Truth by James Gandon


In October 2012 I put in a question to the City Manager in relation to a statue by James Gandon that had been knocked over by a Film Unit truck in Kings Inn, Dublin.  The statue, known as Truth (or ‘Henrietta’ locally) was left in the car park for over a year without protection except a bit of sacking.  In April 2013, again after many concerned locals asked about the protection of the statue, I again raised the issue with the City Council.  This statue formed part of the Four Courts prior to the Civil war.  After the shelling of the Four Courts there was not a scratch on this sculpture.  It was removed to the Kings Inns for safe keeping and good custody where it was more or less destroyed by wrecklessness and lack of due care.  Not only from the driver of the truck (who reversed into her) but from all of those who are charged with its safe keeping.  If those who are charged with the protection of our heritage fail at this level, God only knows what the future holds.

Henrietta Street is almost now an extension of a Film studios.  The impact of these trucks on this delicate area and the residents who live there needs to be addressed and we need far more transparency and accountability as to what is exactly happening to this sculpture (Truth) which was recently removed for supposed repairs.  Also, a date when it will be returned to its rightful place.

We certainly don’t want the kind of vandalism thats been shown by their most recent installation and its new unsightly plinth.

kings inn

Reinstalled Sculptures at Kings Inn with ‘out of place’ plinth.

 

 

October 2012  Questions to the City Manager:

Can the City Manager issue a report with regard to damage caused to a protected structure, an 18th century statue, at the Kings Inn in Henrietta Street Dublin on 4/5th April, 2012.  This damage would appear to have been caused while filming was taking place in this locality which is a heritage site and a protected structure.  It would appear a film truck backed into the plinth, toppling the statue to the ground. This protected heritage item has been removed and its whereabouts is unknown. The use of dwellings and listed buildings on Henrietta St has led to a careless disregard for these masterpieces of 18th century architecture.  Not withstanding the enormous disruption and inconvenience caused to residents by the constant use of this area as a film location, both day and night.  It would appear that no permission for change of use from dwelling to studio was sought by the owners of these properties.  It is the responsibility of the City Council to protect these structures and insist on compliance with the principles of care for listed buildings.

April 2013 Questions to the City Manager:

Question to City ManagerCity Council Meeting 04/02/2013

Q72.COUNCILLOR MANNIX FLYNN

Can the City Manager supply an updated report on what action has been taken in relation to the damaged ‘Gandon’ Statue at Henrietta St/Kings Inn which was damaged recently by being knocked over by a truck that was associated with the film unit engaged in filming in this location. This report to include assessment of damage to the statue, proposed repair works, who is liable and responsible for the damage and the cost of repair and who will pay. Also what steps have been taken to manage traffic and vehicle transport in this location with regards to filming and what safety measures have been initiated in order to protect similar objects and the protected structures.

 

CITY MANAGERS REPLY

“Truth” commonly known as Henrietta, was accidentally knocked off her pedestal in April 2012 by a film truck.  Immediately advice was sought from the Society’s Architect, stone and monumental sculpture conservators and from two well respected Architectural Historians (one gave advice on the author of the sculpture (believed not to be any person of significance)), the second gave advice on reinstatement, location, and possible alternative solutions.  All the fragments of Henrietta, including her head have been removed to a safe storage place in King’s Inns.  The three main pieces have been moved to temporary safety and will be stored in a properly protected storage area within the King’s Inns building as soon as the budget will allow for the hire of a crane.  To date, King’s Inns (a private unincorporated association of members) has incurred all the costs involved in the professional advices received.  King’s Inns has a working party in place to oversee the replacement / reinstatement of the statue as soon as is feasible.

 

Following the accident (involving a film truck), the King’s Inns Health and Safety Adviser was asked to work on a plan for the occasional use of the grounds by delivery trucks, by film trucks (mainly static once they park in an assigned place) and other vehicular traffic.  Advices are awaited.  The cost of this advice will be borne in its entirety by King’s Inns.

