Opening-up works have begun at 18 Ormond Quay in advance of major structural works starting in July. This allows for the structural condition of elements such as floor joists, plaster ceilings and the roof structure to be assessed and to help inform the structural design strategy for the building.
Removal of the 1970s floor covering to the ground floor shop has revealed substantially rotten floorboards which had ‘sweated’ and decayed over decades underneath impermeable floor tiles and concrete screed. The floor joists underneath are mostly in good condition and can be splice-repaired with new timbers where their ends have rotted.
Removing the floor boards gives a better view of the different types of joists used in the building. The joists to the front portion of the shop are strong and substantial, and probably date to the early 1840s remodelling of the building, designed to accommodate Graham & Berry, wine, tea and spirit merchants who opened their new shop here in 1843. The much slighter joists surviving to the back of the shop may be recycled timbers from the 18th century or may be more economical 1840s timbers, designed for a lighter ‘back office’ loading to the main shop at the front.
Modern ‘beauty board' has also been removed to reveal the substantial pair of chimneystacks that rise up through the building. The rear stack still retains its fireplace opening, suggesting the rear room may originally have been attendant to the main shop. The front room features a typically Dublin retail feature – an incised archway. These arches were often installed from the early 19th-century onwards in place of former fireplaces, providing additional display area behind the customer counter. They were commonly shelved and fitted with glass doors.
The next stage will be to structurally consolidate the exterior side wall of the shop that is bowing into the adjoining lane at Arran Street East.
More to follow....