Lizzie Arnold at No 40 Lower Cumberland Street and elsewhere

Lizzie Arnold is not mentioned by name in Ulysses – nor in Gogarty – but her presence pervades the red-light district of Lower Mecklenburgh Street, and in the background she helps to hold together the network of brothels.

We have already encountered her in Mrs Mack at No 85, where she was involved in property deals with Annie McEachern (Annie Mack). We need to take a careful look at her relationship with the Madams of the area generally in order to obtain an impression of her influence and importance to the economy of the district. We encounter her mainly in the role of a landlady and successful property owner. She has not left a mark as a Madam, though there are suggestions that she may have participated in the trade.

The life and times of Lizzie Arnold

Lizzie Arnold was born Eliza McCarthy, and we meet her first on 25 April 1883, when she marries Leamington Arnold, a Private in the 18th Royal Irish regiment stationed at the Military Barracks at Clonmel, Tipperary. The marriage took place in the Church of Ireland parish church in St Thomas’s, Dublin. At the time Eliza was living at 8 Moore Row a short side road “off Mecklenburgh St[reet], Dublin”. Leamington came from a medical (veterinarian) family in Suffolk, England.The accompanying diagram shows how Thom’s Directory (yellow), deeds and other legal documents (brown), and the Irish national census register owners/occupants of No 40 Lower North Cumberland Street. We have already met this address in the context of Annie Mack, whom Thom’s places there from 1888 until 1892. In 1885 Lizzie Arnold witnessed a deed drawn out between Annie McEachern (Annie Mack) and Ada Weatherup (the daughter-in-law of William Weatherup, John Joyce’s fellow rate-collector), passing ownership of No 40 to Ada Weatherup. Lizzie Arnold’s address is given as No 111 Lower Mecklenburgh Street. Sadly, AdaWeatherup died at the age of 29 in 1887 and Annie McEachern (Annie Mack) – as Ada’s executor – sold No 40 to Eliza Arnold in 1890. Annie McEachern seems to have moved back to Scotland by this time. The Arnolds take up residence at No 40 Lower North Cumberland Street and Thom’s lists the same ownership until 1905, when it reverts to nameless “Tenements”.

During this period (1890-1905) two significant events occur. Firstly, Leamington Arnold – by now a “bar proprietor” – dies in February 1896.1 Prior to that Thom’s falters by listing him at this address in 1894 as “Mr. L. Arnott”, instead of his usual listing as “Mr. L. Arnold”. This is a remarkable mistake – if indeed it is a mistake. “Arnott” is a by-form of “Arnold”, and it was of course one of Margaret Noble’s married names (see Mrs Arnott at No 83). The spectre seems to be raised that there is some relationship between the Nobles and the Arnolds known to the Thom’s compilers. This suggestion is reinforced by a handwritten note in a version of Thom’s Directory for 1894, where the correction “X Maggie Arnott” (rather than the correct “Arnold, Mr. L.”) appears to be suggested for the printed (and erroneous) “Arnott, Mr. L.”:2

We might take the view that Eliza Arnold née McCarthy and Margaret Arnott née Higgins are related through their respective husbands Leamington Arnold and John Arnott, though this has not yet been proved.

Lizzie Arnold continues at No 40 Lower North Cumberland Street until at least 1904. In 1905 Thom’s Directory simply lists the address as “Tenements”.

Lizzie Arnold in Lower Mecklenburgh Street

Lizzie Arnold developed a portfolio of properties in the district. We saw that in 1890 she bought No 40 Lower North Cumberland Street from Annie McEachern (Annie Mack). At about the same time, perhaps with money from her husband, she makes three further purchases from Annie McEachern, who appears to be divesting herself of her Dublin investments prior to her return to Scotland.3 This deal involved a twenty-one year lease by Lizzie Arnold – for which she paid Annie McEachern £1,000 – for Nos 23 and 24 Lower Mecklenburgh Street and No 85 Lower Mecklenburgh Street. She also has an interest in Nos 30 and 31 Lower Mecklenburgh Street.

The tell-tale occupancy of Nos 23 and 24 Lower Mecklenburgh Street at the time of the 1901 Ireland census clearly suggests that these were “disorderly houses”, and No 85 is the address from which Mrs Mack operated. We have already seen that the Thom’s listing of “Eliza Mack” for No 85 in the 1901 census suggests that the head occupant is in fact Eliza (“Lizzie”) Arnold.

Lizzie Arnold in turn divested herself of these properties in 1904/5, at the same time that Maggie Arnott’s business closed. In 1904 she had moved out to Whitworth Road in Drumcondra, northern Dublin and disposed of Nos 23 and 24 Lower Mecklenburgh Street.4 In the following year she transferred Nos 85 Lower Mecklenburgh Street (and also 86, which she also owned) to Charles Meehan, contractor. Mrs Meehan became one of the next generation of Madams, operating principally out of these houses.

When Eliza Arnold died in late 1915 she left a substantial portfolio of property and a significant trace on the life of the occupants of Lower Mecklenburgh Street at the time that Joyce and his father were familiar with the place. The Trustee’s Sale after her death saw the following properties in Dublin sold: Nos. 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 27, 38, 40, 42, 44 Arnott Street, in the south of the City (ground rents); business premises at Nos. 46 and 46a Arnott Street; a two-storey private house at No. 35 Whitworth Road, Drumcondra; and both Nos. 40 and 41 Whitworth Road, Drumcondra.

By making the best of her investments, and removing herself from the Mecklenburgh district when business came under threat from the restrictions imposed by legislation and local clean-up schemes, Lizzie Arnold seems to have profited handsomely from her activities and in addition been able to stay living in the city of Dublin when so many of her colleagues retired abroad or elsewhere in Ireland.

John Simpson

This is the fourth of six related articles: Continued at:

5) Bella Cohen at No 82 (not 81)

6) Summing up the Madams

Previous articles in the series:

1) The Madams of Nighttown

2) Mrs Mack at No 85

3) Mrs Arnott at No 83


1 Leamington Arnold’s memorial has recently been renovated by Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin: see image. The suggestion that he was a “Professor”, found in R. J. O’Duffy’s Historic Graves in Glasnevin Cemetery (Dublin, 1915 – p. v. and 51) is incorrect and confuses Leamington Arnold with Professor Thomas Arnold, a Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland.

2 See the version published by Archive CD Books Ireland (

3 Dublin Registry of Deeds: Dublin City 1889-27-153.

4 Dublin Registry of Deeds: Dublin City 1904-54-195.

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