The seaman photographs. A personal selection
I thought as we worked through the boxes of index cards that we were probably the first people to be surveying what was there from an Irish angle. The descendants of those seamen are generally unaware that these photographs exist. My experience in Rush is that the community is interested and delighted when they see men, who they remember as elderly, photographed in their youth. Professionals, paid by the Board of Trade, took the photographs and the standard is high. As our work continues I am aware that when the card is put back in the file it may never be looked at again. They deserve better than that. I have selected some forty of the photographs that I have enjoyed seeing to give an idea of what is in the boxes. The selection starts in County Donegal, in Lettermacaward, and then moves clockwise through the coastal towns in counties Derry/Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Louth, North County Dublin, Wexford, Waterford and Cork. A significant omission is county Wicklow. I have concentrated on the younger men, as they are more likely to be remembered.
Our treatment of the photographs has adapted as we have worked through the index cards. Initially we only made a note if the photo had the wow factor or if there was no photo. We then moved on to rate the photos from f0 (no photo) to f5 (very good) and then f5+ and the ultimate f5 wow. We might then add a short note about the appearance. As we progressed we began to be able to tentatively identify individual port photographers and we added a cryptic comment to identify them. Some of the seamen are in RN rig, which suggests they were looking for a job after demobilization.
Provisional keywords for some photographers
'grillman' background has a wrought iron grill. Waterford?
'8-slot', Format frame has 8 slots. Max of six used for numbers. Liverpool?
'White ink' ID number appears to be written in white ink. Glasgow?
'White boarding' background has vertical white boarding. Belfast?
'Portrait' photo from waist or chest up. Derry?
'corr' background corrugated shed
'soft white' white background soft focus. Derry? Belfast?
'handles' numbers fit into a frame with handles for removal.
Hugh John Fallon
William Basil Paul England
James Joseph Doolan
Edward John Cashman