Inchicore on Track 4.A Part 2 Architecture and Built Heritage
The approach being taken by IOT in relation to the Architectural Heritage is based upon the definition of Architectural Heritage explained below. The Works and Estate both qualify under all three criteria to be considered Architectural Heritage.
IoT contends that if the architectural study had been under the direction of a single project Conservation Architect from the beginning, particularly through the constraints study and route selection process, much of the difficulties we feel occur in the EIS report might have been avoided. In such circumstances there might have been a more holistic approach arrived at between the different built heritage consultants.
ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE: The problem we perceive with the evidence furnished in the EIS, is that it describes buildings largely as individual structures rather than as a group. The Works and Estate qualify as a group of buildings “together with their settings and attendant grounds, fixtures and fittings” and as sites which are “of architectural, historic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest”. Our presentations so far have emphasised this aspect of the site and it is in this way that we wish to persuade the Board to treat them. Slide showing integrated nature of the works site and adjoining area of the estate
This approach taken in the EIS is not acceptable from our perspective, in that our view is that the CIE Works site and the Railway Estate are unique and of national importance. To that end we re-state our position on the architectural heritage issues at Inchicore. We have developed this in detail in our written submission, but outline again here. We contend that the NRA Guidelines for the Assessment of Architectural Heritage Impacts of National Roads Schemes (2005), in addition to other statutes and guidelines (for example those listed at p20-2, EIS) apply. These guidelines would consider groups of buildings, structures in their settings, sites of social or technical interest, and so on. In other words, the focus should be on the entirety of the urban arrangement and the cohesiveness of the ensemble. To consider individual buildings alone is to miss the point.
The Inchicore Works site and the Inchicore Railway Estate are unusual and unique in Ireland. Both sites differ substantially from other sites along the proposed DART Underground route, in that they are complete and distinct physical entities, somewhat separate from the main city fabric. Both share a history which finds its expression in the form of a complete built urban quarter, residential and industrial. The relationship between home, workplace, leisure, philanthropy and technology is explicit in the arrangement of buildings in their urban setting. Both sites are still intact urban set pieces.
The views given in the architectural section appears to miss the point from our point of view, in that the entirety of the Estate and Works is not acknowledged. In fact we could argue that the use of terms such as ‘ accidental’… ’random’… ‘part of this evolution’ describing specific buildings leaves an overall impression that there was never any cohesiveness. This could be seen to imply that a piecemeal approach could be taken to this ensemble of 19 th century industrial and social architecture. Slide showing all the elements together providing an integrated works area
Neither site has been appraised as a whole entity under the criteria set out above; as ‘ groups of such structures and buildings’ or as ‘structures and buildings together with their settings’ or as ‘sites’ . Best conservation practice has considerably evolved methodology dealing with this type of assessment. We have previously submitted Swindon Railway Works Architectural Heritage Appraisal and Swindon Railway Village Architectural Heritage Appraisal as just two such relevant examples (see Appendix 8 of the IOT submission).
We strongly urge a better assessment of the entirety of the Estate and Works. The following specifics are noted The Estate consists of terraced houses built for Great Southern and Western Railway workers from 1845 onwards, together with modern homes built between 1989 and 2006. The terraces of houses are laid out in shared streets, squares and greens. These are interspersed with public buildings from the same period, ranging from a nineteenth century Model School (Protected Structure), to the former Reading Rooms and Dispensary (1860’s, now Inchicore Sports & Social Club), and a Boxing Club (formerly the British Legion) building.
The Estate has an unusual pattern of shared and private lanes coupled with gardens separated from some terraces. Traces, or desk evidence, of old allotment patterns from the nineteenth century exist. The whole is bounded by a significant, and high, stone wall, parts of which have Protected Structure status. There are few openings into the Estate, and this - together with its quiet greens and gardens - contributes to a leafy atmosphere.
The unique pattern of semi-public shared lanes and separated gardens, together with family histories and histories of allotments all contribute to the strong sense of constructed community. The railway houses fall into six different typologies. All are of good architectural quality. Mostly built in random rendered Calp limestone, with chimneys, flues and some dividing walls in brick, roughly three quarters of thehouses are the same typology.
