Making baskets on the rocks

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In one of the most bleak and remote places in Connemara Letterfrack has always had a need for help in creating industry to enable the population remain in the area. A Lawrence image showing a basket factory would indicate that this effort at local industry goes way back. When was that and whatever happened to it?

Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: Circa 1865 - 1914

NLI Ref: L_CAB_00978

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

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Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 8561
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio glassnegative nationallibraryofireland letterfrack connemara cogalway basketfactory remote isolated industry lawrencephotographcollection

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    derangedlemur

    • 11/Sep/2020 07:36:41

    Presumably this pointy mountain, so now we just need the right angle: goo.gl/maps/f3ECuW4zHAZiv79M6

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    derangedlemur

    • 11/Sep/2020 07:39:21

    This looks like a good candidate: bit.ly/3bKyv8f goo.gl/maps/7zxbakRJmQgUTG9j6

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    derangedlemur

    • 11/Sep/2020 07:44:54

    From History of the Commercial and Financial Relations between England and Ireland from the Period of the Restoration: Basket-work is carried on as a cottage industry in several places in the west and south of Ireland; at Letterfrack, in Connemara, the industry is especially flourishing. There is no doubt that one great way to improve the condition of agricultural Ireland is the development of these cottage and art industries. With the exception of the home-spun woollen industry and the lace-making industry they are still on a small scale, but taken in the bulk they give a good deal of subsidiary employment, and there is reason to believe that before long they will increase greatly.

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    derangedlemur

    • 11/Sep/2020 07:50:42

    From The Englishwoman's Review of Social and Industrial Questions: 1898: Ms Sturge has issued a notice to customers of the basket industry, which she has so successfully planted and nurtured in Connemara, that an expert in basket work is now in charge of the industry, and all orders are to be henceforth addressed to the Manager, Connemara Basket Industry, Letterfrack, Galway

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    derangedlemur

    • 11/Sep/2020 07:52:52

    As with every improvement in the country, it was the Quakers: connemarawest.ie/product/sophia-sturge-and-the-connemara-...

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 11/Sep/2020 08:00:49

    Via Trove from 1891 - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/227235921?searchTerm=l... - Sophie Sturge. Miss Sophie Sturge, who is devoting her life and her money to creating a new industry in the west of Ireland, is the youngest daughter of the late Joseph Sturge, of Birmingham, the great apostle of peace. She is a nice, pleasant little Quakeress, about 30, very gentle and rather fragile, but with great determination and tenacity of purpose. Her friends have just sent her over to Letterfrack, an iron house, which is furnished with wicker work and bamboo furniture from Norway and Holland, so she may now be said to have fairly taken root in Connemarra amongst the bright and docile young peasants whom she is teaching fancy basket work. Should she succeed in making this new industry self-supporting, as it is believed she will, Ireland will have good cause to bless her for her noble, self-denying work.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 11/Sep/2020 08:18:38

    Here's a radio documentary on the subject.

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    cargeofg

    • 11/Sep/2020 08:24:35

    Here is the other photo of the Basket factory which is used on the You Tube cliphttp://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000325388 See below for clickable link

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    cargeofg

    • 11/Sep/2020 08:29:40

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet Copy and paste is not playing this morning for me. I wonder if that is Miss Sophia Sturge in the photo?

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    sharon.corbet

    • 11/Sep/2020 08:32:14

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] You're missing a space before the link!

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    suckindeesel

    • 11/Sep/2020 08:35:10

    "What they suffered They told but few They did not deserve What they went through Tired and weary They made no fuss They tried so hard To stay with us" Lest we forget the other face of Letterfrack

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 11/Sep/2020 08:58:12

    More via Trove - an exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall in 1896 ... ... and from Letterfrack the dozen boy workers in the heart of the Connemara district sent a splendid show of baskets much to the credit of their indefatigable instructress, Miss Sturge, who founded the little industry which promises to become a great one shortly. A bicycle basket laden with roses was presented to the Princess of Wales, and her Royal Highness purchased a novel stationary basket suitable for travelling or out-of-door writing. ... See - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/20765937?searchTerm=le...

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    rpgvlwqt88

    • 11/Sep/2020 10:02:16

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] lol the quakers were the only ones with any capital to invest. Giving credit for having a monopoly!

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    cargeofg

    • 11/Sep/2020 10:02:22

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Yes indeed. The other face which they hid from so many people for so many years.

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    CASSIDY PHOTOGRAPHY

    • 11/Sep/2020 10:04:42

    Many Irish immigrants to America took up this work. I seem to recall my paternal Grandfather did this, in Massachusetts, where so many Irish ended up.

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    cargeofg

    • 11/Sep/2020 10:05:33

    catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000325388

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    rpgvlwqt88

    • 11/Sep/2020 10:49:56

    www.flickr.com/photos/proni/13733090693/in/photostream/ - some good photos here from the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland here of various parts of Irish life north and south. Very comment bare

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    suckindeesel

    • 11/Sep/2020 12:59:57

    You can see the raw material, willow or reed?, stacked against the end of the shed on left, with the finished products on display in front of factory itself. Funny looking "chimney" on roof., possibly from a heating oven for bending the canes. The other one was likely for the pot bellied stove.

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    suckindeesel

    • 11/Sep/2020 17:35:16

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia I've a bad feeling about where "the dozen boy workers" may have been procured from.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 11/Sep/2020 21:17:44

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] We visited Letterfrack before, and it was not good news - [https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/29017012765/]Dated 1898+ by [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/] Wikipedia has this on Sophia Sturge, suggesting the basketeers were female - "... As a supporter of the Irish Home Rule movement and appalled by the poverty in Ireland she moved to Connemara in 1888, where, with financial assistance from some Quakers, she set up a basket-making industry in the village of Letterfrack, which had already become a place of residence for several other Quakers. She taught young girls the art of basket-making, leading to a self-sustaining enterprise that sold many of its products in Britain.[3] She lived there for seven years but then returned to England for health reasons. The factory continued to function under a manager until 1905. ... " From - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_Sturge Btw her father was an interesting character too - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Sturge

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