archives

Changing Face of Jacob's Biscuits

Fig RollsDown the years Jacob’s Biscuits introduced new products on a regular basis.  Some did not survive the court of consumer taste while others, like Cream Crackers and Fig Rolls, remain proven favourites. From time to time the more popular products got a new label, updated to reflect the style of the time.

Follow the changing face of your best-loved biscuit in the Changing Face of Jacob's Biscuits Image Gallery.

If you can contribute any missing packages we’d be delighted to hear from you. Get in touch on twitter @DCLAReadingRoom or email cityarchives@dublincity.ie

Manuscript of the Month: Grafton Street (WSC/Maps/564)

WSC Map 564 detailThis map is what we would now call the development plan for what became Grafton Street. The plan is by the Dublin City Surveyor, John Greene, to the scale of 10 feet to an inch and it is dated 17 January 1680. At that date, Grafton Street was a humble country lane, linking the two open spaces of St Stephen’s Green and Hoggen Green.  There was even a municipal dung-heap, known as ‘The Pound’ at the end of the lane.  The Dublin City Assembly’s plan envisaged a new street to be 46 feet wide, with removal of The Pound. As yet the new thoroughfare had not got a name – it would eventually be called after the Duke of Grafton, an illegitimate grandson of Charles II.

News from Nelson: Dublin First and Always

Thomas KirkThe year was 1809 and I stood patiently - enclosed in a block of Portland Stone, waiting to be released by the noted Cork sculptor, Thomas Kirk.  At last my mouth was completed and I opened it and spoke to him: ‘How do, Tom Kirk!’ and he replied ‘Tolerably well, Nelson – my work on you is almost done.’  But I was curious about something, and asked: ‘I presume that as I am the first monument to myself, I am destined for London?’  I was dismayed when he said: ‘No, I am under commission to Dublin.’   Dublin!  I had never been there and though I knew of its fame as ‘The Second City of the Empire’ I also knew that it had lost its Irish Parliament with the Act of Union and that poverty was looming.  And then I thought about it: in spite of its economic difficulties, Dublin had cherished me enough to be the first to raise a Pillar to my goodself.   I would be glad to go there.

Living in Victorian Dublin

GPODublin City Hall was the venue for our third Heritage Week event, our seminar ‘Living in Victorian Dublin’. This is the second in our annual series, the first was ‘Living in Georgian Dublin’ in 2016 and the next will be ‘Living in Restoration Dublin’ in 2018.  Our five speakers each spoke on a different topic, in order to cover all aspects of the Victorian city.  Michael Barry was our first speaker.  Author of Victorian Dublin Revealed he gave an overview of the entire city, demonstrating how many buildings, both public and domestic, have remained from that era and introducing them through his own splendid photography. 

News from Nelson: my dear old Friend

Bang BangAs regular readers of my Blog will know, I have made many friends down the centuries – but probably my best friend of all was Bang Bang.  Born as Thomas Dudley, I used to follow his escapades from the top of my Pillar by placing a spyglass to my one good eye.  Such adventures as he had!  ‘Shooting’ people with an old church key – and these to be grown-up adults – well they went down like tenpins shouting and roaring with ‘pain’.  Bang Bang’s inspiration was the Westerns which he saw when he went to the flicks – he was usually admitted free of charge and if he went in the afternoon his young friends were also let in with him.  He fancied himself as a cowboy riding a horse but as he couldn’t afford a horse he went for the next best thing – the buses!   In those days (I speak of the 1950s and early 1960s) the buses in Dublin had an open platform at the back and while the bus was already moving Bang Bang launched himself triumphantly onto the platform and from this his trusty steed he resumed ‘shooting’ calling out ‘Bang Bang’!

A Crackin' New Exhibition Explores the History of Jacob’s Biscuit Factory

Jacob's Biscuits exhibArdmhéara Bhaile Átha Cliath / Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha will officially launch a new exhibition Jacob’s Biscuit Factory & Dublin: An Assorted History, today, Friday, 8 September at 1pm in Dublin City Library and Archive.

Drawing on the vast 330 boxes of Jacob Biscuit Factory Archives held at Dublin City Library, and using beautifully illustrated panels, oral histories, flags and original artefacts, the exhibition tells both a chronological and thematic history of Jacob’s Biscuit Factory. The events of 1913-1922 which impacted on Ireland nationally feature prominently and using the lens of the factory allows the exhibition to provide a unique contribution to the Decade of Commemorations. 

