Sunday, 7 September 2014

Grangegorman: a bit of a timeline

Grangegorman on Dublin's northside is rich in history from pre-Viking times onwards. By the start of the 17th century, along with Stoneybatter the area was still a remote village, separate from the city.

Before that it had functioned as a home farm and orchard for the priories, with its manor in Stoneybatter (hence Manor Street).

The following timeline concentrates on Grangegorman's rapid transformation from the 19th century onwards, as the agricultural hamlet was turned into an urban district dominated by prisons and welfare and psychiatric institutions - and much more recently became a campus for Dublin Institute of Technology.

1773 – The House of Industry, Channel Row (now North Brunswick Street and since demolished).

1806 – The Bedford Asylum for Industrious Children (North Brunswick Street, demolished).

1810 – The Richmond Lunatic Asylum. Built as a large quadrangle, only its southern range still stands today.

The Clock Tower in Grangegorman1814Richmond General Penitentiary.  The prison was established as an alternative to transportation. Over time it became part of the asylum. Only the front range and central spine remain today - if you're coming up the Grangegorman Road Lower from Brunswick Street, this is the massive building on the right with the distinctive clock tower. It will be part of the new DIT campus but the renovation of this side of the campus is in a later phase.

1850 – The Hardwicke Fever Hospital. Even by the beginning of the 20th century Dublin's death rate was as bad as Calcutta's.

1854 – The District Asylum (North House).

1896 – The patient population reaches 2,375. Throughout the 19th century the site evolves and grows into a large regional mental hospital on some 30 hectares. Additional buildings stretch to the west of the original establishment.

1921 – Grangegorman District Mental Hospital established.

1958 – St. Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital established.

1965 –  Patient population is now down to 1,628. The following year Ivor Browne becomes the Medical Superintendent at St Brendan's and introduces what is generally agreed to be a far more enlightened treatment regime.

2005 – A steady reduction to fewer than 100 patients.

2013 - St Brendan’s has fewer than 60 patients and closes that May. The remaining patients and staff are moved to the new Phoenix Care Centre, which opens that March on the North Circular Road.

Tenders are sought for a scheme to build two quads to accommodate 15 of the Dublin Institute of Technology's existing teaching schools on its new consolidated campus at Grangegorman.

2014 - DIT officially begins to move in to the new campus: the first departments to arrive for the start of the new academic year on 8 September (art, design, photography and social science) have 1,200 students and 200 staff.

2017 - This is when the two new quads are scheduled to be completed, to coincide with the completion of the new cross-city Luas tramline, which will stop at the campus's Broadstone entrance.

By then some 10,000 students from DIT's constituent colleges will have moved to the campus. Then DIT's buildings on Denmark Street, Mount Street and Bride Street will be put up for sale, followed by Kevin Street and Cathal Brugha Street.

2020 - The second phase of the campus is due to be completed by the end of this decade, when the remaining 10,000 students will move to Grangegorman. DIT will then be able to sell its flagship property on Aungier Street.