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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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The Abbey Theatre of 1904 brought back to life

A fascinating project was recently brought to my attention by @Marlalbur (who themselves have an excellent blog on Irish cultural history) An initiative by King’s College London historian, Hugh Denard, with Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room Hub & Irish digital graphics company, NOHO, The Abbey Theatre 1904 project is a project where the interior of the original Abbey Theatre, as used by the Irish National Theatre Society in 1904 is being digitally recreated in 3-D.

This painstakingly challenging and detailed task will for the first time bring to life the auditorium, the stage and more than just an impression of what was a birthing pool for theatre in Ireland. The Abbey was of course a National Theatre before there was even an Irish state. It was revolutionary for such a theatre to be state funded at the turn of the twentieth century. It was unheard of anywhere else in the world. Now, through the project website and blog, you can follow the progress as the Abbey of 1904 is recreated and visualised.

The project’s designers say of their work so far: “The task of digitally visualising the Abbey Theatre as designed by Joseph Holloway poses many challenges. Holloway’s architectural plans and drawings fortunately survive in the National Library of Ireland, and we have several black-and-white photographs of the early Abbey. However, it is more difficult to obtain detailed information about textiles, colour-schemes, and fixtures and fittings originally employed, as well as the less photogenic but functionally important backstage areas” 

“Because there will inevitably be gaps and contradictions in the historical information available to us, it becomes crucial to open the doors to the interpretative process so that the decisions we are making can be freely observed.”

The blog excellently chronicles the extricate research necessary and the time taken to sort through and pin point resources at various archives and institutions such as the National Library of Ireland, the Irish Architectural archive, British Pathe Film archives and many more. Videos outline the 3-D visualisation processes and blog articles describe visits to the Abbey Theatre’s own archive.

This is definetly a project to bookmark and keep an eye on as it unfolds. It shows how theatre history and theatre archives can be embraced and revitalised with the right idea and right technical knowhow. As the Abbey has entered its second century and still continues to grow and evolve, its roots and origins will not be forgotten.

Follow the Abbey Theatre 1904 project blog here and on Twitter @OldAbbeyDigital

 
 

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The Power of Advertising

1940s vintage advertisement

An online resource for fully digitised visual advertisements, ranging from the 1790’s to the 21st century is being run by Phillip Lenssen and contains over 120,000 images. Vintage Ad Browser (http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/about) is an incredible resource that allows anyone with an interest in the history of advertising or who would simply like to browse and wonder in humour and sometimes disbelief what in the past passed for valid advertising – political correctness be damned!  The categories of advertisements range from alcohol, cigarettes, military/propaganda, travel, shaving, toys, guns, sweets, drinks and many others. A selection of advertisements are printed below. Please note some are offensive and are printed purely to provide historical context. All images are courtesy of Vintage Ad Browser.

For a selection of images from Vintage Ad Browser, see Staged Reaction’s Flickr page at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/56519887@N08/

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Follow an Archive!

 

Follow an Archive

 

 

Embracing the world of archives and research is getting easier and easier thanks to the online presence and social media presence of archive and library services. Today’s “Follow an Archive Day” is a world-wide initiative that allows readers and users of archives of all levels, disciplines and interests to engage with local, national or international repositories.

For all you tweeters, go online and look up your Irish repositories on Twitter and drop them a line with any thoughts, ideas and let them know you’re out there!! For all you archivists put #followanarchive in your tweets!

For more information on Irish archives and links to Irish and international repositories visit http://www.learnaboutarchives.ie

http://followanarchive.blogspot.com/

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2010 in Archives

 

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A visual teaser of the Gaiety School of Acting archive

The Gaiety School of Acting donated its archive to the Irish Theatre Archive based at Dublin City Libraries and Archives. The collection of papers covers the administration, buildings, productions and students of the Gaiety School from its inception in 1985 by school founder Joe Dowling. The archive traces the creativity of its thousands of students over the years and is a unique research point in the study of theatre and education in Ireland. The following video was screened during the event to mark the handover of the Gaiety School archive to Dublin City Library and Archives last year. The video is a fantastic piece and was edited by former Gaiety School student Simon Stewart. The soundtrack is “The Racing Rats” by British band The Editors. Enjoy!!

 

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New archival resource guide for Smock Alley Theatre

A new research guide has been published on-line detailing an extensive catalogue of archival and reference sources for the exceptional Smock Alley theatre in Dublin’s historic Templebar. The guide comes as a new website has been launched specifically for Smock Alley. Prior to this, Smock Alley was placed only within the Gaiety School of Acting’s website. The Gaiety School, under the direction of Patrick Sutton and management of Niamh Byrne retains ownership and management of the spaces and buildings of Smock Alley.

Opened in 1662 by the Scottish John Ogilvy, Smock Alley is one of the oldest theatres of it’s kind in Europe. It is celebrated as one of the great English language and post-Restoration theatres and flourished in the late 17th century. Within its management, designers and repertoire of actors it can boast Thomas Sheridan, Colley Cibber, Peg Woffington, Spranger Barry, Louis de Val, Charles Macklin, Richard Brinsley-Sheridan and many others.

Smock Alley grew and developed its own very rich reputation as a place of immense spectacles, colourful performances and rich history. The building, more recently known as SS Michael and John’s church, has been completely redeveloped and a full archaeological examination has unearthed original structures, walls and vaults. Smock Alley has now been restored to much of its former glory and mystic but even more exciting developments lie ahead. It is envisioned to reinstate the main auditorium to fit the design of the original Smock Alley theatre while also maintaining the black-box studio space and utilize the amazing spaces of the Boys and Girls School adjacent.

Smock Alley is running full time as one of the most exciting and challenging theatre spaces in Dublin. It is a cultural asset beyond measure in value and provides an experience for actor, director, designer and audience member that they will long struggle to forget. A recent production, Knives in Hens, by Landmark productions is one such production that will live long in the memory for those lucky enough to see this powerful and striking production. Smock Alley regularly stages works and participated in various festivals and city-wide cultural events.

Scene from “Knives in Hens” by Landmark productions at Smock Alley.

The guide to the archival sources for Smock Alley is an extremely beneficial tool to any researcher of Irish theatre or social and urban history of Dublin. The guide contains a detailed written history of Smock Alley, a listing and archive/library call numbers of plays and play texts that were produced by the numerous playwrights of Smock Alley, original posters from Smock Alley productions, newspapers which carried coverage and reports and general text and reference books on Smock Alley and on Irish and international theatre of the period. The guide can be downloaded in full from the Smock Alley website along with the full archaeological report and media and press coverage.

http://smockalley.com/theatre/

www.gaietyschool.com

 

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Examining the Project Arts Centre Archive

The Irish history blog, Pue’s Occurences, has published an article detailing the history and archive of the Project Arts Centre. The article discusses the processes of archiving a performance and artistic archive and its value to Irish cultural history. 

http://puesoccurrences.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/building-an-archive-the-project-arts-centre/

The Project Arts Centre is one of Ireland’s most important and contemporary arts venues in Ireland and has been so since its insception in 1966 and continues to promote and develope new and emerging Irish artists, playwrights, actors and dancers. The archive is a vital addition to the documented heritage of Irish culture and is  housed in the Manuscripts Department of the National Library of Ireland.

Full details on the archive are available via the article on Pue’s Occurances and via the National Library of Ireland.

 

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