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‘Ranks’ – A New Exhibition by Limerick City Archives

Ranks

Ranks – A Limerick Industry (Exhibition)

The Limerick City Archives in collaboration with the Hunt Museum has launched a unique exhibition this evening (Tuesday) on the former Ranks Flour Mills titled Ranks A Limerick Industry.  This exhibition is a collaboration between Limerick City Archives and the Hunt Museum and is based on the stories, memories and contributions of former Ranks workers and their families.

Ranks Flour Mills and grain ships were a crucial part of Limerick life over a span of several decades and it’s legacy provides an excellent example of life and work in Limerick’s recent past.

Through interpretative panels, installations, photographs, documents, industrial equipment and memorabilia the story of the working and social life of the Ranks workers is told. The exhibition will run from 13th March – 31st May 2012 at the Hunt Museum on Rutland St.

The acquisition of the Limerick Mills by Ranks in 1930 was hugely controversial as Ranks was a British company. However the company grew to the biggest or second biggest flour mill in the state during the Emergency. The mill gained further profitability during the 1960s but in the 1970s the company began to lose market share as Ireland’s accession to the EEC opened up the Irish flour market to cheap imports.  Rank eventually closed in 1983.

An Oral History Project was organised with the assistance of Mary Immaculate College, staff and students. Through a series of interviews Limerick City Council sought to record the experiences of those employed by Ranks.

City Archivist, Jacqui Hayes said “Over the past year Limerick City Council have conducted a series of oral history interviews and received material from former Ranks workers including an old wheat shovel, an old bastible for baking bread, a clock that was a given as a retirement present & even a high Nelly bicycle!”

Ranks reached into every home in Ireland with its products and advertisements. Its marketing strategy and brand awareness made it a recognisable household name. Traditionally Ranks was regarded as a good place to work, one that paid good wages, even contractors or casual workers were relatively well paid.

From an early date the Shannon Mills offered their employees benefits that few other workers locally or nationally received including the introduction of a pension scheme in 1947.

Tony Clohessy, a former employee remembers, “It was a happy-go-lucky place. Industrial relations were very good compared to other places a lot of companies around town were bad- never strikes there-everything was negotiated- the management contributed to the atmosphere- it was all first names unless you wanted it otherwise…Ranks was different- a pleasure.”

Future plans for the Ranks story are already in place. The City’s Archives commitment is to not just to record and preserve the people’s history but to bring our heritage to as wide an audience as possible. Alongside the publication of a book- the archives are opening a website dedicated to Ranks history and in co-operation with the Hunt Museum will host an exhibition dedicated to the Limerick Mills.

For more information or to enquire about guided exhibition tours, school workshops and lunchtime lectures please contact The Hunt Museum contact the Hunt Museum on +353 61 312833.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Archives, Uncategorized

 

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‘Over the Edge’ – New Writing in Galway

Over the Edge public reading

Over the Edge public reading

A quick croissant and a coffee is just about enough to keep Kevin Higgins seated long enough for what would be a really insightful account of not just teaching writing skills through the Galway based Over The Edge group but also of writing and publishing in Ireland. He dashes from one class to another with an hour to spare in between. As someone who has given just under two-hundred individual sessions to writers and students of all levels over the past year, he is in a prime place to know how emerging writing and writers are doing.

This Thursday (19th January) marks the ninth anniversary of the Over the Edge writing group based in Galway. Set up as an initial idea by his wife and fellow published author, Susan Millar DuMars, the group gave their first public reading in January 2003. It occurred as a response to the few platforms and lack of forums for emerging writers in Ireland. The idea was simple: three readers (one established and two emerging) a reading time of fifteen minutes each (no exceptions) and then an open-mic for others to throw their literary hat into the ring.

The system has served them well with a consistent and loyal audience that always attracted newcomers at each public reading who embraced the democratic nature of the whole thing: everyone had a voice and a story to tell. Higgins outlines, “Susan and I had no real end plan for this when we set it up. It was to give writers and audience alike a forum to challenge the hierarchy that can be evident in Irish writing circles. There were a lot of closet writers with potential and we wanted to make the development and public reading setting a lot less reverential, less like Sunday mass. There can be questions and challenges.”

For the rest of this interview with Kevin Higgins of Over The Edge click here to see it on Writing.ie

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Books

 

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