These are double bay fronted houses with a steep internal staircase dividing four equally proportioned rooms in addition to a return with two rooms, all over two floors. Other typologies are also of interest; however it is beyond the scope of this submission to detail them all. There are strong distinctive features of timber sash windows, wicket fences, brick garden walls, chimneys and porches, strapped ironwork gates, plaques, fences, doors and numbering systems.
There are three entrances into the Railway Works site; the principal entrance is through the Railway Estate. The two parts, the Railway Works and Railway Estate were clearly inextricably bound, in social and in urban/architectural terms.
The Railway Works site was established in 1845, expanding considerably in the nineteenth century. Most of this building stock survives. The remainder of buildings are varied twentieth century additions, new buildings and alterations. Despite the paucity of entrances into the site, the overall feeling is quite open as significant space was required for the movement of rolling stock. Rail lines, turntables and associated artefacts are still extant. It is the largest single site of complete industrial railway architecture dating from the nineteenth century in the Irish State.
The urban pattern of the layout is strong in areas - particularly the nineteenth century stock. There are well defined ‘streets’, squares and greens edged with solid single storey stone railway sheds and offices, some linked with arches, or just by proximity. The overall feeling is of a utilitarian arrangement; building added against building in a well arranged manner as the need arose. This pattern is in keeping with the nature of Irish nineteenth century industrial and related urban building stock.
The Inchicore Railway Works site is not dealt with as the largest site in the Irish State of railway industrial architectural heritage, a huge portion of which is still intact.
From our point of view there has been little assessment of the overall urban holistic entities of the Railway Works and Railway Estate sites, in their settings. Each building in either of these areas is assessed separately, reinforcing the impression that these are solely isolated structures, and that there is no connection between them. Buildings in the Railway Works site only, and St Georges Villas (solely) in the Railway Estate are assessed .
In the EIS, where any acknowledgement is made of architectural heritage in any of these buildings, the buildings under scrutiny are characterised as stand alone structures. The EIS lists assessment criteria as: architectural significance, historic significance, technical significance, vernacular significance, group significance, personal associations, social significance, uniqueness/rarity, detail/design, archaeology, materials, setting and summary. IoT contends that this group of structures qualifies under all these criteria
Under these criteria the Railway Works site is accorded the following significance on pages 20-35 of the EIS. ‘ many of the buildings retain elements of their original layout and function and the works as a whole can be considered to be of architectural significance’ … , ‘must be deemed as reflecting the typical level of skill and methodology of the time’…, ‘core buildings from the mid to late 19th century survive in a number of buildings and though in modified form may be considered to be of historic significance’…’The CIÉ Railway Works is the largest engineering facility of its kind in Ireland and on that basis must be considered unique’ with the summary, ‘ Though many of the constituent buildings have been much altered over the years, the works can be said to be of architectural and historic merit’.
<ul><li>IoT considers that that description considerably underestimates the importance of the collection of buildings within and outside the Works as a whole. </li></ul><ul><li>However, following this statement, no convincing proposals are put </li></ul><ul><li>forward to address the protection of architectural and industrial </li></ul><ul><li>heritage in any holistic way. </li></ul><ul><li>Buildings are either proposed for </li></ul><ul><li>full demolition, otherwise described as ‘mitigation by Record of the Past’ </li></ul><ul><li>partial demolition/removal of parts, similarly described </li></ul><ul><li>retention. </li></ul>Before After
A very high proportion of original nineteenth century railway sheds and other buildings are proposed for demolition. No guidance or set of standards or technical specifications are given as to how this might protect architectural heritage. The future of remaining, or partially remaining buildings is not described. Will they too disappear? Before After
We note the unhelpful statement in the Industrial Heritage Assessment that ‘the greatest threat to industrial heritage is redundancy’. CIE relies on this simplistic assertion to conclude that its plan must therefore be best. Instead of redundancy we ask for a better plan for these buildings. The author admitted under questioning at the hearing that her assessment was carried out after the outline of the development was already set. Despite references to other railway works like Swindon, she deals with the individual buildings within the works without properly taking in the whole idea of the Works and associated Estate being a completely integrated development carried out over half a century. Swindon Conservation Area: Note the buildings in brown are all listed, both in the Works and in the Estate
In relation to sub-surface archaeology it was stated that there would be monitoring of all excavations after buildings had been removed. This is a good approach to take, if it has been properly decided that the buildings should be removed in the first place. Reference is made to salvage of existing material; how this is to be done or to what standard is not set out. We particularly note that a higher standard has been agreed for Heuston station with regard to the noting and sourcing of replacement parts. It is not clear who will decide what is to be kept and how it is to be reinstated at Inchicore.
