Through the builder's lens

Dublin's evolving streetscapes

Ruth McManus

Hardback €45.00
Catalogue Price: €50.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-652-8
October 2024. 320pp; large format, ills.

Many people have helped create Dublin’s unique streetscapes. This book looks at the builders and their projects and draws on the extraordinarily rich photographic archive of one of Dublin’s foremost construction companies, G. & T. Crampton, as it explores the evolution of the capital from the Edwardian period to the late 1980s. These images show the changing approaches and fashions as the projects reflected a growing capital city during the twentieth century. The transformation of the city is considered, not just in terms of fine public buildings and impressive commercial premises, but also through many everyday structures providing for the housing, employment, education, entertainment and shopping needs of its citizens. Dublin changed greatly during the twentieth century. The city spread far beyond its old boundaries as suburban housing for all income groups was built, and the locations of industry and commerce also shifted in response. Naturally, the building industry responded to these changing circumstances, as revealed by these images, from the emphasis on quality housing for workers in the 1920s at Marino and Drumcondra, to the hospitals built using money from the Sweepstakes, or the modern office buildings of the 1960s. In photos taken during construction or shortly after its completion, we see the pristine buildings as they were imagined by their architects. Each chapter includes an overview of key trends and issues, as well as maps, photographs and explanations of individual building projects which serve to illustrate the discussion and demonstrate how the streetscape evolved through time.

Ruth McManus is senior lecturer in geography at DCU and the author of Dublin 1910–1940: shaping the city and suburbs (Dublin, 2002) and Crampton Built (Dublin, 2008), co-editor of Leaders of the city: Dublin’s first citizens 1500–1950 (Dublin, 2013), and joint series editor of The Making of Dublin City series.