Some more retro technology – with a Christmas connection

Lantern slides originated in the 17th Century and were originally hand pained images which were placed into a primitive wooden projection box and viewed in succession in order to narrate a story. They were a very early form of cinema which by the mid-1800s, with the advent of photography, had evolved to the stage where real-life scenes could be reproduced on glass and displayed.

These could be hand-tinted for added realism and the resulting slide show would have been an immersive experience using what was then cutting-edge technology in an era when newspapers contained only text, and books were a luxury few could afford.

In Local Studies  we have a historic collection of photographs of the Holy Land dating from 1908 and these were shown in Clondalkin Carnegie Library on the occasion of its opening in 1911. The names of the locations are a roll-call of famous Biblical locations.

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Lantern slide showing paper frame and handwritten caption

 

Taken in 1908, these images show the people and views of the Holy Land appearing virtually unchanged in 2,000 years. It is not too hard to imagine the Holy Family wandering these streets in search of accommodation.

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View of Bethlehem

 

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The site of the Angel’s appearance to the shepherds

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Titled “A Jerusalem Jew”

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An Arab shop

 

Other slides include views of locations associated with Easter including the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives which we will return to at a later date.

One view in particular is particularly poignant – the very first photograph of the ancient Monumental Arch of Palmyra which was built in the 3rd Century and is seen here in its original form before it was restored in the 1930s. It was destroyed by Islamist Militants in October 2015.

 

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Triumphal Arch, Palmyra.

 

Click HERE to see the entire collection.

New on Source – Rare stereoscopic photos of WWI

Just in and newly digitised, Local Studies have loaded onto our Source digital archive a set of Stereograph images from World War 1.

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Originally intended to be viewed through a stereoscope, stereograph images were taken using a camera with three lenses in a triangular formation. The lens at the top provided a view of the scene for the photographer to help with the composition of the photo, while the two lenses below took two photographs from very slightly differing angles.

Viewing the resulting photographs through a stereoscope, the user would be able to “merge” the two images by looking through the viewer’s lenses – effectively recreating the three dimensional effect originally captured by the two cameras.

Stereographs had two eras of popularity. The first was in the 1850s and 60s. They became popular again in the late 1890s, lasting for the duration of the First World War and declining again after its end.

This particular set of images was taken and published by Hilton DeWitt Girdwood under the trademark of “Realistic Travels”. The set contains images from many different conflict locations – not only France and Belgium, but Gallipoli, Jerusalem, Baghdad and Egypt also make an appearance. Some images were disapproved of by the British government. Not because of the graphic nature of some of them, but because they had been staged by Girdwood. It was feared that staging of photographs could undermine the “authenticity” of war reporting in general.

All of the photographs were all taken in the field – even the staged ones.

See if you can guess why this one must have been staged:

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The answer of course is that a flash was used to illuminate the scene. This would never have been allowed if a real night attack was in progress as it would have alerted the enemy.

The detail contained in the photos is striking. Here are some closeups of a few of the scenes:

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Assault at Trones Wood

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German soldier being searched. His discarded rifle lies nearby.

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Troops prepare to attack Turkish forces at Cape Helles, Gallipoli.

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A tank in action at Cambrai.

See the entire collection HERE. Note the collection shows some images of death.

Leo Swan Memorial Lecture 2016

This year’s Leo Swan Memorial Lecture will take place in the County Library, Tallaght on Tuesday 13th December at 7:00 p.m.

Neil Jackman of Abarta Heritage, who led the recent archaeological project at the Hell Fire Club, will speak about the project and its findings, including the exciting discovery of megalithic art.

All welcome!

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For more on the Hell Fire Club, see previous posts here.

Today in 1918, and a notorious railcar.

Today in 1918, the Armistice that ended World War 1 was signed by representatives of Germany and the Allied Powers in a railway carriage in the forest of Compiègne in France. It has been a cause of controversy over the years that, although the Armistice was signed at approximately 5.20 in the morning, the war was allowed to continue until 11.00 that day – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – the time chosen to officially end hostilities. During this time there were thousands of needless casualties. The official explanation for the delay was the need to communicate the message to all of the areas in which fighting was taking place.

The railway carriage in which the Armistice was signed had an interesting and chequered history. It was built in 1914 and served as a regular dining car until 1918, after which it was converted to an office for Marshall Ferdinand Foch. After it had been used as the location of the signing the armistice, Foch continued to use it until 1919.