Though the EIS assessment does state, in relation to the Railway Works: ‘While much of what remains today has been altered, nevertheless, many of the buildings retain elements of their original layout and function and the works as a whole can be considered to be of architectural significance’ (p20-35). However there are no meaningful proposals as to how the site as a whole might be protected, or how the mitigation strategy takes this “whole” into account.
One specific cause for concern is the Pattern Loft and its contents. It contains an extensive collection of patterns that goes back to the beginning of the Railway Works in the mid 1800s. This collection is highly significant for its quality and extent as a record of tradition, skills and workmanship. No response to our submission in this respect has been made. Proposals as to how this could be arranged are made in Section 4B.
We are, finally, gravely concerned about the future of the former Reading Rooms and Dispensary Building, known as the Social Club. The proposed tunnel passes very close to this building and the proposed new intervention shaft would be constructed very close to this building. No meaningful assessment of this building is made, despite our drawing attention to its importance. It is in poor condition in parts, and any proposed work in and around it would need to be carefully considered. It is described in various reports here and there as ‘a sports building’ (although sport only accounts for about 10% of its usage in surface area) and of no architectural significance. This is an important building, forming the designed urban edge to Library Square, and of social significance. It needs to be protected and dealt with seriously. In 19 th century social terms it was the arm of the company within the Estate.
The building, which needs repair, is very valuable in architectural, social and urban terms. It is an extremely interesting building, having served a social purpose to feed, make suits of clothes, provide a library and administer medical services to railway workers in the nineteenth century. It is heavily used still for sports and other social events. It is a H shaped deep plan building, constructed in Calp limestone with brick chimneys and edgings, deep overhanging eaves and slated roofs (only some of the slates remain). Its charming and largely intact frontage has fine windows, railings and chimneys. This well composed elevation forms one complete urban edge to Library Square, whilst the other fronts the Sports Ground.
A domestic house and garden, part of CIE’s tradition of ‘tied’ houses, forms part of the building, and the remains of an older stone wall and carriage entrance are distinguishable. It is an important record of nineteenth century social architecture, and undoubtedly merits protection. It is difficult to see how the architectural heritage assessment could have missed any of these facts in either desk evidence or site visits, as records abound in relation to the building.
Conclusion: We submit that the proposed DART Underground, associated works and envisaged future development (which could be very substantial) at Inchicore, has not been designed in a way which recognises or protects the uniqueness of the two entities of the Estate and Works. These two surviving entities, the Works and the Estate, are unique. They are also unique in national terms. There are no other surviving examples in Ireland in this state of preservation. To fail to recognise the importance of this in heritage terms, in preserving the historical record of the city, and the nation, is a serious omission.
We request that An Bord Pleanála views this matter very seriously and directs CIE to amend its assessment and design to correct this. We request the Bord ensures better control, particularly for assessment, reinstatement, salvage and recording processes. We feel that the possibilities of substantial reinstatement, or of positioning or running the proposed DART Underground through, under (or within) existing nineteenth century railway structures is a viable proposition. We submit that CIE has failed to examine this option, preferring instead to propose large scale demolition of the core of the Works. We note that the Industrial Heritage Assessment was carried out after the route had been determined. The failure of the EIS and subsequent evidence to recognise Inchicore Railway Estate and Inchicore Works as significant entities nationally in heritage terms is utterly unacceptable. This must be addressed meaningfully and we request An Bord Pleanála directs CIE to amend its scheme to maintain historic heritage stock.