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Posts Tagged ‘Irish Snapshots’

 

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This small snapshot was taken in 1957 and it is captioned on the back as a ‘Dublin liquor store.’ It shows numbers 52 and 53 Dame Street and the side street called Temple Lane South. Although it includes two Georgian buildings, the image is decidedly modern in its composition and atmosphere. Two cars can be seen moving out of the shot, three hat-wearing men are ambling down the street, one with a parcel under his arm. A female cyclist wearing a fashionably tight skirt and knitted sweater has stopped by the path. Bicycles are lined up against the side wall of number 53 on Temple Lane South.

Perhaps the modern feel is heightened by the fact that the front of No. 53 (the headquarters of the wine and spirit distributor, D.E. Williams) was designed by the modernist architecture Michael Scott. When first opened, it was described by The Irish Times on the 16th of August 1941 as being ‘carried out in teak’ and as ‘a notable example of simplicity and elegance in design.’ By 1957 the exterior is pretty much unchanged excepting for the addition of an incongruous curved wooden flower box over the door. You can click on the above image to see a larger version of the snapshot.

The window display bears the slogan ‘Give Every Man his Dew.’ This refers to the whiskey Tullamore Dew which takes its name from the initials of the distributor D.E. Williams. An article, dating from 1954, on the history of the company can be found here. Now an Italian restaurant called Nico’s (one of the oldest Italian restaurants in the city) which first opened in 1963. It is mentioned in this piece from the Dublin blog ‘Come Here to Me’ that also includes a really nice photograph of the building taken in recent years. This review also references the restaurant’s history.

The next building, No. 52, was occupied by several legal firms. Street directories also give home addresses for the ‘legal eagles’ that were mainly in affluent parts of South county Dublin and Wicklow: John K. Lloyd-Blood, commissioner for oaths, home address Glencot House, Kilmacnogue, County Wickow; Gwynne Stirling, residence Marino Lodge, Killiney; Raymond French, solicitor, Knocksinna House, Stillorgan Road.

Number 52 is now a hair and beauty salon called Preen. It has not been altered too much since this photograph was taken. It now has two doors instead of one, however, the latticed windows have been retained on the upper storey. The ground floor and basement recently sold for 661,000 Euros to an overseas investor.

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As stated above the print is small (3 inches x 4 inches). A stamp on the back includes the Minox logo stating that it is an original Minox print with the date of June 11-1957. Minox cameras were produced in Latvia and after the Second World War in West Germany. They were a desirable luxury item that was widely advertised in Europe and America. The firm was also known for a particular sub-miniature camera favoured by spies. The snapshot is printed on Leonar paper, one of the most popular papers in post-war Europe. You can read a history of the firm with particular reference to their Leigrano paper here.

The use of the phrase ‘liquor store’ suggests that this photograph was taken by an American. One who could afford to travel and purchase a Minox camera. It is amazing the tangents that a single snapshot can take you on: from a Michael Scott designed shop-front to whiskey labels and spy cameras.

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I love the colours in these early 70s holiday snapshots which I purchased from an online seller recently. There is something very evocative about this Kodak colour process with its strong red and brown hues. 

The photographs were taken by Irish-American tourists in 1971 and include the slightly surreal image of an A and B pay phone. This pay phone system required the caller to contact an operator and if for some reason the call didn’t go through they could hit the ‘B’ button to return their coins. I wonder if the photograph was taken in an airport and that the green phone is perhaps a courtesy phone? I cannot make out the headlines on the newspaper which might have provided clues as to the time of year. 

I’ve identified the clock tower in the background of this photograph as that on Waterford Quay which was built in 1881. The man is the foreground appears to be enjoying his holiday. 

Upon their return to the United States, the travellers chose to photograph the items they had purchased during their trip to England and Ireland. It provides a great insight into the types of souvenirs which were popular with tourists during the period. I recognise several brands including an Irish Wade pin dish and a leprechaun figure which looks very like those made by Crolly in Donegal. They also bought plenty of linen teacloths and some strange looking records.

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I have featured images from this Northern Irish album in a previous post. The photographs were taken by H.J. Malcomson from Belfast with a Kodak Vest Pocket camera between 1925 and 1932. Most snapshot albums are filled with images of family events and occasions, however, this photographer had artistic aspirations. Even though the prints are tiny (6.5cm x 4.5cms) the photographer has succeeded in creating stark and abstract images of large scale landscape features in Antrim and Down.

 

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This glamorous lady was photographed as she walked by the railings of Trinity College in 1948. Her outfit adheres to the styles of the day: a black Mandarin hat complete with spotted veil; trapeze swing coat; clutch bag; gloves and a large leaf-shaped brooch. All were the height of fashion for 1948!

The handwriting on the print adds to rather than detracts from the photograph and although it is not a perfectly composed image it gives a real sense of Dublin in 1948 and shows how clothes were worn and fashions adopted on the street.

To get an idea of what else was happening in the city and a flavour of the times, I searched the newspapers for today’s date in 1948. The headlines were full of the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Conference and the ‘Palestine Problem’. According to Seán Ó Faoláin ‘Raidió Éireann was starved of finances’ and another article covered ‘Suggestions to improve Dublin Traffic.’

The Grafton Cinema was showing Spencer Tracey and Mickey Rooney in Boys’ Town and  the Carlton Cinema advertised the following: ‘Gorgeous and Gay! Exotic and Exciting! Lovely glamorous Yvonne de Carlo with George Brent, Brod Crawford, Andy Devine and Arthur Treacher in Slave Girl – dazzling Technicolor! Come to the 3.30 show – house booked out for tonight!’ If you didn’t want to go to the cinema there was always ‘Midget Car Racing’ at Santry Speedway or horseracing at Baldoyle.

Miss Louise Brough won the Ladies’ Singles Championship at Wimbledon and there were advertisements for rubber boots, sandals, pilgrimages to Lough Derg, Andrews Liver Salts, Elastic Stockings and Flak DDT offered to ‘Knock down that louse.’

Speaking of street style, the Where were you? team are putting on an exhibition of images from their Dublin youth culture book. It is part of the amazing Photo Ireland Festival 2012 and  is at the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield from Saturday 7th July.

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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.

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On this beautiful sunny day, I thought that I would post two seaside related snapshots. This group of happy ladies were snapped in the early 1920s somewhere along the Eastern Irish coastline. I love their cloche swimming hats and the little child reaching precariously into the sea in above picture.

I have recently started to follow a blog devoted entirely to beach photographs: Swimming in pictures is based on Ian Phillips’ collection of vintage photographs of people in bathing costumes. It is interesting to note how similar, in both style and composition, beach snapshots were throughout the world.

 

The outfits worn by the ladies splashing about in the Irish sea are remarkably like those in a previous post of mine from another Irish 1920s album. Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museums have a short little piece on bathing costumes from this period. Advertisements  from Selfridge’s and Sparkenhoe show the ideal beachwear styles of the 1920s and prove that the Irish swimmers were very much en trend.

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Another workplace photograph, this time showing the staff outside R.J. Bolger’s grocer, 18 Main Street, Bray, County Wicklow. This image is very like a previous post which showed the workers at Hodgins and Sons, Nenagh, County Tipperary and it also dates from the 1930s.

The sign writing is excellent and you can just about glimpse the lace curtains in the upper windows. According to the 1901 census, Richard Joseph, lived over the shop with his wife, Lizzie May and two-year old daughter, Annie Mary.

What really captured my imagination was the elaborate window display which revealed the wide range of alcoholic beverages distributed by Gilbey’s wine merchants. These include Spey-royal scotch whiskey and my favourite, Invalid Port!

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