The story of W & R Jacob’s biscuit factory is the story of an indigenous Irish industry, one which celebrated 150 years of successful existence in 2001. It is the story of an industry which became part of the fabric of Dublin and, later, of Tallaght, and indeed of Ireland, through providing jobs and sweet treats for generations of inhabitants.
The course of Irish industrial and social history is mirrored in the story of W & R Jacob. The company and its employees have their own story to tell of events such as the 1913 lockout; World War I; the 1916 rising; the development of export markets and a presence in foreign markets; the growth of the Irish Free State; the merger with Boland’s to form Irish Biscuits; the move from its Bishop Street base to Tallaght, its aquisition by multinational companies, to the ultimate closure of the Tallaght factory in 2009.
On the 23rd January the Jacob’s Oral History Project, which was commissioned by South Dublin Libraries and carried out by Irish Life and Lore, was launched. In recent years oral history has emerged as a powerful means of recording and preserving the unique memories and life experiences of people whose stories might otherwise have been lost. The voices and memories of the former staff of the iconic Jacob’s biscuit factory were recorded for this collection and thanks is due to them – Douglas Appleyard, Jonathan Bewley, Brenda Boyd, Iris Smart, Andrew Cleary, Grace Cox, Arnold and Mary Duggan, Michael Jenkins, Leo O’Donnell, Séamus Ó Maitiú, Kay and Geraldine O’Reilly, Gordon Poff, Michael Purcell, Michael and Mary O’Reilly, Douglas Wilson and Neville Wiltshire.
An exhibition of Jacob’s memorabilia also runs at the County Library, Tallaght until 22nd February 2014.