Why rebuild No 7 Eccles Street?
Well, because it's not there?
The history of No 7 Eccles Street is one of missed opportunities, neglect and property speculation. This once grand Georgian town house declined into a multi-family tenement and Clive Hart recalls 7 families living there when he visited in the late 1950s. In 1965 the property was put up for auction by Jackson, Stops and McCabe of Dawson Street. By 1973 Nos 6, 7, 8 and 9 Eccles Street had been reduced to single-storey facades and were then put up for auction on the 7th March by T. T. L. Overend, McCarron & Gibbons, 9 Upper Mount Street. Ten years later they were still vacant plots until finally having built the Mater Private Hospital which currently occupies the site.
As a spin-off from the revision work for James Joyce's Dublin, A Topographical Guide to the Dublin of Ulysses it was decided to create a 3D computer model of the house. The 3D model of No 7 was part of a project with Stephen Paterson of Napier University, Edinburgh and Dermott McMeel then of the University of Edinburgh. The model is now being redrawn by Stephen in the light of the new discoveries detailed in the updates section below.
Detailed information on the lost No 7 is in rather short supply. While Joyce pilgrims from the 1940s onwards have left us with numerous helpful and tantalising shots of the street frontage little material appears to exist of the internal or rear aspects of the property. We are therefore keen to contact anyone who might have useful information or resources pertaining to No 7 Eccles Street either as photographs or family memories.
Below are links to two transparent Quicktime fly-bys of the house as we originally conceived it. The examples are at reduced resolution to make them suitable for transmission over the Internet. The Internal file mimics Bloom's journey over the area railings and back through the house in the Ithaca episode of Uysses
A book on the history of No 7 Eccles Street both in fact and fiction is currently in preparation and an updated computer model, incorporating the new information, will also be made available. It is hoped that the final product will have the external structure of the whole of the lower end of Eccles street with the ability to enter and explore a fully furnished No 7 and maybe even meet Molly and Leopold.
Update October 2010 - The discovery of a series of aerial photographs of Dublin taken in 1966 indicates that the semi-circular form at the rear of No 7 is actually a small single window bay. So more furniture shuffling.
Update November 2011 - A picture of Anthony Burgess staring out of Molly Bloom's back bedroom in the ruins of No 7 Eccles street in 1965 confirms what the blurry aerial photographs indicated - that No 7 has an unusual, and so far unique, one-window bay formation. There is also no indication of any cantileavered extension so any internal toilet has to be accommodated within the original building and is likely to be at the top of the stair with an added return. Examples of this feature can be found in Eccles street.
Update February 2013 - A further picture of Anthony Burgess in the rear ground back room confirms that the bedroom has a corner fireplace similar to others in the area.
Update November 2016 - An article on on-going research looking into why No. 7 Eccles street was demolished in 1967. The Demise of Ithaca