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The original preserved railcar in Compiegne Museum

 

In 1921 it was moved to Paris and exhibited in the Cour des Invalides until 1927, after which it was moved back to a specially built commemorative museum near the Armistice site in Compiegne Forest.

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The rail car displayed in Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There it remained until 1940. When France surrendered to Germany, in an ultimate act of humiliation for France, Hitler demanded that the carriage be removed from the museum and placed in the same spot as the 1918 Armistice had been signed. On the 21st of June 1940, the preamble of the French Armistice was read out by Generaloberst Wilhelm Keitel and Hitler immediately left the carriage to leave the surrender formalities to his staff – another carefully calculated insult.

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Keitel reads the Armistice to the assembled French delegation in the carriage

 

Three days later, Hitler ordered the site to be destroyed, and the carriage to be removed to Berlin. It was displayed as a War Trophy in the Lustgarten outside the city’s cathedral.

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The carriage is paraded under the Brandenburg Gate on the way to the Berliner Dom

 

The piece of historic rolling stock had a sad end. As the war’s end neared and the bombing of Berlin increased, it was decided to move the carriage to a safe location in Thuringia where it was guarded by Hitler’s elite SS. As the allied invasion of Germany progressed, the SS guards followed their orders and burned the carriage in case it fell into enemy hands. The remains were buried.

After the war, the location at Compiegne was restored, the museum rebuilt and a replica carriage from the same year of manufacture was procured and re-numbered as 2419D – the same number as the original. It was filled with memorabilia and fittings from the original carriage. These had been removed to safety on the outbreak of the Second World War.

The Armistice Clearing in Compiegne was re-dedicated on 11th November, 1950

South Dublin and the Battle of the Somme

The South Dublin and the Battle of the Somme Exhibition was launched by Mayor Guss O’Connell at the County Library, Tallaght last Friday morning, 4th November.

This exhibition is part of South Dublin County Council’s Decade of Commemorations events in which we remember the pivotal decade of 1913-1923.

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Cllr. WIlliam Lavelle, Daniel McLoughlin (Chief Executive, South Dublin County Council), Mayor Guss O’Connell, David Power (South Dublin Libraries) and Bernadette Fennell (County Librarian, South Dublin Libraries) pictured at the exhibition launch.

South Dublin Libraries staff have found 12 known men from the current South Dublin County area who were killed in the various battles of the Somme campaign and their stories are illustrated here using contemporary documents and photographs. There may have been more who were recorded as having been from Dublin with no parish mentioned. More from the county area would have survived the Somme and went on to fight and die in further campaigns in the next two years. Still more would have survived the entire war and returned, traumatised, to a changed Ireland that would have been unrecognisable compared to the one they left.

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There are trench maps on display showing the location of the men’s deaths, and the original War diaries which were written up by officers in charge and these detail the actions of the various “South Dubliners’” regiments in the day . Again the statistics for South Dublin reflect those of the country as a whole. The vast majority were killed in and around the village of Guillemont where the 16th Irish Division were involved in days of slaughter to take the heavily-defended villages of Guillemont and Ginchy.

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Speaking at the launch, Mayor O’Connell said, “The South Dublin men commemorated here are a microcosm of the island of Ireland’s participation in the Great War. As with the participants in the 1916 Rising, all walks of life are represented here. We have a Trinity medical student, a quarry worker, some general and agricultural labourers, a Vicar’s son and the son of a Barrister-at-Law. The streets of the villages they left for the last time would look very familiar to us today.”

South Dublin County Council, through its library service, is delighted to host this exhibition as part of our Decade of Commemorations activities. It will run at the County Library, Tallaght until Wednesday 30th November 2016.

We are very interested in finding additional names of those locals from South Dublin County who died at the Somme (between the 1st of July and the 18th of November 1916) and who we may have missed because they were listed on official records as having been from Dublin instead of the village from which they came.

If you can help, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact: localstudies@sdublincoco.ie

Rathfarnham Historical Society November Meeting

Rathfarnham Historical Society will hold their November meeting tomorrow, 3rd November, at 8:00 pm in the Church of Ireland Parish Centre, Rathfarnham Village.

Chairman of the Society, Gregory O’Connor, will give a talk titled

‘Glimpses of Life in Rathfarnham at the Turn of the 20th Century’

All welcome! Admission for non-members is €4.00.