(Article Source: www.braytowncentre.com)

The status of Little Bray during the l7 century is a little obscure. A grant of lands in the town of Little Bray in 1636 mentioned the castle, six houses and gardens, orchards, the commons and fishing in the Dargle. In 1654 the earl of Meath was one of three proprietors, the other two being Irish Papists; the earls of Meath were to continue to hold a number of parcels of land into the 19th century, including part of the present Bray Golf Links and another which partially occupied the adjacent Industrial Yarns complex.

In the early 1gth century Little Bray, while remaining almost entirely occupied by working classes, expanded and acquired its ‘planned’ area. In the 1850’s, Castle Street, Back Street, Dublin Road and Upper Dargle Road were already lined with small houses and cabins of tradesmen and labourers, sheltering a population close to half that of Great Bray in a proportionately smaller area. Little Bray was, at this time, actually located in County Dublin, with the River Dargle acting as the county boundary. Little Bray was incorporated into Bray Township in 1866 but continued to remain part of the Dublin Parliamentary Constituency (South Dublin after 1895) until the present county boundaries were changed in 1899 (Clare, 1998, 30).

The opening of the railway line from Dublin to Bray on 10th July 1854 was seen at the time as a momentous event. Work on the Bray Head portion of the line was undertaken in 1837-8, but it was not until after 1850 that various difficulties, financial and otherwise, were overcome, and work commenced in earnest. The construction of the railway line close to the coast, necessitated the building of a bridge over the River Dargle (C. 1854) and the creation of a 130m long embankment to the south of the river. In addition, lands on the seaward side of the rail route were reclaimed and a new dock was constructed for the small ships new excluded from the river.

Following the construction of the present Bray Bridge in 1855-6, the southern area of the subject lands (Bray Commons), then known as Lower Commons, was enclosed (1860) following the adoption of the Bray Commons Enclosure Act, 1859. The lands were then sold for £1,550.00 and were added to the property of Ravenswell House. At the same time the river walls to the south of the site were constructed, following which the present Ravenswell Road was laid out (1861). In addition, a pedestrian bridge was constructed on the landward side of the railway bridge over the river, linking Ravenswell Road to the southern bank of the river, and thence to Seapoint Road by means of a pathway. The bridge, which was constructed in wood, was described as being in a dangerous condition by 1866 and it was closed in 1870, after which it was demolished. The present Golf Links was established in 1897 and a pavilion constructed in the following year.

From the late 19th century to the 1940’s, the lands to the immediate north of Ravenswell Convent served as a sand quarry. The sand quarry was operated by the Thompson family and a considerable amount of land reclamation was undertaken before construction commenced on the existing buildings on the site (Flynn, 2004a, 89). Many of the present buildings were constructed during the 1950s by Industrial Yards and served as a textile factory which, at maximum capacity, employed more than two hundred people (Flynn, 2003, 109). However, with a worldwide slump in demand for nylon products, Industrial Yarns experienced serious trading difficulties from the mid- 1970’s and the work force was dramatically reduced before being eventually forced to cease operations. The premises presently serve as individual units for a variety of businesses.