Jun 16

Refusing to fight in World War I: Resistance to military conscription in First World War Britain and Ireland.

Poster for Conscientious Objectors talk
We are familiar with how Irish people responded to the threat of conscription during the First World War , with a mass campaign of resistance which prevented it’s introduction here. This event will look in detail at how the same threat was faced in Britain , by individuals and organisations who showed great courage in resisting, while faced not just with propaganda , harassment and violence , but also the legal threat of imprisonment and even the death penalty.

Come and hear two excellent speakers, who will also talk about the ‘underground railway’ to Ireland and the Irish anti-conscription movement.

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“Resistance to Military Conscription in First World War Britain: The Case of the Conscientious Objectors”

This talk by Lois S. Bibbings will give an overview of the legal regime which oversaw volunteerism and conscription. It will look at conventional ideas about objectors alongside an exploration of who these men (and women) were, what they did and why, what happened to them and how they were viewed. A complex picture emerges which takes us a long way from stereotypical images of objectors as simply, for example, despised, rejected, unmanly, lacking courage and/or devotedly religious.

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‘On the run –and the matter of Ireland’

This talk by Cyril Pearce will explore a largely ignored aspect of anti military resistance.From the introduction of conscription in 1916 to the end of the war each year at least 80,000 men were reported missing as deserters or absentees from the British army’s home forces. Among them was an unquantifiable number of men who identified themselves as Conscientious Objectors. Some of their stories involved Ireland as a Conscription-free place of refuge. They also involved collaboration with Irish rebels in obtaining passage to America. Their stories of temporary or permanent escape are a part of the history of Britain’s 1914-18 war resisters which has been largely ignored.

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Details of speakers -

(Lois S. Bibbings is Professor of Law, Gender and History at the University of Bristol. She began research WW1 conscientious objectors in Britain nearly 30 years ago. She has delivered numerous talks as well as writing articles and a book Telling Tales about Men: Conceptions of Conscientious Objectors to Military Service During the First World War (MUP, 2009) on the subject. She is one of the curators of the ‘Refusing to Kill: Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors’ exhibition (which moves to Bristol Records Office in the summer) and a member of Remembering the Real WW1 (https://network23.org/realww1/about/). She is also helping to put together a national WW1 festival in 2019, Commemoration, Conflict and Conscience, which focuses on telling lesser known and hidden stories of the war, including a focus on conscientious objection, war resistance, mutinies, strikes, military executions, women’s roles, commonwealth experiences, views from outside the UK as well as looking at commemoration, remembrance and reflecting on what has happened in the intervening 100 years (https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk/ccc/).)

(Cyril Pearce is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History,University of Leeds. His current research interest is British war resisters in World War 1. His book, Comrades in Conscience: The story of an English community’s opposition to the Great War (First published 2001, new edition, 2014) was based or the study of the anti-war movement in his home town of Huddersfield. The search for other places like Huddersfield is what has driven his last twenty years work. A central part of that work has been the compilation of the Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors, a database of more than 19,000 COs which is currently on-line as part of the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ project. A new book with the working title Communities of Resistance : Patterns of Dissent in Britain, 1914 – 1918, is in preparation.)

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ALL WELCOME TO THIS FREE EVENT

This event is part of a co-operative project between the East Wall History Group , the Stoneybatter & Smithfield Peoples History Project and the Bristol Radical History Group .

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Supported by Dublin City Council Decade of Commemorations Fund for Communities .

Jun 12

“Love Liberty – Hate Slavery”: Dublin’s abolition movement in the 19th century

“Tell every man that you do not understand liberty for the white man, and slavery for the black man; that you are for liberty for all, of every color , creed and country”

Richard Allen , Dublin abolitionist

Richard Allen , Dublin abolitionist

Richard Allen was born in 1803 at Harold’s Cross, which was then a rural area of Dublin. The family were part of the Society of Friends (Quakers) community in the City. His father, Edward Allen was a successful Linen merchant, and as part of his charitable and philanthropic works (as often associated with Quakers) he was a founder of the Fever Hospital in Cork Street. Edward and Ellen Allen lived at James Street and afterwards at Bridge Street. The property at Harold’s Cross was their summer residence, this being largely countryside at the time. They had a total of 15 children, with Richard being the second.

