Belgrave Square East

On 10th Sept 1851 an application to declare the road on the east side of the Square, Belgrave Avenue, a public Highway was made to the Rathmines Township Board. A memorial was received from the inhabitants of Belgrave Avenue informing the board that the avenue was now made permanent and substantial and requesting that same might be declared a public highway, that mains would be laid and the road lighted with gas.[i]


On Nov 5th 1851 the surveyor Henry Johnston reported that:

the required works had been done to Belgrave Avenue, the large stones broken and the crown (i.e. the upper surface) where flat raised with gravel. The portion of the road through which the gas pipes had lately been laid has been carefully gravelled and left complete.


The Board resolved that

Belgrave Avenue being now in a proper state of repair that same be declared a public highway and in future be maintained at the expense of the Commissioners, Mr Holbrook (the owner of the road and one of the Town Commissioners) undertaking that curbing be placed opposite the several holdings[ii]


In August 1851 Graves Holbrook sold eight pieces or plots of ground on the east side of the Square to Hugh Morrison who erected “eight separate and distinct dwelling houses nos 7,8,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 Belgrave Square”. Hugh Morrison also built houses on the south side of the square (nos 20 and 22) and 1,2, 5 and 6 Belgrave Place.


As each of his four daughters married he settled one of these properties on them. In one of the deeds of settlement it is expressly stated that Nos 7 and 8 Belgrave Square were left in trust to the fifth daughter, Martha Pedlow Morrison, spinster, ‘free from the debts, engagement or control of any husband’ (she was to be given any profit from the rents after all payments for repairs and insurance policies) and her heirs if she married.


Finally in 1872 ‘in consequence of the natural love and affection which he the said Hugh Morrison beareth towards his children ……….doth grant to Wm Mathews Junior and James Hew Morrison other than the portions settled before all the lands and dwellinghouses buildings and outoffices now known as nos 7,8,9,12 and 14 Belgrave Square.” These two gentlemen, the son-in-law and the son of Hugh Morrisson, were trustees of the family trust.[iii]


In April 1852 the Commissioners voted £80 for the purpose of improving Harold’s Cross Green on condition that the inhabitants subscribe £40. It was noted that the object of the improvements was to preserve the Green for the recreation of the inhabitants and to entirely exclude all cattle. [iv]


The residents of  Belgrave Avenue quickly followed suit. On May 5th 1852 they addressed a memorial to the Board in reference to forming a square in that locality. A committee was established to enquire into the matter. Mr Holmes attended the meeting but was not a member of the committee.[v] 


At the meeting on May 19th, the ‘Eglington Square committee’ handed in the following report. There was a  note ‘as to square near Belgrave Avenue’ in the margin alongside. Was it originally intended to call it Eglington Square? The report definitely refers to what was subsequently labelled Belgrave Square as it is described as a ‘square at Belgrave and Castlewood avenues’



The Committee appointed to confer with the parties interested in the formation of a new square at Belgrave and Castlewood Avenues having met the following deputation Messrs Scott, Morrison, Dean, Carson, Holmes and Holbrook submit the following report.


The ground intended to be set apart for the Square belongs to Mr Jones and is subject along with some adjoining ground to £70 yearly the deputation state that the required ground could be had subject to £30 yearly which they conceive the lowest value of it.


The probable cost of iron work formation of square not including footpath and curbing round they estimate at £500 and they anticipate by offering it to public competition having it executed at a lesser sum, of this they are willing to contribute two-thirds.


The greatest difficulty which presents itself to the Committee is the annual rent £30 and the future maintenance which they calculate at the lowest £40 yearly making £70 yearly to be provided for. This the deputation suggest might be raised by the rent of admission keys but the Committee are of opinion that the Commissioners have not the power to contribute towards the work unless it be a place for public resort. See 135 Clause of Towns’ Improvement Act and that it should be free at least to the ratepayers of the Township. This the deputation ojected to.


The Committee feel that the formation of squares would be a great improvement to the Township and should receive prudent support from the Commissioners but from the importance of the subject and the difficulties which appear in the present case they refer it to the consideration of the Board with the above statement.


Signed John H Evans.’[vi]


The deputation who drew up this report included in its ranks at least four serving or future Commissioners – Messrs Edward Carson, Graves Holbrook, Hugh Morrison and John Holmes. With the exception of Edward Carson they all owned land and property around the square.[vii] Carson did own land in nearby Belgrave Road.[viii] More...


Belgrave Square South

[i] idem 10th Sept 1851

[ii] idem, Nov 5th 1851

[iii] High School Archive deeds of Belgrave Square held in the Erasmus Smith Archive, Danum, Zion Road, Rathgar

[iv] Rathmines Town Commissioners minutes, 21st April 1852

[v] idem May 5th 1852

[vi] Minutes of Rathmines Town Commissioners 19th May 1852

[vii] Letter and deeds in Erasmus Smith (High School) Archives

[viii] Minutes of Rathmines Town Commissioners: Letter from E.H.Carson Jan 14th 1852