 

 

The Oldest Shop in Dublin, 4 Parliament Street

sword wall

This building was sold over a year ago.  Prior to that it had been closed to the public for almost 10 years.  When I lived over Thomas Reads I kept my eye on the building and the flooding that was taking place at the back of the premises.  A lot of work was done to divert the water into Crane lane and I have been into this premises ‘The Cutlers’ on many occasions over the past few years, making sure the cabinets and interiors were still on the premises and not getting damaged. Those artifacts should be immediately handed over to the care of the relevant conservationists for safe keeping.

They include the historical ledgers, silverware and some beautiful cabinets.  There were many attempts by local individuals to acquire this premises from the agents and receivers but to no avail. I personally tried to get Dublin City Council to acquire the premises with the help of the conservation section of DCC.  I felt that this building gave an enormous cultural credibility to the Temple Bar area not to forget that it was on this roof and adjoining roof of 3 Parliament St,  that one of the first teenagers was shot and killed in the 1916 rebellion.  Joe Duffy has written extensively and expertly on this matter.

Indeed the new owner of Thomas Reads public house itself and the Oak Bar, I believe, would be very interested in restoring this premises and also that would keep it open to the public.  The premises extends right into Crane Lane and it is a must see even in its present dilapidated state.  The Cutlers themselves supplied many a sword to the Dublin gentry as well as the English gentry who visited.  They could even be regarded as an armourer.  Indeed the whole street Parliament Street is an ideal street along with Capel Street for  a total upgrade and a bit of nurture.  To get the picture one needs to view these streets from the windows of the City Hall Chambers where you can get the view of the upper architectural features and streetscape with a spectacular view as far down as Bolton Street.

Its grand and easy to wax lyrically about Merrion Square, Mountjoy Square but the likes of Parliament Street and Capel Street could crumble to dust if we don’t start caring as citizens about our built environment. What is an enormous disgrace here is that this dilapidation happened right beside City Hall and I have raised the issue time and time again.  I got so concerned that I brought the conservation officers from DCC into the building early last year and got them to document every single item and fabric of the building.  They assured me that the building itself was a protected structure. (ref. 6322). I raised concerns before Christmas and I raised concerns over two months ago when I noticed that the front door could be pushed open and was not secured.

I really believe that this building should have been brought into the family of buildings under the charge of DCC but I have to ask what about the other buildings that DCC own that are as equally important that the city council have had for over 20 years that are in an appalling state? Henrietta Street is just one example.

The only solution is to be proactive and it is probably time for a new association or a new organisation along the lines of An Taisce, The Georgian Society and the Civic Trust thats 21st century to deal not just with the conservation and built heritage issues in Dublin but the issues throughout the country.

We need to get much more energized, politicized if we are to be effective.  We have to bring these buildings back into living use.  Everyday use.  For everyone. Buildings for the public to enjoy.

Here is DCC Conservation Officer reply to the present concerns regarding this building.

This building is included on the City Council’s Register of Protected Structures (ref. 6322). Under the provisions of Part IV of the Planning and Development Acts 2000 – 2013, responsibility for its maintenance and freedom from endangerment lies with the owner.

Two exemption certificates were granted for stated repair and maintenance works to the property, 4 Parliament Street   in October 2012, Reg reference 0140/12  was for  specified  works for  repair and maintenance works to the roof including repair to  rain water goods .This  work has  taken place. Prior to this , the owner had been actively working with the City Council and the Dept of AHG on a programme of works to progress the   opening of  the building as a shop with a residence overhead.

The weathering of the horizontal beam over the fascia signage needs to be attended to as a matter of urgency, and this has been  conveyed to the owner’s architect.

It should be noted that there are ongoing negotiations  taking place between the owner and the adjoining public house “Thomas Reads” .This relates to the  issue of  rainwater spilling from that premises into a void area of  number 4 Parliament Street.   This is a civil matter between the two owners .

Number 4 Parliament Street is currently unoccupied and a full internal and external inspection is being arranged with the owner. Any works required for the safety of the Building will be brought to the owner’s attention and  enforcement proceedings will be initiated if necessary.

 http://www.olddublintown.com/thomas-reads-1670.html

https://www.storehouse.co/stories/c8dv-selling-off-the-silverware