Belgrave Square West

On March 28th 1844 John Jones leased more land from James Twigg on the west side of the Square. These  lands were described as follows:

All that and those that part of the lands of Cullenswood otherwise Cullens Castle at Rathmines in the Barony of Uppercross and County of Dublin being part of the field no. 5 on the said James Twigg’s map and lying on the south of the New Road made by the said James Twigg leading from the Rathmines Road to the Half-Mile Road and ………….. more or less and meared and bounded on the North by ground in the possession of the said James Twigg and now about to be leased to the said John Jones, on the south by ground in the possession of Mr. Connor, on the East by the path leading to Milltown in continuation of the Half-Mile Road and on the West by ground in the possession of John Holmes.[i]



This ‘New Road’ was the aforementioned road which became Belgrave Square North. This lease included the northern and larger portion of Belgrave Square, approximately two-thirds of the area, as well as building sites on the west side.


Further sub-leases dated 9th April 1847 detail further transactions between John Jones and John Holmes.  A sub-lease dated the 24th day of March 1857 concerns


the piece of building ground situate in the townland of Rathmines East (township of Rathmines) bounded on the North side by houses known as Kensington Terrace, on the south by ground belonging to to the said John Jones (and which ground is intended to be formed into a square but for the laying out or formation of which Square the said John Jones is to be at no expense)………[ii]


This is the first reference to a square and considering that John Jones was the developer of the earliest houses, on the north side of the square, and was also involved in the development of the next houses, Kensington Place, on the west side of the square, it is reasonable to assume that it was intended from the outset to build the houses around a square.


We can further infer that the  developers’ intention was to have a square from the very beginning as Kensington Place on the west side, the second lot of houses to be developed, were at right angles to James Twiggs’ ‘New Road’ and the ten houses which formed Kensington Terrace. However it was not called Belgrave Square until more than ten years after the first houses were built.


A further sub-lease, dated July 16th 1859, refers to premises described as ‘all that part of the lands of Cullenswood now known as Belgrave Square 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 and ground belonging to the said John Holmes and Christopher Doyle…[iii]


Thom’s Directory refers to Kensington Place for the first time in 1849. It states ‘here Kensington Place intersects (between 1 and 2 Castlewood Terrace)’ but includes only nos 2 and 3. By 1849 nos. 1-4 Kensington Place, which were the first houses on the west side of the Square, had been built.


Griffith’s Valuation in 1850 has six entries for Kensington Place: four houses, plus one  described as land and another as building ground.  between them John Jones and John Holmes are the lessors of all six sites with the exception of no 5 whose lessor is James Twigg but whose occupier is John Jones.[iv]


John Holmes had a  wholesale hosiery, cotton and worsted yarn warehouse in William Street and had extensive property in the Rathmines area. He lived in Castlewood House and was for over thirty years one of the Rathmines Town Commissioners from its establishment in 1847[v]. In fact with the exception of John Jones every person mentioned in the above transactions served as a Rathmines Town Commissioner at one time or another. Most of the landowners in Belgrave Square – Graves Holbrook, the owner of the land on the east and south sides, Hugh Morrison who developed it, John Holmes, builder and eventual owner of the actual square and other land to the west, were all at one time members of the Rathmines Town Commission. Several Commissioners resided in Belgrave Square over the years. [vi]


Development continued apace in the Belgrave Square area as is evidenced by various issues put before the Board including, on 14th June 1848, a Report on the footpath leading from Mount Pleasant Avenue to Milltown. The owners of the ground adoining the old footpath leading towards the Church fields to Milltown were Mr Jones and Mrs Connor on the one side and Captain Hilton on the opposite. Capt Hilton was willing to bear a fair proportion of the expense of putting the footpath in order.[vii] In Sept 1848 there was a letter from Mr. James Bell requesting that a sewer be made for the benefit of the houses at Kensington Place.[viii] Mr James Bell was the occupier of  2, Kensington Place.[ix] The request was not granted at that time due to the expense involved of about £400.[x] More...

Belgrave Square East

[i] Deeds of no. 42 Belgrave Square, held by the owner, Mr. R. O’Neill

[ii] idem

[iii] Taken from Deeds owned by Mr Glenn of 45, Belgrave Square.

[iv] Griffith’s Valuation 1850, Barony of Uppercross, Parish of St. Peter, Townland of Rathmines East,  Castlewood Avenue south side

[v]Pettigrew and Oulton, Almanack Registry and Directory (Dublin, 1846)

[vi] Thom’s Directory  (Dublin, various years)

[vii] Minutes of Rathmines Town Commissioners June 14th  

[viii] Minutes Rathmines Town Commissioners Sept 27th 1848

[ix] Griffith’s Valuation

[x] Minutes Rathmines Town Commissioners 28th Sept 1848