Tak­ing a peek back in time to view images of the Bal­brig­gan of 1893

Fingal Independent - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

Bal­brig­gan & District His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety was proud to present a unique pho­to­graphic record of the town and its peo­ple in a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion, held re­cently. The ex­hi­bi­tion fo­cused on the ‘peo­ple and places’ of Bal­brig­gan in the year of 1893, as rep­re­sented by a fas­ci­nat­ing col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs taken in that year.

In 2016, the So­ci­ety ac­quired a col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs taken by Mr. Lewis Whyte, ama­teur pho­tog­ra­pher and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor at Smyco fac­tory on Rail­way Street.

Many of the pho­to­graphs were taken on a sin­gle day and cap­ture the peo­ple and fa­mil­iar places of Bal­brig­gan.

A spokesper­son for Bal­brig­gan and District His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety said: ‘Since ac­quir­ing these pho­to­graphs we have got them digi­tised and a se­lec­tion of them printed.

‘We feel that the con­ser­va­tion and ex­hi­bi­tion of these al­bums is an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion by our so­ci­ety to the cul­tural her­itage of our town.

‘To this end we held an ex­hi­bi­tion in the Bracken Court Ho­tel and put the pho­to­graphs on dis­play.’

Ron­nie Nor­ton be­came key to stag­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion as he took on the role of digi­tis­ing the images so they could be dis­played.

Speak­ing to the Fingal In­de­pen­dent about the project, Ron­nie said: ‘Some­times the end re­sult of a project is to­tally dif­fer­ent from your first per­cep­tion.

‘When I was ap­proached by the com­mit­tee of the Bal­brig­gan His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety to pre­pare a set of dig­i­tal files from two trea­sured al­bums of tiny fad­ing pho­to­graphs of the town in a by­gone era with a view to a pos­si­ble ex­hi­bi­tion it im­me­di­ately ap­pealed to my in­ner geek.

‘I had copied old pho­to­graphs in the past but there was some­thing mag­i­cal in this lit­tle col­lec­tion that needed to be seen on a grander scale.’

Ron­nie ex­plained: ‘The tech­ni­cal part was to be sure that all the de­tail in the faded ar­eas of those old ‘snaps’ were ca­pa­ble of be­ing re­pro­duced and the old ma­gi­cians of the cam­era from those by­gone days didn’t let me down.

‘Com­bine the stag­ger­ing de­tail of the orig­i­nal neg­a­tives and sub­se­quent prints with the pro­cess­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties of the dig­i­tal era and we get what was a night of ab­so­lute won­der­ment on the faces of all that at­tended the Bracken Court open­ing of the Ex­hi­bi­tion.’

He said: ‘I’ve been to many pho­to­graphic ex­hi­bi­tions in my time but never have I seen the visi­tors spend so long seek­ing out the minute de­tails in ev­ery sin­gle pic­ture.

‘Ev­ery­one there had some­thing to add to grow­ing pot of in­for­ma­tion avail­able to the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety on the who and what and where of each photo.

‘Let’s just say that we knew a lot more at the end of the evening than we could have ever hoped for.’

Ron­nie con­cluded: ‘It was a real hon­our for me to be part of an ex­hi­bi­tion that gave so much plea­sure to so many lo­cal folks and hope­fully will con­tinue to do so when these his­tor­i­cal gems fi­nally find a per­ma­nent home.’

Denise Richard­son and Brian How­ley at the Bal­brig­gan Peo­ple and Places Photo Exbo in the Bracken Court Ho­tel. (pics by Fin­tan Clarke)

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