DERELICT WHEN PHOTOGRAPHED BACK IN MAY 2018 – UPPER CRESCENT BELFAST
The good news is that the buildings on the Upper Crescent have been restored, or are being restored, since I took this photograph 15th May 2018.
KEVIN STREET COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY HAS BEEN DEMOLISHED BUT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY HAS SURVIVED
I am trying to locate some earlier photographs of Kevin Street College as it was and I will publish them as soon as I locate them.
It should be noted that the attractive red brick building in some of my photographs is Kevin Street Public Library which officially reopened in 2018 after being closed for five years while undergoing long-needed renovations. The building itself is a modest but important one, and though not a protected structure, it has served as a public library for over 100 years. It boasts beautiful reading rooms that have been hidden from public view for many years. The interior is bright, airy, and charming with substantial natural light.
In 1963, the Minister for Education signed a contract for a new building for the College of Technology at Kevin Street. The project was completed in 1968, with Hooper & Mayne as the architects. It was described as an International Style building, with the administration and entrance block to Kevin Street capped by a wavy canopy on the fourth floor.
The Kevin Street College site was sold in April 2019 for €140 million: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/art-and-design/frank-mcdonald-what-s-not-to-like-about-dublin-s-new-kevin-st-development-quite-a-lot-1.4321803
In 2021 An Bord Pleanála granted a 10 year planning permission to Shane Whelan’s Westridge Real Estate for the development of 53,110 sq ft of office accommodation in two 11-storey blocks alongside 299 build to rent apartments across three buildings of up to 14 storeys in height. Westridge acquired the 3.57 acre site for €140 million in August 2019 and a report lodged with the plans by EY estimates that the total output that the redevelopment will generate over 10 years is €7.67 billion.
I was 15 years old when I completed my secondary education, too young to begin at Trinity College so my parents thought that it would make sense for me to undertake a pre-university course in science at Kevin Street College. Towards the end of 1965 I was offered a place on a new course due to begin in 1966 and I accepted the offer with the agreement of my parents. However, my Grandmother was furious as she could not understand why anyone would choose a Vocational Institution over Trinity College and unfortunately future events proved her right but that is a complicated story.
The four year course was known as “Telecommunications and Electronic Technicians Wholetime” [WRTT] and there is no doubt that it was an excellent education in every way. What was really sad was that most of the eighteen students on the initial course had to leave Ireland to find suitable employment. One or two went to the UK but the majority went to the USA. To this day I have never, again, met-up with any of the class.