Building History - Merriman Project
Merriman Research, in conjunction with Bridgewater House has completed a house history project on 89 George’s Street (modern day 89 O’Connell Street). Their joint project, ‘Past is Experience, Present is Action, Future is Planning’ was initiated with the aim of linking the history of the house with its present use and future growth plans.
Through an exploration of the past, Merriman Research and Bridgewater House have discovered that 89 George’s Street has been a place of business, industry and professional services for over two centuries.
Drawing parallels with the past, Bridgewater House is now home to a number of companies and acts as a hub of innovation for future business endeavours. Maintaining tradition, Bridgewater House brings history to life in the present.
The project has six parts, each section allowing present generations to further understand the identity of 89 George’s Street; its importance in the past and its role in Limerick’s future. To achieve their aims, Merriman Research and Bridgewater House have split their project into the following five titles:
Construction and Design
The first section of this project explores the construction and design of 89 George’s Street, introducing us to the origin of the house; when it was built, why it was built and who it was built by. It is vital to understand the time in which the house was built, as the period of construction influences every aspect of this building, including the materials that were used to create the house and the style that the house was modelled after. Indeed, an understanding as to the reason it was built is also important, as this may influence the way a house is constructed; with cheap, simple materials or grand, expensive resources.
The Construction and Design section of the project helps to contextualise the house, acknowledging its purpose in Limerick’s history. It also outlines the design of the house; the traditional Georgian features, the detail incorporated into its structure and the things that make the house unique. To help us understand, Construction and Design is split into three titles:
Med-Tech explores the history of medicine in nineteenth century Ireland. Limerick was a centre of medical experimentation and discovery, allowing doctors to study their craft and invent new, revolutionary methods of treatment. Nineteenth century medical innovation lead to the discovery of anaesthetics, and new drugs and powders. Bloodletting and leeches were believed to cleanse the blood. With the outbreak of cholera in 1832, Limerick doctors worked towards a cure, discovering new methods of disease control in the process.
In the early nineteenth century, electricity was believed to be the origin of life, and many doctors experimented with it to find new cures and perhaps, the spark of creation. Dr Gore, a resident of 89 George’s Street did his own electrical experimentation, finding ways to use Galvanic electricity to cure patients. Dissection and corpse-robbing were common practices, used to help eager students learn about anatomy. This overview outlines Limerick’s involvement in the evolution of medicine, and local doctors that became pioneers in their profession. Consequently, Med-Tech is split into the following four titles:
- Medical Innovation
- Disease Control
- Electrical Experimentation
- Dissection and Anatomy
The Internationalisation poster investigates the role of 89 George’s Street in a world context. While the house has been involved in local Limerick issues, local Limerick businesses and local Limerick families since the early nineteenth century, it has also played its part on an international stage. 89 George’s Street and its residents have been involved in international epidemics, foreign wars and overseas institutions for over two centuries.
Here, the fascinating life and achievements of Albert Augustus Gore, a descendant of 89 George’s Street are revealed. Gore lived and worked as a surgeon-colonel in Ireland, England, France and India. Furthermore, this poster discusses the history of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh and the house’s connection with the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin. The Royal College trained surgeons like Dr James Tandy Wilkinson (a resident of 89 George’s Street) to participate in the Napoleonic wars and to practice medicine all over the world. Internationalisation is split into the following three titles:
- A Descendant of 89 George’s Street
- The Royal College of Surgeons
- International Industries
Professional Services This poster outlines the relationship between 89 O’Connell Street (as it was called by the twentieth century, and is still called today) and professional services in the past. Over the years, the building has been home to legal, financial and Union services.
In the beginning of the twentieth century, the house was home to a solicitor named Stephen Hastings. With Hastings as a resident, 89 O’Connell Street became a centre of justice and controversy. At the same time, the office and ground floor of 89 O’Connell Street was leased to a stock and share broker named Joseph Purcell. With Purcell as a resident, the house became a hub of finance and commerce. By the mid-twentieth century, 89 O’Connell Street was the headquarters of the Irish Union of Distributive Workers and Clerks. With the Union in residence at 89 O’Connell Street, the house became a meeting space where members gathered and discussed professional matters.
The Professional Services section examines how 89 O’Connell Street accommodated a variety of professional services. It is split into the following three headings:
- Union Services
Today, Bridgewater House is home to Bridgewater, a management consultancy group that prides itself on leading business development into the future. It does so by facilitating innovation, growth, skills, finance and measurement.
Bridgewater is also part of a larger international consulting group Averian Global. Bridgewater House acts as the headquarters for Bridgewater, but also as the Irish base for Averian Global.
Here, you gain an insight into the evolution of 89 George’s Street in a modern context. Consequently, this section is split into three titles, helping to explore all aspects of the organisation:
- Averian Investments
- Averian Global
In conclusion, the project, ‘Past is Experience, Present is Action, Future is Planning’ has journeyed through the past, helping us and future generations to appreciate the history, genealogy and identity of 89 George’s Street.
It has outlined the purpose of the house in a historical context, its construction and design, the building’s part in past medical innovation, its role on an international stage and the house’s rich history of professional services.
Now a thriving centre of business, this study of 89 George’s Street’s past has drawn parallels with the present, and will hopefully guide us towards the future. Bridgewater House is a leading figure in business development, destined to make its own mark on the history of 89 George’s Street. A perfect fusion of past architectural ambition and modern innovation, present-day 89 O’Connell Street has stood against the test of time to serve the past, present and future. Merriman Research, Bridgewater House