Tuesday 17 October 2017

Nicky's new book is picture perfect

By Esther Hayden

Members of the Scanlon family at the launch (from left): Emer, Kenny, Ashling, John and Paul.
Members of the Scanlon family at the launch (from left): Emer, Kenny, Ashling, John and Paul.
Jenny and Joe Walsh at the launch.
Author Nicky and Anne Rossiter with their grandchildren Jude Rossiter, Lola Rossiter, Ellie Lowney, Jack Rossiter and Ziggy Rossiter.
Liam Gaul, who launched the book; author Nicky Rossiter; and Paddy Donovan who assisted with the reproduction of the photographs.
Maura Rattigan, Noah Rossiter and Paula Rossiter at the launch.

A new book detailing Wexford's past was launched last week.

The book 'Wexford from Old Photographs' is the latest offering from prolific author Nicky Rossiter and is part of a series from The History Press entitled Ireland from Old Photographs.

The launch which was launched by Liam Gaul was very well attended.

Addressing the crowd Liam gave an excellent introduction to the book pointing out the valuable contribution the late John Scanlon made to the history of Wexford in recording these and hundreds of other images.

He also spoke about the personalities included in the pictures; one of these being Dr Tom Walshe of Festival Opera fame seen during an operation at Wexford County Hospital. Liam praised Nicky Rossiter on his 11th full length book publication.

Among the attendance were members of the Scanlon family who were each presented with copies of the book and a CD of family photographs culled by Paddy Donovan from the archive.

In his speech author Nicky Rossiter thanked the late John Scanlon for 'having the foresight and talent to record a Wexford that has changed so much and sadly is all too fast becoming a history only available in words and pictures.

'Of course John's invaluable work might have been lost to an attic or dump were it not for the careful curatorship of Dominic Kiernan and his son John who digitised so many pictures and believe me I know how boring that can become. Not to mention Paddy Donovan who has been doing some excellent work on the collection. I would caution putting too many on Facebook where 'fecking and copyrighting' can be rife.

'When I asked to work on a book of Wexford from Old Photographs I thought no way am I going back to The Lawrence Collection. It is a great resource but we have all seen most of them too often.

'This is where John Scanlon's pictures excel. To start with there are more of them - in fact one would be tempted to try for extra volumes of this series. But they are also more immediate - we can recall the subjects of so many of them.'

Nicky also said that he is currently working on a book on Shop Assistants for the Lost Wexford collection and this is expected to be published next year.

In this book he details how shop assistants in Wexford looked for a shorter working week in 1842.

'After much agitation they achieved some success but because so many employers refused the demands the gains were lost over the years. Until 1891 shop assistants worked 15 hours a day. In that year the Early Closing Association was formed in Wexford.'

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