Belgrave Square South

The commissioners do not seem to have made a decision about the square because four years later they received a letter from Hugh Morrison in which he stated: 

he had commenced building three houses on south side of Belgrave Avenue which he intended carrying out as a Square and requested the Board would permit him to have it called Belgrave Square and have it labelled accordingly    

The Secretary was insructed to suggest to Mr. Morrison to get a memorial to the Board from the owners of the property in that neighbourhood when ‘permission would be granted’.[i]

Six weeks later on 10th Sept 1856 Belgrave Square finally got official sanction. A letter was received ‘from the owners of property and houses in Belgrave Avenue requesting the designation to be changed to Belgrave Square which was agreed to.’[ii] 

It is not clear if the Commissioners ever took responsibility for Belgrave Square. When High School purchased the Square in 1897 the vendor was John Holmes. Deirdre Kelly in her book “Four Roads to Dublin” states that the Commissioners and the speculators had several disputes about paying the cost of railing the Square. Eventually railings were erected on the northern two thirds of the Square but not on the southern part, the area which was originally leased from the Earl of Meath, although Hugh Morrison was the leaseholder from the mid 1850’s.

In 1859 Holmes became the owner of the Square. A sub-lease dated 16th July from John Jones to John Holmes describes the premises as follows:-

All that and those lands of Cullenswood now known as Belgrave Square situate in Rathmines ……..bounded on the North by Castlewood Avenue on the South by ground in the possession of Hugh Morrison Esquire on the East by Belgrave Avenue and on the West by houses built by the said John Jones and John Holmes…….[iii]

1857 sees the first entry of the name Belgrave Square in Thom’s Directory. There were now nineteen houses on the east side, three on the south and four plus two building sites on the west side still called Kensington Place.[iv] Castlewood Avenue and a terrace of houses (Kensington Terrace) extended along the North side of the square.[v] However the Ordnance Survey Map 1866 (map 4) shows the square surrounded by housing on three sides. On the west side there are seven houses including the former Kensington Place houses and there are three houses at the northwest corner but facing on to Castlewood Avenue.  John Holmes’ 1896 drawing (map 6) shows houses all around the square but it is not until the 1911 Ordnance Survey map (map 5) that the Parochial Hall appears at the southeast corner.  Houses Nos 9 and 10 are marked ‘Hotel’ on this map. More...

Part 2:  Belgrave Square and High School


[i] idem. 30th July 1856

[ii] Minutes of Rathmines Town Commissioners Sept 10th 1856

[iii] Deeds of no. 42 Belgrave Square

[iv] Thom’s Directory (Dublin 1857)

[v] Thom’s Directory (Dublin 1855)

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