Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Poole's Pictures Draw The Crowds 100 Years On

The original Trip Advisor

Booking office for British railway now Jordans American Bar the Quay Waterford from the Poole Collection

By Guest Blogger: John Hartery

On the Saturday of the bank holiday in the Granville Hotel those wonderful people from the Imagine Festival Waterford put on a talk about the Poole photographs from a century ago. I thought I'd ramble in and be amongst a handful of hardy afficionados part social history, part photographic buffs. I was completely wrong. The joint was heaving and every available perch was taken as an overflow of all ages snaffled the last few spots on the floor.

Who was this Poole guy and why are folk still keen on his work?

Tramore photographer Margaret O'Brien Moran  is now working on the Poole Collection a treasure trove of original photographs from the late 1800's / early part of the last century. A.H.Poole was originally from Somerset but moved and lived in Waterford in 34 The Mall, a glorious building next to the one of T.F.Meagher fame. O' Brien Moran explained the work underway to digitise the original plates by the National Library of Ireland and the National Photographic Archives. The rich history that can be gleaned from the reverse of the original photograph was  illustrated and the archive also include's Mr Poole's original accounting records.  The collection is believed to be the largest collection of identifiable portraits in Ireland. Contributions from the floor discussed the quality of the photographs and how they stand up to scrutiny in micro-close up to reveal the content of posters, newspapers etc. Curiously,  it was revealed that Mr Poole left a note for his family in 1929 'going to Tramore' and was never seen again.

The  Poole archive is available for viewing  here.

July 22, 1922
Diffused bomb in Granville Hotel Waterford 1922 from Poole Collection.
 James Doherty delivered a talk in the second half of the event as plans for a walk around scenes from the original photographs were shelved for weather  and the now legendary Quay  roadworks reasons. This part was fascinating as Mr Doherty showed some of the Poole photographs which are available in high quality on Flikr - sample here. Many of the pictures have annotations from viewers that adds to our knowledge.

The Siege of Waterford was discussed and photographs used to illustrate the events. On the right  is a picture of Free State soldiers with a diffused bomb. You can read more about the events of the time and the Siege of Waterford here

Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce, Waterford 1930 from the Poole Collection
However, it seemed it was the  shop fronts, interiors and street-scapes of the last century in Waterford city centre that drew the most attention and interest. It is not evident now that the wonderfully decorated shops from Poole's pictures are matched by today's stores.
February 7, 1907
The extraordinary merchandising of Jones, chemist The Quay, Waterford from the Poole Collection

It us understood that the National Archives intend arranging an exhibition of his work next year. Let's hope that the people of Waterford can see the original pictures  in his hometown.

A wonderful event and well done to everybody involved.


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