This is not a picture of a parking lot it is a picture of a slice through the history of the street.
Looking at the picture what I see are two buildings in the space where the lot is. I can’t say much about the one on the left as its left little trace. The only thing is that it seems to have grown with the building behind it as the line of it extends right up the wall.
On the right I can see a two story house with a single story building behind possibly a wash house? The house and the building behind it were replaced by a single story building which extended from the back wall to the street.
The warehouse on the left when it was built surrounded the house on two sides and forms the back wall. It was originally three stories high and extended the existing stone walls with brick. This eventually didn’t have enough room so they added a couple of more floors in brick with a red sandstone facing on the street. That still was not enough room so they added another half floor to the top with the front looking the same style as the last extension.
So how did I get all that?
First the two buildings. The oldest bits of wall at the bottom are stone but the stone on the right is different and forms a distinct square. It also is built up against the other wall not mixed in with is so it has to be a different building. As mentioned above the wall above it is also a slightly different colour to the wall on the right even though they are the same wall.
The two story house is obvious from the outline on the warehouse. The wash house is more difficult as there is a trace on the back wall of a single story building with a chimney which is similar to wash houses I have seen at the back of some tenements but it looks like it extends to the right which a wash house wouldn’t. There is also a puzzle on the wall of the warehouse near it where there is a faint trace of something the same shape. L shaped buildings are not what you would expect so I am not sure about the wash house.
The later single story building is shown by the roof line on the back wall above the possible wash house and a line from the bottom of the roof line extending along the warehouse wall to the front.
There is another puzzle here at the back of the house above the level of the single story building the wall is quite dirty except in the corner where there is a clean square. Does this indicate another two story building was there at some time?
The stuff about the warehouse can be easily seen on the building. The odd thing is why they built round the existing buildings rather than knocking them down and building over the site. Presumably they couldn’t get the owners of the buildings to sell them.
Now to check to see what I got right
I found a map of the street from the end of the 19th century (below) which show a square space in exactly the place where the carpark is and it has two buildings the one on the right extending right back from the road. On the left there are two buildings which is something I had not guessed. It also shows the warehouse wrapping round the buildings. So My guess work is not to far off.
I got an even older map from 1821 (also below) which isn’t very good quality but you can still see the same square shape but with one long building across the back of it. This explains the strange wash house because the map shows a small extension out of the back going up to the boundary. This also explains the strange faint outline on the warehouse because it’s the end of the same building. The map from the end of the century indicates the left hand end of the building may have survived after the new building on the right was added.
This is why I like looking around
As you can see one small carpark has provided me with lots of interest and this is something that occurs all the time when I notice details on buildings and try to work out what they are and why they are there. It isn’t always as dramatic as this but could be something much smaller for example it could be trying to work out what something carved on a building means is often an interesting exercise.