 Like most his sisters and brothers he was educated privately by a tutor, and aged 17 he became involved with the family business. In 1928 he married Anne Webb, a member of another successful Quaker business dynasty. He developed his own business, and operated from premises on Sackville Street and also Patricks Street in Cork. The building on Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) was destroyed in the fires that devastated the thoroughfare during the 1916 Rising.

Amongst his friends and wider circle of associates he would include Frederick Douglass, the American publisher William Lloyd Garrison, the temperance campaigner Father Theobald Mathew, the Dublin-born philanthropist Dr Barnardo, and the poet and balladeer Thomas Moore.

Birthplace of Richard Allen , Harold's Cross , Dublin

Birthplace of Richard Allen , Harold’s Cross , Dublin

Richard Allen’s commitment to social reform saw him embrace the temperance movement, a campaign for prison reform and abolition of the death penalty, and most significantly the anti slavery cause. In 1836, alongside two fellow successful Quaker businessmen Richard D. Webb (printer & publisher) and John Haughton (corn merchant) he founded the Hibernian Anti Slavery Society. Haughton was chairman while Allen became its secretary.

The Society was considered by its contemporaries as “the most ardent in Europe in its antislavery efforts and activities.”  One of the chief goals of the Society was to “put an end to the unholy alliance between Irishmen and slaveholders in America.”

Emancipation logo from 1860's

Emancipation logo from 1860′s

 The Dublin Ladies’ Association, auxiliary to the Hibernian Anti-slavery Society was also established. As one modern writer commented:

 “…the Ladies Associations existed as independent auxiliary bodies to the Hibernian Anti-Slavery Society, holding their own meetings, organizing fund-raisers, liaising with the female wing of the American society and perhaps most importantly producing their own texts.”

 One of the most significant acts of the society was the production of a declaration calling on the Irish in America to “UNITE WITH THE ABOLITIONISTS.”

In 1840 Allen and Webb were among the attendees of the World Anti Slavery Convention in London, the first of its kind ever held. It was an event immortalised in a painting by Benjamin Robert Haydon. Incredibly detailed, Richard Allen, Richard Webb and Daniel O’Connell can be identified clearly in this historic work of art, now on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Anti Slavery Convention

There were approximately 600 delegates present, with 17 from Ireland, representing Dublin, Cork and Belfast. Those present “included 20 members of the British Parliament, 100 clergymen of all denominations, and deputations from France, Spain, Switzerland, Canada and the United States and West Indies.”

The Dublin published newspaper The Freemans Journal reported the assembly as including “ the sooty African, the swarthy coloured man, the intrepid American abolitionist, the indefatigable West India missionary , accompanied by two newly-emancipated negroes, whose language, whose deportment, whose bearing show that they value liberty, and that they thirst to extend to others what they themselves received.”

 The convention was not without some controversy, after a row broke out over whether women could be admitted as full delegates, which led to a series of splits in the ranks. This was not unusual, as within the broader abolitionist movement some sections were seen as too radical due to their promotion of women’s equality, women’s suffrage and workers rights. The Hibernian Anti Slavery Society adopted the more progressive position that women should be admitted. The convention opted not to act contrary to ‘English custom’ and women could only observe from a designated gallery. This was despite a number travelling a far distance to participate. This outcome was criticised by James Mott, a leading U.S. abolitionist (and Quaker) whose wife had also come to London:

“One of the first acts of a Convention , assembled for promoting the cause of liberty and freedom universally, was a vote, the spirit and object of which was a determination that the chains should not be broken, with which an oppressive custom has so bound the mind of women”.

Daniel O’Connell was widely regarded as one of the most impressive figures in attendance, and after he spoke a New York State abolitionist, James Canning Fuller appealed passionately to him as he believed he “…could do more to pull down slavery in America than any other individual. To the Americans, there was a particular charm about Mr O’Connell’s name, and his influence in that country was greater than that of the whole convention. If Mr O’Connell would issue an address to his countrymen in America the effect would be felt throughout the length and breadth of the land”.

Address from Ireland

The Hibernian Anti Slavery Society undertook this task and did issue such an appeal, with Daniel O’Connell the first of the sixty thousand signatures gathered in support. There was great enthusiasm shown for the pledge, as one contemporary report illustrates:

“A young lad, about thirteen, had been most indefatigable in collecting signatures. I heard the other day, he was going from house to house in the more genteel neighbourhoods, rapping at hall doors. . . the other day he came for five sheets more. He told me he was going to school the next week, and that before he left, he must do all he could to liberate the slaves.”