Manuscript of the Month: Reformation 02

Francis TaylorAlderman Francis Taylor was a successful and well-respected member of the municipal government, the Dublin City Assembly.  He was born in Swords, Co. Dublin around 1550, at a time of religious controversy.  The Taylors remained loyal to Rome and did not subscribe to the 1536 Act of Supremacy which declared that Henry VIII and not the Pope was the supreme head of the Church.

Francis Taylor became a merchant and settled in Dublin City, where he had a house in Ram Lane.  He married Gennet Shelton, the daughter of a Dublin merchant, and the couple had five sons and a daughter.  Taylor entered municipal politics, was elected Sheriff of Dublin for the civic year 1586-7 and three years later he was elected Alderman on the City Assembly, a post which he held until his death in 1621.  Taylor was highly regarded for his honesty and financial ability and served as Dublin City Treasurer on seven occasions between 1593 and 1616.  The pinnacle of Taylor’s civic career came in 1595 when he was elected Mayor of Dublin.    As a senior member of the City Assembly, Taylor was asked to travel to London in April 1597, to present a petition on behalf of Dublin Corporation at the court of Elizabeth I.

Manuscript of the Month: Reformation 01

Reformation 01The Monastery of All Saints (usually called All Hallows) was founded by Dermot Mac Murchadha, King of Leinster, in 1166 – it is said, as an act of penance for eloping with Dervorgilla, wife of Tiernan O’Rourke.  It was an Augustinian foundation, and the monastery buildings were situated to the east of Dublin City, outside the city walls.  This was a precarious location, and the monastery and its immediate lands were sacked by the O’Byrnes and O’Tooles of Wicklow on a regular basis.  Nevertheless, All Hallows quickly became the wealthiest monastery in the Dublin area, as it received donations from pious benefactors of land in counties Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Louth, Tipperary and Kilkenny. In 1478, the Prior of All Hallows was appointed as Admiral of the Port of Baldoyle, a most prestigious position. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the surrender of the Priory and lands of All Hallows to King Henry VIII was undertaken by Prior Walter Handcock (16 Nov 1538) with (18 Nov 1538) memorandum attesting to the voluntary nature of the surrender witnessed by Symon Geoffrey, rector of Howth, Thomas Alen, gentleman, and others.  (DCLA/Recorder’s Book, entry No. 12-12a).  It was noted that at the time of surrender there were only four monks in All Hallows.

News from Nelson: Absent Friends

filming nelsonWhen you reach my age – 209 and counting - you start to think about your old friends and long to meet up with them for a chat.  So I was delighted when Ken Dolan called in to see me the other morning. It was an important occasion – we were both being interviewed by the BBC for ‘The One Show’ which is hugely popular.   Nowadays Ken is a distinguished academic at the National College of Art and Design but in 1966 he was an impecunious student there and like many young men he was eager for the craic.  At that stage I had been blown off my Pillar and was nursing my wounds amid the remnants of my dignity, in a Dublin Corporation storage depot. St. Patrick’s Day arrived and it was cold and wet as usual – when over the wall came seven fit young men.  Acting together, they managed to lift me  – I’m really very heavy – and then they scarpered off, bringing me with them.

Manuscript of the Month July 2017: The Mystery of the Summer Islands

Usher IslandIn its natural state, the River Liffey is shallow – the Irish name for Dublin is ‘Baile Atha Cliath’ or the town of the ford of hurdles, which were put down on the river bed to allow people to have a firm footing while wading across.  Further east, the Nightingale Sands, which appeared in summer at the mouth of the Liffey at low tide, were used during the Riding of the Franchises to cross from Clontarf to Ringsend on horseback. 

And again in summer, a varying number of islands appeared in the River Liffey.  These were owned by the then Dublin Corporation which leased them out to citizens who hoped to build the summer islands up and reclaim them. Many of the summer islands appeared in the vicinity of Rory O’More Bridge and are shown on Bernard de Gomme’s 1673 map of Dublin; these were probably sand and gravel banks.  In 1670, the merchant Henry Orson secured a lease of these small islands and in 1685 Phillips’ map of Dublin shows them as a single island with a house – an indicator of Orson’s success in effectively consolidating them.  Orson’s islands were incorporated into the north bank of the Liffey by 1728 and the land is now known as The Esplanade and Wolfe Tone Quay.

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