North Street, Newry, County Down

North Street, Newry, County Down
North Street, Newry, County Down

Saturday 19 April 2014

James Stanislaus Blake [c.1817-1873] [2]

James Blake lived in Thomastown, County Kilkenny. He enjoyed writing poetry and had an unusual sense of humour.

Written over a case of Port and Sherry,
buried in my garden at Ballinamona.

They who thro' life were held most dear,
Untouched by death, lie buried here;
Unlike the rest of mortals, they
Despise the fate of vulgar clay:
For when their sepulchre is burst,
No eye shall view them with disgust,
And when they rise again to light
Their ghosts, no sinners shall affright;
But even the sexton will have sport;
For one is Sherry, and the other Port.

Thursday 17 April 2014

James Stanislaus Blake [c.1817-1873]

James Blake lived in Thomastown, County Kilkenny. A barrister by profession, he also enjoyed writing poetry.

Description of my Study

This room, in which I keep my station,
Is in worst state of litigation:
A mother striving to eject
Her son, myself, without respect;
And lest she might succeed, I'll try
To keep a list of property.
First, is a portrait of my mother,
With profiles of myself and brother;
Two foils, a desk, a bugle, and
A table with a music stand;
Six chairs, the better to keep clean,
All covered with the best moreen;
A sword, a compass, and a sling,
With a small gun for battering;
A covered sofa, but on it,
I have strict orders not to sit.
A pistol, dagger, lamp, and screw,
With other things of much vertu;
And last of all, with studious air,
Myself upon an elbow chair.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Rum and Barbados

Can anyone provide information about this figure. It comes from Barbados, is clearly linked to rum and is very old.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

The search for Patrick Alfred Jennings [1831-1897]

           This is the story of a search, not a search for Patrick Alfred when it began, but a search for someone without a name and without a place, who quite possibly lived only in the imaginations of my family, and principally in the mind of my father. This nameless relative was reputed to have set out for Australia and to have been extremely successful there. So successful that he had built Government House, a Government House somewhere, no one was quite sure where, which was still in use when my father was alive, or so the story went, and for all I know, may still be in use today. One of my cousins had undertaken a search in the sixties to find this elusive relative and had come up with the name of Bourke. His mother, my aunt, who was an authority on these things, told him firmly that he was talking rubbish, that he knew nothing at all about the matter. He continued to search, undercover so to speak, and without any further success, until his death in 1974.
Almost thirty years passed and the Internet became a reality. One day, I thought, perhaps, just a little search would do no harm, and I might be the one to put this family mystery to rest forever. I had no name to search for. I didn't even have a place. So I started with the only thing I did have, my own name. Within minutes I had found Patrick Alfred Jennings and the story of Colebrook House, New South Wales.
 Colebrook House was built by William Augustine Duncan in the early 1860s. Duncan was New South Wales Collector General of Customs from 1859 until his retirement in 1881.
 "The focal point of Duncan's home was its impressive ballroom. Much use was made of cast iron decorative work imported from the Colebrookdale foundry in England. The interior was enriched with moulded plaster borders painted in pastel colours and surmounted with capitals and mouldings picked out with gilt. Ornamental roof lights in etched glass added extra light to the rooms."
After Duncan's retirement Colebrook was occupied by Patrick Alfred Jennings and it was here that he was living when he became the first NonLabor Catholic premier of New South Wales in 1886, remaining here until 1892.
At first it seemed as though I had been successful in my search. But there was one problem, or indeed two. Patrick had not built Colebrook House himself. That had been done by his predecessor William Augustine Duncan. And Colebrook House had been demolished in 1960. A seventeen-story unit block stood in its place. It is this building which now bears the name of Colebrook. The gates from the earlier Colebrook House form the entrance to the Rose Bay War Memorial. I had to grudgingly accept that Patrick Alfred Jennings was not the man I was looking for.
            By now something about him had begun to intrigue me, and I wanted to know more. Keying his name into the computer for the first of many searches I began to piece together the story of an ambitious and successful man, a story that was to take me across the sea from Ireland to the goldfields of Australia, from sheep stations to politics, from family man to patron of the arts, from business to religion. Clearly Patrick Alfred Jennings, whoever he was, was a man of many parts.
            I had no reason to believe that Patrick was a relative, but I was not entirely surprised when I found that he came from Newry, Co. Down, where my own family had lived. The grave of Patrick's father, Francis, lies in St. Mary's graveyard in Newry, close to the graves of two members of my family. He is buried there with his mother Mary, and four of his children. There is no mention on the headstone of the illustrious man one of his sons was later to become.
            Sir Patrick Alfred Jennings [1831-1897] is buried in Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, New South Wales.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Charles Jennings [Abt. 1780 -1855] of Newry, County Down

