Posts Tagged ‘Tipperary’

This postcard of St. Patrick’s Well, Clonmel, County Tipperary, was sent to an Irish emigrant in Philadelphia ca. 1905. It was printed in Saxony, Germany and published by the large firm of Woolstone Brothers of London as part of their Milton Series. The warm tones of this print are the result of a carbon process which really suits the natural subject matter. If you’d like to try carbon printing, here is a link to a project which uses the process and provides detailed instructions on the materials required. 

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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. 

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Just a quick Easter post. I always find it hard to date children’s clothes but my guess is that this lavish outfit originates from somewhere between 1890 and 1910. The photograph was sent to an Irish emigrant in Philadelphia along with several postcard views of Clonmel, County Tipperary. The photographer was English-born, Albert Joseph Webster, and I can confirm that his studio was in business between 1901 and 1911. I wonder did Bridie ever get to meet her sister Mary’s child? There are no surnames given within the correspondence, however, one of the postcards mentions that a J. Landy is emigrating to Philadelphia and will call on Bridie. 

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The work photo is a genre that interests me, whether it is occupational studio portraits or more casual snapshots of the crowd from the office. Photographs showing workers with the tools of their trade were regularly commissioned in the first decades of photography. These mirrored earlier painted portraits and this example from Dublin was taken by Louis Werner sometime in the 1860s when his studio was based at 15 Leinster Street South, Dublin. The unknown man ‘works’ on an unfinished chair and the fact that he is shown in his shirt sleeves (without an overcoat or jacket) singles him out as a worker rather than a ‘gentleman’. Unfortunately there are no clues as to who he was or which firm of cabinetmakers he worked for.

This group (possibly from Tipperary) reminds me of the workers in Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Upon closer inspection it is full of great details including the various styles of hats; the trowels held by some of the men; the photographer’s shadow and the well-worn overalls. It is also brings to mind August Sander’s portraits of dock and road workers.

The austere young clerk pictured at his desk is captioned only with his surname – Barcroft -and could be the legal apprentice of that name living in Donnybrook in the 1901 census. It is a typical turn-of- the-century office. I love the industrial style lamp and the glass-fronted cases behind him. You can nearly hear the clock ticking in the background and imagine the stifling atmosphere of the office. 

The final image is a snapshot of my mother and her workmates at  the office  of the solicitor’s Porter Morris, 10 Clare Street, Dublin taken in 1960. The snapshot is casual and all are smiling /performing for the camera. It gives away none of the tensions of the working world: the petty  jealousies and bickering nor does it reveal who pulled their weight or was popular with their co-workers. Then again, it may have been a very pleasant place to work.


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Street altars and May processions in honour of Mary were commonplace in Ireland until quite recently. The terraced houses in the background place the image firmly within an urban setting. This photograph is from a batch of Tipperary images I bought a few years back and others in the selection are identified as being from Clonmel so perhaps that is the location? I like the girls in white dresses who give the photo a summery feeling.

This type of folk or vernacular practice interests me and I have re-read Kay Turner‘s book Beautiful Necessity on the subject of women’s altars and shrines several times. The National Library of Ireland’s photographic collection includes some images of street altars and decorations dating from the Catholic Emancipation Centenary in 1929. I also worked on a collection of photographs taken between the 1950s and the 1970s by Elinor Wiltshire which feature Corpus Christi altars from my own area – Dublin 7.

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This Tipperary woman looks like fun! She was definitely fashionable and trend conscious as demonstrated by her check suit and association with the very trendy pastime of cycling. Brian Griffin has written a comprehensive history of cycling in Ireland which also covers the gender issues surrounding the sport. Not everyone was keen on the independence and freedom that cycling gave women! Roger Vaughan‘s website includes a selection of Victorian and Edwardian cycling photographs. The studio props are also great – note the rustic seat and crescent moon. I also find it interesting that the backdrop in the first photograph is slightly shabby and no attempt has been made to hide the canopy and ground-sheet.

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