The Street listings included in Thom’s Dublin Directory can provide interesting details about the area your ancestors lived, for example neighbours, the types of businesses present on the same street, prominent buildings and Churches nearby, and may help narrow down exactly which part of a street a particular family or business was located.
It should be noted that not all streets are included in these listings, e.g. minor lanes and some small side streets are not included, but some character of an area can still be established from details of nearby streets.
Street numbers were in use in the City for most streets during the 1800s, and in many cases the sequences used on each remained much the same up to modern times. Some streets were renumbered, especially during major redevelopment, and a number of streets were renamed, many in the early years of the 20th Century.
The 1848 Street listing for York Street is included as an example below.
The heading section of each Street listed includes key details – see extract below of the details for York Street.
The street is shown as running ‘From Aungier Street to Stephen’s Green W.‘, and this indicates the direction in which the numbers initially run. In this case, as in many other streets, the numbers run down one side of the street with number 1 to 32, to the end at Stephen’s Green West and continue the sequence from 33 to 58 returning back to Aungier Street on the other side. The heading also shows that all of the street is in St. Peter’s Civil parish, and numbers 1 to 16 and 46 to 58 in Castle Electoral Ward, and numbers 17 to 45 in St. Stephen’s Ward. The street is covered by B. Police Division.
The street is shown on maps of the time (see below) and based on the listing we can say that the initial numbers ran west to east. There are several clues to help determine which side the street each set of numbers were located, the first is using junctions of the main side streets, highlighted in green in the street listing above. In this case the junctions listed on the first side are shown as French St. between numbers 16 & 17, and Proud’s Lane between 31 & 32, and Mercer Street between number 45 and 46 on the other.
The city maps do not always label smaller streets, but in this instance the Thom’s 1848 Dublin City map includes French Street to the south and Mercer Street to the north in addition to Stephen’s Green and Aungier Street at each end of York Street, so numbers 1 to 32 ran along the south side of the street going west to east, and 33 to 58 ran east west along the north side.
Using the example of the baptism of Samuel Lenox Logan from the IrishGenealogy website baptised in St. Peter’s Church of Ireland Parish on the 21st February 1846, with his parents address recorded as 48 York Street, we can show the family lived on the north side of York Street, and two buildings to the west of the junction with Mercer Street.
The later 1885 Thom’s Map (see extract below) shows Mercer St. Upper instead of French street, and the street listing for the same year shows Mercer Street Lower (the section nearer the city centre) as running from Stephen’s Street to York Street. Mercer Street Upper is shown as running from York Street to Cuffe Street, so the street previously shown as French Street.
The street listings include many prominent buildings which may also be shown on maps, and these can also help determine which side of the street each section of numbers are used. For example the map above shows the Gaiety Theatre on the north side of King Street South, and the street listing for that year includes the Theatre at numbers 48 & 49 (highlighted in red in extract below), showing that numbers 30 to 34, and 35 to 56 are on the north side of the street.
The listing for King Street South also shows a shared corner building – with Mrs. Nugent at no. 1 King Street South also having a Stephen’s Green West address, which is also included as no. 141 in Stephen’s Green West street listing.
In the case where a street name includes a North or South, e.g. King Street, this usually indicates that there is more than one street of that name in the city, one either side of the River Liffey.