#AskLetters1916 | Business in 1916 | 1 Sept 2015

#AskLetters1916 | Letters of 1916
#AskLetters1916 | Letters of 1916

The next #AskLetters1916 Twitter chat will take place on Tuesday 1 September 2015 from 5.30-6.30pm (GMT.) The topic for the chat is:





Our next chat which explores letters from the collection broadly associated with business in 1916 will be hosted by Dr Stephanie Rains of Maynooth University.


Prior to the Great War, Ireland’s economy was in a weakened state. Industrial development was scarce outside of Ulster and the 1913 lockout had left many men unemployed throughout the Dublin region. With the outbreak of War came the chance of a regular wage. 5,500 men signed up with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers within the first two months of the war. Yet numerous men also left jobs to enlist. Hundreds of workers from the Guinness workforce enlisted with the assurance that their jobs would await them upon their return. Many took the chance to seek employment in Britain’s burgeoning war industry. Emigration and the ensuring labour shortages saw women employed for the first time by companies such as Guinness. By 1916 the British Ministry of Munitions passed the Output of Beer (Restriction) Act, allowing the government to commandeer distilleries for chemical production.


Sackville Street and O'Connell Bridge © Library of Congress
Sackville Street and O’Connell Bridge © Library of Congress

With the Easter Rising came, as described by G.H. Mumford in the Evening News, ‘a weird and bad extravaganza.’ When the rebels took over their positions throughout Dublin, including the Jacob’s Biscuit Factory and Boland’s Mill locations, a frenzy of looting broke out focused on lower Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street). Only once the battle lines between British and rebel forces solidified on the third day did it begin to cease. Many of the looters lived in extreme poverty, they took not only luxury items but those basic necessities such as foodstuff and even the wood from rebel barricades for lumber. The destruction of Sackville Street damaged the postal service and transport lines. Local businesses such as the Dublin Bread Company, the Cable Shoe Company, Lawrence’s Photographic and Toy Emporium and Hopkins and Hopkins were utterly destroyed. Jobs were lost and businesses were ruined, whether from Rising or War, the business landscape of Dublin was changing rapidly in 1916.


Dr. Stephanie Rains and the Letters of 1916 team will be online from 5.30pm on Tuesday 1 September and we would love to hear your input!

To read a selection of business-related letters from the Letters of 1916 collection in advance of the chat, click here.


Tweet the team:

The people behind the Letters of 1916 are on Twitter:

Professor Susan Schreibman | Twitter @schreib100

Karolina Badzmierowska | Twitter @karolinabadz

Emma Clarke | Twitter @clarke_emma

Mel Farrell | Twitter @Mel__Farrell

Richard Hadden | Twitter @oculardexterity

Shane McGarry | Twitter @irishgeek79

Linda Spizazzé | Twitter @codices_hunter

Neale Rooney | Twitter @nealero

Hannah Healy | Twitter @HannahHealy

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