Posts Tagged ‘1930s Ireland’

When I first saw these 1931 photographs, I was immediately reminded of Arthur Penn’s film Bonnie and Clyde which tells the story of the infamous armed robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Snapshots found by police at the couple’s abandoned hideout in 1934 helped to spread their notoriety and are referenced within the film.There aren’t any guns visible in these images of a day trip to the seaside town of Ballycotton, County Cork, however, the 1930s styles are very similar to those worn by Bonnie and Clyde!

I particularly like the lady’s beret, tweed coat, sheer tights and clutch bag. Her companion wears his suit and Fedora hat with great swagger and charm. These hats were often worn tipped down over one eye at a rakish angle and were favored by American gangsters. Suits with double-breasted jackets and wide trouser legs were very fashionable in the early 1930s.

The Irish snapshots were taken on the 12th of July 1931 and were safely put into a Kodak wallet complete with negatives. The Kodak girl is, as ever, sporting the latest styles and her bobbed hair and white collar are not disimilar to the Ballycotton woman’s.

The promotional wallet mentions an amateur photographic competition with prizes awarded to photographs taken between the 1st of May and the 31st of August 1931.  I have featured Kodak advertising in an earlier post and look forward to seeing a recent book on Kodak ephemera based on the Martha Cooper collection.

Read Full Post »

Harry Braine (1895-1949) was a talented amateur photographer who was active in the 1930s and 40s. Dublin-born Harry was a member of the Photographic Society of Ireland and a regular contributor to their exhibitions and events. This beautiful nature study was submitted to the society’s 1934 salon.

Many of his images display modernist sensibilities such as this study of bathers taken in the 1930s. His 1940 solo exhibition featured photographs of the Dublin theatre scene and you can see some of the fascinating images on his grand-nephew’s blog. He was also instrumental in the formation of the Dublin Camera Club which regularly met at his garage in Drumcondra! I hope to track down some more images by this talented man who is definitely worthy of further research.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes mistakes make for the best photographs especially when the attempts to rectify them are as humorous as the one above. The tops of the heads of this seaside group were chopped off by the photographer only to be restored in this crude but highly effective manner. Someone has pencilled in the missing foreheads and hairstyles and the results are especially funny on the gentleman in the middle of the shot. The little girl with her bucket and spade is the only intact figure and appears to laugh mischievously at her older relations.                                                                                                                                        

This snapshot reminds me of a scene from RC Sherriff’s The Fortnight in September (1931) one of my favourite recent reads from the excellent Persephone Books. The novel relates in beautiful detail the experiences of a family on a seaside holiday in Bognor Regis between the World Wars. It includes a magical scene where they collect their holiday snapshots from the local pharmacist. They were presented with six snapshots which must have been a standard number of exposures during this period. The Kodak album which houses the above photograph also held that number of prints and the following ad from the 1930s records the move to eight exposures! In the digital age, this appears like a ridiculously small number of photographs with which to record a holiday.

I bought this little album alongside five others in the same format for only $9.99 and can’t believe no-one else wanted them! All originated from the Belfast area and the Kodak verichrome film stickers which appear at the back of them are nice little pieces of 1930s ephemera. I also noticed that there is an interesting article by Lucy Curzon in the latest issue of ‘History of Photography’ on the Mass Observation’s documentary photographs of 1930s holiday makers in Blackpool which ties in nicely with this topic. 

Read Full Post »

As it is nearing the end of the summer, I thought I’d post a couple of holiday related photographs from a stunning little album I bought last year. The album was created by a family who purchased a thatched cottage in Wexford in the mid-1930s and most of the photographs date from the inter-war years. I reckon that they were quite an artistic bunch as the album includes photographs of the murals they painted on the kitchen walls. It also contains several line-drawings, poems and recipes and some great shots like these taken at Kilmichael Point in 1936 and at Roney Rock in 1938.

There is something quintessentially 1930s about the girl’s swimming costume and headgear. The diving shot also evokes the cult of fitness and fresh air which was popular throughout Europe during the era. I hope to post more images from the album soon and to find out who the family were.

On a related note, I was delighted to write a small piece on another beach photograph – this time a snapshot I bought in England – for Stacy Waldman’s blog on vernacular photography. You can see the photograph and some other spectacular examples of snapshot photography here.

Read Full Post »

This post features another workplace photograph showing staff standing in front of Hodgins Drapers, Nenagh, County Tipperary at ten to two on the afternoon of Wednesday 19th May 1937.

Some of the shop girls look like they are wearing the one-bar shoes shown in a 1937 advertisement in The Nenagh Guardian. Most of the women wear slim fitting, belted dresses and all appear to have had their hair cut into bobs and slightly waved. The remind me of the characters in one of my favourite films The Shop Around the Corner (1940) which focuses upon the lives of the staff in a Budapest department store. This was later remade into the terrible You’ve got Mail (1998).  

Hodgins was in existence for over 110 years when the last member of the family, Reggie, sold the business in 1991. 

Read Full Post »

This young bride is photographed on Howth Head, County Dublin. I think it is a really glamorous image – very much of its time. I love the headdress and oversized bouquet. These coupled with the setting and textured paper upon which it is printed make for a very atmospheric portrait. She looks like she could float away!

The marriage featured in the society pages of The Irish Times in September 1930. The bride, Monica, was a judge’s daughter and according to the 1911 census she had 5 sisters. The household, in Fitzwilliam Place, had 6 servants including a butler and a French governess. She married another bastion of upper class Ireland – a young army officer from Cork who was the son of manufacturer.   
The Victoria and Albert museum have gathered an archive of wedding photographs in preparation of an exhibition on that theme. It is arranged by decades and I think you will agree that this Irish bride was definitely in tune with the style of day. 

Read Full Post »



This is one of twelve photographs of Irish antiquities which I bought on Ebay. It shows Labbacallee wedge tomb (also known as the Hag’s Head) which is located near Glanworth, County Cork. This site was excavated and written up by Liam Price in 1934 (see Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, V. 43, Section C, no. 4, 1936).

A note on the back of the photograph states that it was taken “before Price’s excavation”. Other sites are named in the photos as follows: “Carn near Cong, County Mayo”;  “Harristown, County Waterford”; “Dolmen near Carlow” and “Dolmen near Wexford”; “Cnuachan Carn near Dungarven, County Waterford”.

Note the amateur archaeologist’s shock of hair and pioneer pin!


Read Full Post »