary details of all DCAA collections available on our website, with full collection lists available on the Dublin City Archaeological Database in the Reading Room. Artefacts found during excavation are deposited with the National Museum of Ireland.

Source 3: Dublin City Council Minute Book 1911

The Collection: The indexed Dublin City Council Minutes (1841 –1997) record the various meetings of the municipal authority. Many buildings and streets (public and residential) are discussed. In some cases the streets under discussion may also be referred to in the Dublin City Council Reports (1841 –1997).

Storybox Item: Dublin City Council Minute Book 1911

Dublin City Council Minutes 1911, p320The Minutes of meeting held on 12 June 1911  record that the postponement of the motion ‘…that the names of Rutland Square and Cavendish Row be changed to Parnell Square in recognition of the services to Ireland of the great Irish chief, Charles Stuart Parnell”. See item 455, p 321.

The Minutes of meeting held on 9 October 1911, record that a letter was submitted by the Secretary, Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, embodying a protest from the Governors of that institution against the proposed changing of names of Rutland Square and Great Britain Street. See item 718, p 484.

Further Research: Dublin City Council Minute Books (1841 –1997) and Dublin City Council Reports (1841 –1997) are available in the Reading Room.

Source 4: Dublin City Council/Voters Registration Book, 1939-1940. Volume 3

About: Electoral Lists (also called Voters' Registration) list the names and addresses of people eligible to vote in Dáil elections, local elections and from the 1970s in European Elections. The Franchise section within Dublin City Council is responsible for the production of the register of electors who reside within the Corporation's administrative boundaries.  The information contained within electoral lists can be used to complements and supplements sources such as Thom’s Street Directories & 1901 and 1911 Census to identify residents of a street at a particular time.

Sample Page from the Electoral Register 1939-1940Storybox item: Voters Registration Book, 1939-1940. Volume 3, Electoral Lists for Parnell Square East, Polling District-HH, Registration unit- Rotunda, pp39-43.

Further Research: Electoral Registers from 1908-1983 (with some gaps) are held by Dublin City Archives and are accessible to the public in the following ways: Electoral Registers for 1908-1912 and 1915 have been digitised and made fully searchable and can be viewed for free online at databases.dublincity.ie. Electoral registers for 1937-1964 have been digitised and made fully searchable and can be viewed on databases in our Reading Room. Electoral Registers from 1965-1983 can be viewed in hard copy format in the Reading Room and are searchable by address only.


Source 5: Dublin City Interiors of Importance, Volume 5

Collection: In 1983 Dublin Corporation commissioned An Taisce to carry out a survey to identify buildings whose interiors might be worthy of ‘listing’ under the provisions of the Local Government (Planning and Development Act) 1976.  The results of this survey were published in six volumes titled Dublin Interiors of Importance (William Garner, editor) in the mid-1980s. The volumes provide written descriptions, floor plans, photographs and survey notes of some of Dublin’s most familiar buildings, especially of Georgian or earlier design.

Front Cover Dublin Interiors of ImportanceStorybox Item: Dublin City Interiors of Importance, Volume 5 includes floor plans, photographs and notes for No. 4 Parnell Square, No. 18-20 Parnell Square,  No 22 Parnell Square and No. 33 Parnell Square.  See pp 74-79.

Further Research: All six volumes of Dublin Interiors of Importance can be viewed in the Reading Room

Source 6: Dublin City Council Development Plan 1999

The Collection: Dublin City Development Plans have been a statutory requirement under various Local Government Planning Acts since 1963. The plan sets out policies and objectives for the development of the City over a six year period. It reflects consultation with the general public and other interested bodies. The making of the Dublin City Development Plan, Local Area Plans, any variation of a plan and any material contravention of the plan is a function reserved to the elected members of the Council.

Front Cover Dublin City Development Plan 1999Storybox Item: Dublin City Development Plan 1999 contains reference to Parnell Square on pp74, 144, and 242.

Further Research: Dublin City Council Development Plans 1955 –2011 can be accessed in the Reading Room. The Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 and the proposed new Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022 can be viewed on the Dublin City Council website. See also www.parnellsquare.ie which has a wealth of information on the history of Parnell Square and on the project to develop the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter.

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