Octagon, Westport, County Mayo

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Where: Mayo, Ireland

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When: Unknown

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For many towns a four-sided square is sufficient. Not so for the "planned town" of Westport - where norms are doubled to form "the Octagon". The octagonal monument in the centre was originally erected in the mid-19th century in memory of a wealthy local - a decade or so ahead of the first date in our catalogue's "1865-1914" range. But we wondered whether we could refine the date range for this Lawrence/French shot.

That the statue still had a head and appeared unaffected by damage that beachcomberaustralia noted confirmed that the image likely didn't exceed the late 1910s. However, our eagle-eyed sleuths were able to refine further. sharon.corbet was quick to point out that the distant spire put the earliest date in the 1870s. O Mac PRO suggested that the electric lights might imply an early 20th-century date - and this seems to have been confirmed by a "1902" date in the graffiti spotted by beachcomberaustralia (and corroborated by Niall McAuley and derangedlemur).

Ultimately through the community's efforts we have learned that the monument did succumb to various attempts, and the original statue of George Glendenning (1770-1843) was replaced by one of St Patrick in the late 20th century...


Photographer: French, Robert (1841-1917)

Contributors: Lawrence, William (1840-1932)

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: Listed as ca. 1865-1914 (but likely ca. 1902)

NLI Ref: L_ROY_07558

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 20525
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio nationallibraryofireland westport countymayo octagon georgeglendenningjp17701843 glendenningmonument graffiti

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  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 31/Aug/2015 02:35:28

    Streetview 25" OSI Map

  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 31/Aug/2015 03:22:29

    Owen O'Malley is in the census in 1901 and 1911 as a grocer and publican. Similarly there are Kelly's next door in both 1901 and 1911 as publican/grocers. So no help there.

  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 31/Aug/2015 03:44:08

    The church tower is from Holy Trinity Church which was built from 1869 to 1871 according to the NIAH

  • profile

    O Mac

    • 31/Aug/2015 08:50:09

    We came on similar early electric lamps (outside Townhall above) in Dublin and Derry Archiseek maintain they appeared in Dublin from around 1903.

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 31/Aug/2015 09:25:45

    Drama in 1918 ! Presumably after this photo was taken ...

    APPARENT ATTEMPT TO BLOW UP MONUMENT. About 2.30 a.m. on Sunday, January 13, the people of Westport were startled by the loud report of an explosion. In the centre of the octagon near the town hall stands a monument 60 ft. high, erected to the memory of George Clendinning (1770-1843), who was a banker, land agent to the Marquis of Sligo, Magistrate, &c. Persons going to early Mass noticed that portion of the granite stone work tapering from the base was displaced, while fragments were strewn around the base to some distance outwards on the pavement. It was evident that an unsuccessful attempt had been made to blow up the monument, but the damage caused is slight.
    From trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/166986207 - Southern Cross (Adelaide, South Australia) 19/4/1918, p.19

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 31/Aug/2015 09:35:04

    History of George Glendining [sic] and this monument. Used for target practice during the civil war - head shot off, and replaced by a statue of St Patrick in 1990 - www.mayo-ireland.ie/en/towns-villages/westport/history/ge... The article says there were "two female figures representing benevolence and philanthropy" - which one are we looking at?

  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 31/Aug/2015 09:59:33

    Both O'Malley and Kelly are in the 1881 Slater's Directory, but I haven't found any Fords.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 31/Aug/2015 10:19:09

    Can anyone read the graffiti at the bottom of the plinth ? Fingers crossed for a date ...

  • profile

    derangedlemur

    • 31/Aug/2015 10:21:21

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia There's a 1902 in it.

  • profile

    sharon.corbet

    • 31/Aug/2015 10:21:36

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Great idea! I think I see a "1902", but it's not clear if it's a date or just random.

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 31/Aug/2015 10:29:40

    As usual there's great insights coming through. Thanks to https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] for suggesting (based on the church spire in the distance) that the earliest date in the range is probably the 1870s , and to the eagle-eyes of https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] and https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] that it could even be the early 1900s.

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 31/Aug/2015 10:34:12

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] In that 1881 Slaters, Owen O'Malley is given as Shop Street, maybe not this address? Kelly, Peter J. is given as Octogon...

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    guliolopez

    • 31/Aug/2015 10:36:43

    There's a little more on the pillar (and it's possible designer) in the Glendenning Monument's NIAH entry. Also, while Sharon's streetview link is spot-on, this "Streetview time travel" version allows us see the buildings behind without the truck or market tent in the way :)

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 31/Aug/2015 10:46:49

    I agree that the graffiti has a 1902 in it, and I don't think it can be anything but a date.

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 31/Aug/2015 10:47:08

    Also, DOG!

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 31/Aug/2015 19:04:06

    Thanks again for the usual high-quality sleuthing. Or in this case the great eyesight which spotted the graffiti, date - and ephemeral dog :) We've learned enough to update the likely date and descriptive text. Extra carrots for dinner tonight to be ready for tomorrow's fayre :)

  • profile

    O Mac

    • 31/Aug/2015 19:59:12

    The Water Stand-Pumps were of a design made by Glenfield and Kennedy of Kilmarnock , Scotland. www.flickr.com/groups/[email protected]/pool/ www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ has started a collection of them.

  • profile

    Reconstructing Light

    • 31/Aug/2015 20:51:12

    I recognise that.... Wonderful!

  • profile

    oaktree_brian_1976

    • 01/Sep/2015 00:45:59

    Seems to be PMS in a square over by the water pump on the left. Two black blobs over by the shops on the left; you zoom on the "blob" on the right reminds me of a bird like a chicken.

  • profile

    oaktree_brian_1976

    • 01/Sep/2015 00:53:00

    Overly flowery description of the column from a book in 1863: Shop Street, which extends in a westerly direction, leads to an open area, called the Octagon, in the centre of which is a monument, erected to the memory of George Glendenning, Esq., an influential proprietor and magistrate, born in the year 1770, and who died in 1843. This fine testimonial consists of a handsome fluted Doric column, based on a pedestal, which stands on a massive platform of bold masonry. The stately column is surmounted by a well-proportioned full-length figure of him whom it was- intended to record; while, on the eight panelled sides of the pedestal are appropriate inscriptions commemorative of his birth and of his death. At the base of the column appear two finely carved allegorical figures representing females, one of them resting on a coiled cable, and the other with a youth at her feet. This finelywrought memorial of private and public worth, so ornamental to the town, is as honourable to the living as it is to the dead, and speaks largely and unmistakably for the liberalitv, the intelligence, and good sense of the people who erected it, who, rising above petty local jealousies, were enabled to recognise in an enterprising resident gentleman, a person worthy of their homage and respect. books.google.ca/books?id=VeJDAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA275&o...