The ‘Address from the People of Ireland To Their Countrymen and Countrywomen in America’ was written by James Haughton, Richard Allen and Richard Davis Webb and was immediately endorsed by O’Connell. He used the membership of his Repeal Association, (dedicated to the repeal of the Union between Britain and Ireland), to gather a reported 60,000 supporting signatures. The ‘Address’ was brought to America by the black abolitionist Charles Lenox Remond (following a tour of Ireland), where abolitionists led by William Lloyd Garrison orchestrated its public reading in Boston. The Address explicitly condemned American slavery and called on all the Irish in America to ‘treat the colored people as your equals, as brethren’. Irish immigrants were also ordered ‘TO UNITE WITH THE ABOLITIONISTS’ and that ‘Slavery is a sin against God and man. All who are not for it must be against it. None can be neutral.’

Letter 1842

Disappointingly, the address did not have the desired effect. Two decades later, in a letter to Richard Allen, a leading American abolitionist lamented:

 It is horrible to think that so large a mass of your countrymen, who have known what it is to suffer from oppression, and who have torn themselves away from their native shores, in order to find freedom in this land of boasted liberty, should be enlisted in support of the most horrible system of slavery that the earth has ever known.”

 In 1845 the Hibernian Anti Slavery Society was responsible for the visit of the great abolitionist, escaped slave and author Frederick Douglass to Irish shores. Accepting their invitation, he conducted a lecture tour, which in his own words took him from “the hill of ‘Howth’ to the Giant’s Causeway and from the Giant’s Causeway to Cape Clear.” In Dublin he spoke alongside Daniel O’Connell at Conciliation Hall on Burgh Quay, and afterwards was received by the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House. He would go on to speak in Waterford, Belfast, Limerick and Wexford before travelling across the Irish sea to Britain.

Conciliation Hall , Burgh Quay

Conciliation Hall , Burgh Quay

“The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” had been published in Boston earlier that year, and while in Dublin a British Isles edition was organised, published by Richard Webb. This sold out almost immediately on the tour, and a second print run of 2,000 was arranged, published in 1846. This was significant as it included a new preface and appendix that had not appeared in the original. Webb, in addition to this re-publication took the lead role in organising and scheduling the lecture tour in Ireland and afterwards wrote to O’Connell to stress how important Douglass was to highlighting the cause in the country, as he had “occasioned deep interest in the anti-slavery cause, and many who never thought on the subject at all, are now convinced that it is a sin to neglect” 

Remembered at City Hall , Waterford

Remembered at City Hall , Waterford (Photo: William Murphy)

The three main stays of the society were also involved in other campaigning issues. And the society itself was not only concerned about American slavery. They had campaigned against the use of ‘apprentices’ in the British colonies and after the system was abolished they challenges the use of imported Irish labourers and Chinese ‘coolies’ in the West Indies. Throughout the 1840’s the society met in Dublin at the Committee Rooms on Anglesea Street and also the Royal Exchange (now City Hall). The Famine and Great Hunger from 1845 took up the time of these civic minded members and it appears the activity of the group dwindled somewhat. They did raise the controversial issue of the morality of those who profited from the slave trade providing aid during these years. By 1847 it seems the society did not exist in any meaningful manner, though the individuals did continue to be active in abolitionist organisations until the conclusion of the American Civil War.

 Richard D. Webb (Image : Friends Historical Library)

Richard D. Webb (Image : Friends Historical Library)

Richard Davis Webb died in 1872.

John Haughton died in 1873.

Richard Allen died in 1886.

(The Harold’s Cross house where Richard Allen was born still stands today, though it is currently derelict. It appears on the famous Rocque’s maps of 1756 and 1760, and some local residents have raised concerns that the building should be preserved)

The Sarah Lundberg Summer School 2018 will address many of the issues relating to the transatlantic slave trade and how Ireland reacted. See poster below, this is a free event and all are welcome.

Belfast Boston Bristol (1)

For clarification , corrections or further information contact:

eastwallhistory@gmail.com

 

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Supported by Dublin City Council Decade of Commemorations Fund for Communities .