Charles Jennings lived at 28 Monaghan Street, Newry, and married Sophia Corley in 1811.  Sophia was the daughter of Patrick Corley of Clones, County Monaghan, and the sister in-law of Roger Therry, Judge of the Supreme Court NSW 1846-59. 
Charles had a warehouse at 30 Merchant’s Quay.

Rental of the Right Hon. the Earl of Kilmorey's Newry and Crobane     Estates 1822. Incidental Expenses. P. 53. No. 10.
Paid Charles Jennings amt of his acct for iron and coals. 

Eliza Jennings, his sister, was married to John Caraher, who had a house, stores, kiln, office and yard at number 15.
Like his father and brother, Charles was involved with the struggles of the Catholic population, and the fight for Catholic Emancipation.

We, the Undersigned, request a MEETING of the CATHOLIC INHABITANTS of the PARISH of NEWRY, at the NEWRY CATHOLIC POOR SCHOOL, on SUNDAY the 13th day of January, 1828, at the hour of TWO o'clock, for the purpose of petitioning the Legislature for the ENTIRE and UNCONDITIONAL restoration of our unjustly withheld rights; and of adopting such other proper measures, with reference to this subject, as may appear necessary to
said meeting. Newry, 8th January, 1828.
Denis Maguire, Constantine Maguire, John Caraher, Patrick m'Parlan, Mark Devlin, Charles Jennings, P.C.Byrne.

In 1837 he was appointed Newry Town Commissioner.
Charles had a Schooner, the EXPERIMENT.  Details of this vessel appear in the 1843 and 1844 editions of Lloyd’s Register.

EXPERIMENT - 1843-44
 Owners: Jennings
Port of registry: Newry
Voyage: sailed for Lancaster (1843); on Coastal Trade (1844)
Preston Custom House report. Sailed. EXPERIMENT for Newry, coal.

In 1846 Eliza Jennings’ husband John Caraher was declared bankrupt. Charles Jennings was declared bankrupt in 1850.

Bankrupt: Charles Jennings, of Newry, county Armagh, merchant, dealer, and chapman, to surrender on Tuesday, the 3rd day of December, and on Tuesday, the 31st day of December next.

The details of the Incumbered Estate sale of James Scott Molloy held in the Commercial Coffee Room, Newry, in 1851 describe Charles Jennings as a

Tenant under the Court of Chancery, from 1st May, 1849, for seven years…

The yard for sale, leased by Charles Jennings, had

                …limekilns on it, in constant work…

Charles Jennings was on the Provisional Committee of the Newry and Enniskillen Railway extension to Sligo. The expansion of the railways had been proposed in an attempt to encourage and promote commerce. The combination of the slow rate of investment in the new railway projects and the low economic state of the country after the Famine may have contributed to his bankruptcy. Newry had suffered an influx of the poor and the destitute, in part because of the Workhouse which had opened in 1841, and also because Newry and Warrenpoint were ports from which emigrant ships left for England and America. The population of Newry had increased from 18, 415 in 1841, before the Famine, to 20,488 in 1851. Almost two thousand paupers had been assisted in six months in 1847.

In the Court of Bankruptcy, Dublin, April 15th, 1851, The Belfast and County Down Railway Company in re the Estates of Charles Jennings, a bankrupt.

Pierce Mahony, solicitor to the Dublin and Kingstown Railway noted that

…the distress of the middle classes in Ireland resulting from the schemes of 1844       and 1845 is most alarming at present.

