BINDON STREET Ennis, Co. Clare

Published in Gems of Architecture, Issue 1 (January/February 2016), Volume 24

By Lucille Ellis

Bindon Street, east side, built in 1832.

Ennis in the early nineteenth century was characterised by crooked, narrow streets flanked by buildings of post-medieval and eighteenth-century origin. One of the first formal streets developed when in c. 1823 William Greene (d. 1842), a local attorney, built a sizeable house of rough-cut limestone on land owned by Bindon Blood (1775–1855) just off Mill Road. The house has a symmetrical frontage with a restrained door-case as its centrepiece. The Classically proportioned windows are simply dressed with tooled cut-limestone block-and-start surrounds. To the north side, accessed from basement level, was an enclosed yard with stables, coach-house and out-offices. Also extending from basement level, running under what would become Bindon Street, is a large coal store. In fact, all of the houses in the street have vaulted coal stores, and in 1941 it was suggested that they could be requisitioned as air-raid shelters in the event of a German attack.

Almost ten years later more houses appeared in Bindon Street. Charles Harvey Bagot (1778–1880), land agent for Bindon Blood, could not find a suitable house for his family and opted to build one for himself. He persuaded the county treasurer and a local magistrate to join in erecting four identical houses, on the opposite side from Greene’s house. Built in Georgian style, the houses, currently numbered 3–6 Bindon Street, are two bays wide and have frontages of four storeys over open basements; they display red brick, possibly of local manufacture, in their construction, and show Classical door-cases with pretty fanlights at street level. No. 3 Bindon Street has a plaque giving 1832 as the construction date. It, and its immediate neighbour, was rendered in the twentieth century and the windows decorated with simple Tudor-like hood mouldings. Nos 5 and 6 retain the original red brick Flemish bond finish.

Within ten years Bindon Blood, who had been living in Edinburgh, built another house adjoining No. 3. This was larger than its neighbours, and the under-street tunnels extended across to what had been Greene’s yard but was now a garden. Blood died in 1855 and his widow Maria converted the house into two separate dwellings, and possibly extended what ultimately became No. 1 Bindon Street. The bay window and pedimented door-case are clearly later additions. In 1836 the west side of Bindon Street was developed with finance from a tontine, or subscribers’ annuity. Five identical houses were proposed and twenty shares, valued at £100 each, were issued. Seventeen men took up the challenge, three taking two shares. As proposed, the five houses were identical in appearance and, although smaller in scale than their opposing neighbours, share qualities in common with the earlier ones. The houses, 7–11 Bindon Street, are two bays wide and three storeys high over open basements; finished with red brick laid in a Flemish bond pattern, they have fanlit Classical door-cases at street level and conceal their roofs behind parapets.

Two further developments completed Bindon Street as we know it today. The Provincial Bank opened a purpose-built branch in 1864, and St Columba’s Church was built between 1869 and 1871 on a site donated by the Bloods at the southern end of the street.

Lucille Ellis’s Bindon Street and Bank Place was published by Clare Roots Society, Series based on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage’s ‘building of the month’,


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