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Sunday 11 December 2016

First builder of Mansion House to be remembered

The Mansion House
The Mansion House
Joshua Dawson

Joshua Dawson, the man who gave his name to Dawson Street and who built Dublin's Mansion House, will be remembered at a civic event on Monday next.

Dublin City Council will mark May 18 as the 300th anniversary of the deed of sale of the Mansion House between Joshua Dawson and the then named Dublin Corporation.

Joshua's descendants will be welcomed back to the Mansion House by Lord Mayor Christy Burke.

Lady Moyola, widow of direct descendant Major James Dawson Chichester-Clark, prime minister of Northern Ireland from 1969 to 1971, and her daughter Tara Whitley, will be presented with a symbolic loaf of double refined sugar.

Joshua sold the mansion to the city fathers for €3,500, subject of a yearly rent of 40 shillings and a loaf of double refined sugar every Christmas. Although neither he nor his family ever asked for the sugar.

The original deed of sale will be on display at the Mansion House along with a portrait of Joshua Dawson (above).

Dawson purchased a tract of marshy land in 1705 to the east of Grafton Street and laid down a new street which he called after himself. He built the Mansion House on the street as his residence.

When he sold it, he agreed to build an extra room to be used for civic receptions which he wainscoted in large oak panels. To this day, it is called the Oak Room. The building has been the home of Lord Mayors for 300 years.

"It is 300 years since my direct ancestor, Joshua Dawson and family, left the Mansion House to live in Castledawson. I feel very honoured to be invited by the Lord Mayor of Dublin to return on this very special day," Tara Whitley said.

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