As It Was: Images of 145-151 Church Street, 1860 to date

This beautifully coloured image below, from Dublin City Digital Archive, shows the rear portion of the Law Library Distillery Building, 145-151 Church Street, when it really was a distillery, owned by John Jameson & Co. You can zoom in on it even more closely here.

Jameson acquired the site 145-51 Church Street in 1911 and almost immediately demolished a considerable portion of the existing buildings on the site. The Distillery was then extended onto most of the now-vacant site.

Sadly, the demolition was not without tragedy, when a Mr Henry Bambrick, engaged to keep passers-by away from the vicinity of the works, was himself killed by one of the buildings falling on him. A subsequent inquest was highly critical of the way in which the demolition works had been conducted.

The above image gives a wonderful view of New Church Street and Bow Street, and the pipe across the latter connecting the two portions of the Distillery.

The image doesn’t show the front portion of 145-151 Church Street, but you can see this area as it looked pre-Law Library below. The photograph is by William Mooney and also from the Dublin City Digital Archive. A more detailed zoom facility is available here.

That’s the Capuchin church again in the background. This is a replacement of an earlier church, demolished in 1868. A photograph of Church Street showing this earlier church, which was located much closer to the street than the current church may be seen below.

You will see above the former 145 Church Street peeking shyly into the left foreground. 145 and its neighbours were typical of the houses on Church Street, consisting of two storeys above a ground floor shop premises, often selling second-hand clothes – 19th century Church Street was not a luxury shopping area!

There are many versions of this 1860 photograph available online but by far the best, offering a minutely detailed zoom facility, is to be found here in the digital collection of the Catholic Archives. Viewing it is like going back in time! The smart young friars on the left hand side of the street could as easily be the smart young juniors of today…

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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