Intriguing Balbriggan Tourism heritage event draws crowds
THERE was a packed attendance in the Bracken Court Hotel, for the Balbriggan Tourism National Heritage Week talk intriguingly titled ‘Stockings for the Queen’.
The presenter, Dr David Sorensen focused his entertaining presentation on the history of hosiery in the town of Balbriggan.
The very fine craftsmanship of Balbriggan’s hosiers was demonstrated in the granting of royal warrants for the supply of stockings to Queen Victoria by Smyth & Co, along with the firm of Henry Appleyard. While this area became dominated by one particular enterprise - Smyth & Co., some members of the audience were surprised to learn of the number of smaller hosiery concerns that plied their trade in Balbriggan from the 1800s onwards.
Some newcomers to the town expressed delight in learning that the name of the town had become, itself, a trademark, to be used only for very fine hosiery made in the town of Balbriggan.
One particular hosier, Mr Thomas Mangan of Smyth & Co., who had made stockings for the Queen for over 60 years was granted special recognition in 1897, by a presentation of a signed portrait of Her Majesty, in Balbriggan Courthouse.
Great interest was shown by those attending the talk in the original memorabilia from Smyth’s factory on display on the night (kindly loaned by Joe Curtis and Jenny Lynch) which included original examples of fine silk stockings and delicate handmade embroidery from the 1880s.
David Sorensen and Petra Skyvova, the organisers of this event, are hopeful that they will be able to bring more similar events focusing on the interesting aspects of Balbriggan heritage to the local audience in the future.
The evening finished with the launch of Balbriggan Heritage Trail brochure, a brief illustrated history of Balbriggan. This brochure will also act as the guide to the forthcoming Balbriggan Heritage Trail information boards which will be put in place in the town in the near future.
The brochure can be collected free of charge in Balbriggan Tourist office on George’s Square.
Petra Skyvova and Joe Curtis.