Jun 12

BACKYARD BLITZ – Free gardening service for over 65′s (June 2018)

D8562 BOI Backyard Blitz Flyer May 2018 East Wall_final_Page_1 D8562 BOI Backyard Blitz Flyer May 2018 East Wall_final_Page_2_1

Jun 03

At the Sean O’Casey Theatre – June 2018

As usual there is a very exciting mix of events at the Sean O’Casey Theatre this month . Here are just some of them . First up is a classic:

The Importance of Being Earnesthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jikfdJaFC6U

Next up is “Hubris” a Dublin based drama on how the wrong decisions made in the past can lead to the entrapment of your free will in later years. The mental trauma and disconnection of a troubled youth, the denial of his self destruction and once strong friendship torn apart with with bitterness. Come join us as we delve into the harsh environment of troubled souls seeking love, understanding and truth.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/hubris-tickets-45599413072

Hubris

 

And once again there’s a production from Teatro Emigrato Dublin , tickets available here http://www.teatroemigrato.org/booking/

31924509_1772889006109406_1859141276281077760_nAnd at the end of the month the annual Sarah Lundberg School takes place , featuring a number of prominent Irish speakers and special guests from the Bristol Radical History Group , this is sure to be an exciting afternoon on a fascinating topic.

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May 23

East Wall pro-wrestler in action next week (June 1st & 2nd)

31793362_585514575154577_3790381872207364096_nNext weekend local wrestling superstar Darren Kearney will be in action . On Friday he is back on his home turf at the Sean O’Casey Community Centre. His last appearance here saw him and his partner (‘More Than Hype’) winning the Irish tag-team titles. Friday will be their first title defense. And on Saturday you can catch him make his debut at the Tivoli venue . Two great events not to be missed, and a chance to see a local superstar destined to be a big international name as he climbs the ladder to success.

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May 16

CAREER L.E.A.P. – Opportunities for young people , May 2018

Career Leap 2018_Page_1Career Leap 2018_Page_2

May 13

“Ireland and the African slave trade” – Exciting conference at Sean O’Casey Theatre

On Saturday the 23rd June the East Wall History Group & the Alternative Visions Oral History Group will host the 2018 Sarah Lundberg Summer School. Each year the event is held in honour of our friend and colleague Sarah Lundberg, an Archivist, Historian and publisher who tragically passed away four years ago. This is a free event , and will run from 11am to 4.30 pm at the Sean O’Casey Theatre , East Wall.

The abolition of the slave trade
The Transatlantic slave trade was responsible for the forced removal and enslavement of somewhere between 12 to 15 million Africans. The majority of these were transported to the Americas and the Caribbean. Sold into inhumane and brutal bondage, many would also die due to the horrific conditions of the voyages. All the major European countries were involved at some stage, but Britain would emerge as the largest slave trading nation in the world. Despite the great wealth and prosperity generated, a powerful abolition movement emerged and consistently challenged the trade. While Ireland was part of the United Kingdom at this time, our main ports at Belfast and Dublin did not significantly engage with the trade.

This year, the Sarah Lundberg Summer School will look at Ireland and the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. In a wide range of talks , we will look at how slavery literally helped shape the United States, how Irish Radicals rejected the trade , how a leading abolitionist toured Ireland & found common cause with people here and we will also hear how in Bristol locals are still challenging the slave trading legacy of one of the city’s founding fathers.

The topics to be discussed are as follows: 

“Compromising Democracy to Build a Nation: America’s Path to Civil War” -

The period from 1800 up to 1861, when the American Civil War began, was characterized by a series of actions and reactions regarding the expansion of slavery, which redefined the idea of American freedom in the process.Each time the country physically expanded, the issue of slavery had to be addressed: Was it going to be allowed in a territory? Was a new state going to enter the union as a slave state or a free state?As these issues and others were addressed and compromised on, there was a reaction from those who favoured slavery – the Slave Power – and from those who didn’t –Abolitionists. These actions and reactions continued until finally, America reached a point at which compromise was no longer possible, splitting the nation in two in 1861.

(Speaker: Cecelia Hartsell)

Frederick Douglas in Ireland , mural in Belfast

Frederick Douglas in Ireland , mural in Belfast

‘Frederick Douglass in Ireland: ‘The Black O’Connell”. - 

In 1845, the escaped slave, author and abolitionist Frederick Douglass arrived in Ireland as part of a lecture tour to promote the anti slavery movement. He travelled a country which was on the brink of famine and the Great Hunger, and shocked listeners with his graphic descriptions of torture and mistreatment of African slaves in America. He was inspired by, and also inspired ‘the Liberator’ Daniel O’Connell, and was impressed with how his own message was received, but equally shocked by the terrible poverty he witnessed here.

