Organised by the Gaelic League, the first, official Irish ceilidh was held in the Bloomsbury Hall, on this day in 1897. While I find it difficult to be certain, the address appears to be at 5-7 Tavistock Place, Mary Ward House (Mary Ward Centre is on Queen’s Square).
A new, English Heritage blue plaque marks the site of the Bryant & May match factory at Bow Quarter, 60 Fairfield Road, E3.
The strike against the atrocious working conditions here started in July 1888. It involved about 1,400 women and girl match makers, most of whom were Irish and came from an area known as the Fenian Barracks. Their victory was a watershed in rights for women workers. The cause of the match girls was aided by the social activist Annie Besant who was also of Irish extraction.
Ironically, perhaps, the factory is now gated and gentrified.
For more information, see Irish London, Kirkland R, Bloomsbury Press, London 2021.
The words on this poignant plaque say it all. The rose and the shamrock carvings above the main entrance also say plenty. The plaque and carvings can be found in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Oblates, or simply Quex Road, church, Kilburn,NW6 4PS.
Still an Irish institution and very much alive, the church was designed by EW Pugin. It is worthy of a visit and a good place to remember the lost and forgotten Irish.
Wilhelmina Geddes, perhaps, the world’s greatest stained-glass artist, had her studio here, the Glass House 9-12 Lettice Street, Fulham SW6 4EH (although born Leitrim in 1887, Wilhelmina considered herself “a Belfast girl”).
Henry Grattan, MP and orator, born in Dublin and led what was known as Grattan’s Parliament until the Act of Union dissolved this separate Irish parliament. He died in 1820 and is buried in Westminster Abbey beside Pit and Fox. A statue to him is in the Palace of Westminster.
Patrick Kavanagh died 50 years ago today, poet and novelist enjoyed London and lived at 20 Williamson St, Holloway N7, 35 Downshire Hill, Hampstead NW3 and 33 Great James Street, Holborn WC1N where he finished The Green Fool.
His work is rich with references to London; the musician faltered over his fiddle in Bayswater London (Memory of My Father) and he listed the ass’s tack in Ealing Broadway (Kerr’s Ass).
With thanks to Patrick Kavanagh: A Biography by Antoinette Quinn.
Also, while it didn’t turn up the Kavanagh connection, pastlivespresentstreetshampstead.blogspot.com may be of interest to you.
Jonathan (Dean) Swift writer of Gulliver’s Travels, among other great works, was born 350 years and a day ago. While he visited London often, he stayed with Alexander Pope at Pope’s Villa 21 Cross Deep, Twickenham TW1 4QG (now Radnor House School).