Mother Emmanuel Russell, a member of the congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, Newry, wrote an account of a visit to 28 Monaghan Street before the bankruptcy.

 First, our earliest friends, Mrs. Charles Jennings' family, welcomed us and were very, very kind…and I never forgot the picture of comfort, peace, and genial kindness her Christmas dinner-table presented. Such a handsome numerous family sat round it: father, mother, three sons and five daughters (besides two absentees – a Poor Clare and a police inspector), all bright, handsome faces…. I often recall that picture as that of the happiest family party as well as the handsomest I have ever seen; and most of them with God now, and all scattered.

Four of the sixteen children of Charles and Sophia died in childhood.  Andrew John died aged 27.  Anna Maria became Sister Mary John Jennings of the Poor Clares, a religious order which had come to Newry shortly after Catholic Emancipation. Three of her sisters entered the Presentation Order. Two sons, Joseph, an engineer with William Dargan, the great railway entrepreneur, and Charles, apprenticed to Arthur O’Hagan, solicitor, emigrated to America. Another, John, may have been a wine and spirit merchant on Merchant’s Quay, Newry. Daniel became a County Inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Charles Jennings died in 1855. His widow Sophia with her daughters Kate, Ellen and Sophia left Newry and came to live in 8 Cabra Terrace, Dublin.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Frederick York Wolseley [1837-1899]

Frederick York Wolseley was born in Co. Dublin on the 16th March 1837, the second son of an army officer descended from a Staffordshire family.  Mount Wolseley House, in Co. Carlow, which had been the home of the Wolseley family since 1725, was burnt by insurgents in the 1798 rebellion and was no longer habitable. It would not be rebuilt for another twenty seven years.
Frederick's older brother Garnet followed their father into the army and went on to have a distinguished career. Frederick himself, however, at the age of seventeen, travelled to Australia, arriving  in Melbourne in 1854 and working  as a Jackeroo on a large sheep station named Warbreccan (near Deniliquin, New South Wales) where he later became the manager.
  In 1868 he turned to squatting for himself and in 1870 he became a Justice of the Peace. He then began experimenting with his idea of a mechanical sheep shearing machine. By now he had acquired his own property, 'Euroka' near Walgett on the Barwon River.    Here he gave his first exhibition and demonstration of his sheep shearing machine in the presence of a number of squatters. He  proved that his mechanical shearing machine was a success. A year later the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co. was set up in Sydney with a capital of  £20,000.
The company moved back to Birmingham, England, in 1889 and Frederick York Wolseley became the Managing Director. However he ultimately returned to Australia and resigned from the company in 1894.
 In Birmingham the works manager Herbert Austin started experimenting with motorcars. His first attempt, the Wolseley Autocar No. 1, is said to have  looked like an invalid chair with back to back seating for two adults and independent rear suspension. Only one model was made, and none were sold.
In 1899, the first Austin designed 4 seater was built. It was entered in the Thousand Miles Trial in the spring of 1900 and won its class. Within a year the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company had been established and began manufacturing.
As well as cars the Wolseley Company produced motor sleighs for the Scott Antarctic expedition and a two-wheeled gyrocar sponsored by the Russian count Peter Schilovski. During World War 1 Wolseley lorries were supplied in large numbers to the British Army in France and it was claimed that Wolseley aero engines contributed to the success of the Royal Flying Corps.
After the war normal car manufacturing was resumed. In 1932 The distinctive illuminated radiator badge was  introduced and never changed. For many years the Wolseley name was associated with the Police Force. Ealing Studios used the cars in films of the 1950s such as the Lavender Hill Mob and Whisky Galore.
Frederick York Wolseley himself never knew about the success of the Wolseley car. He returned from Australia to Surrey seriously ill and died on 8th January 1899; the same year that the first Austin designed 4 seater was built. He was buried at Elmers End Cemetery in London. His name was carried on by the company and became synonymous with cars of style and luxury.  "Wolseley cars – driven in three centuries." was the proud boast. In 1975 British Leyland built the Wolseley Wedge, renamed the following year as the Princess. It was the last of the line and the end of an era.