(Speaker: Laurence Fenton)

Irish support for the abolition of transatlantic slavery

Irish support for the abolition of transatlantic slavery

“Your humble servant but not yet your slave: Belfast radicals and the slave trade” - 

Many port cities in England embraced the slave trade, and the merchant classes of Cities such as Liverpool, London and Manchester enjoyed the prosperity it brought. Though it had a comparable capacity, the Port of Belfast did not follow this path. A centre for Protestant radicals and Republicanism, this was a significant factor in the rejection of the Trans Atlantic slave trade. This talk will explore how Irish radicals responded to the ideals of abolitionism but were also divided on the question of slavery itself, despite their republicanism.

(Speaker: Fergus Whelan)

Anti slavery image form 18th century
“Edward Colston – Bristol’s ‘merchant prince’, ‘moral saint’ and slave trader” -

The Countering Colston campaign was launched in Bristol in 2015 to challenge the celebration, commemoration and memorialisation of the city father and slave-trader Edward Colston (1636-1721). Its primary aim was to uncover and popularise the real history of Colston and to expose the contradictions in institutions who continue to defend his dual status as ‘merchant prince’ and ‘moral saint’.

( Speaker: The Bristol Radical History Group)

Contributors:

Cecelia Hartsell is a researcher of American history, specialising in twentieth-century war and society. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and is completing her doctorate in American History at Fordham University in New York City.

Laurence Fenton is a writer and editor living in Cork. He is the author of four history books, including two on Frederick Douglass.

Fergus Whelan is a former officer of the Irish congress of Trade Unions and now a full- time historian with a focus on the history of Irish radicalism, Protestant Dissent and the United Irishmen. His books include “Dissent into Treason: Unitarians, King-killers and the Society of United Irishmen” (2010) and “God Provoking Democrat: The Remarkable Life of Archibald Hamilton Rowan” (2015).

Each year the event is held in honour of our friend and colleague Sarah Lundberg, an Archivist, Historian and publisher who tragically passed away four years ago. Each year she is remembered by a short speech from those who worked with her . This year we are delighted to announce that Rosa Whelan , who was a student in Sarahs creative writing group at Mount Temple Comprehensive school, will share her memories of Sarah.

A light lunch will be provided .

All welcome to this FREE EVENT.

Tickets available here : https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/belfast-boston-bristol-ireland-and-the-african-slave-trade-tickets-45413696589

sarahlundbergsummerschool@gmail.com

May 13

Darkness into Light 2018 : East Wall Youth do us proud

01Congratulations to all the club members from East Wall Youth who took part in the Darkness into Light walk . They were part of an incredible 200,000 who participated in this important annual event , aimed at promoting suicide prevention and tackling the stigma that surrounds mental health.

It's only 3 am and they were on their way to Phoenix Park.

It’s only 3 am and they were on their way to Phoenix Park.

East Wall Youth ...doing us proud

East Wall Youth …doing us proud

And lets not forget all the others from the community who played their part , though we must question why they are disguising their North-Side pedigree ? Well done to all .

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May 13

Sean O’Casey Festival – Auditions and workshops

Sean O'Casey Culture NightThe Sean O’ Casey Theatre will be the venue for a festival celebrating Sean O’ Casey, his life and works in September 2018.

Planning is in place as part of the festival for community productions of Sean O’Casey Plays including one of the ‘classics’ and a selection of Short plays .

Do you want to be part of this exciting project ? 

Two evenings of Workshops / Audition be taking place . These will be hosted by Fran Laycock (of the Sean O’Casey Theatre) and are for all ages interested in participating in the productions .

The Workshop / Auditions are taking place at the Sean O’Casey Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday 16th & 17th May , from 7pm to 9pm each evening.

Opportunities are available across all theatre elements:

There will be not only casting for the performances but also for those with an interest as designers ,Production & Stage Management .

Sean O'Casey performances  have always caused excitement !

Sean O’Casey performances have always caused excitement !

To reserve a place on the workshop or to find out further details:

Contact Fran at :  laycock.fran@gmail.com 

Apr 13

“Coining it” – Paydays and pilfering at the Docklands Bomb factory

Womens Wartime Fund

In 1915 munitions fever struck Ireland as the possibility of high paying jobs of £4-10 per week in English Factories presented themselves, coupled with the announcement that Ireland was to get its own munitions industry with National Shell Factories being established around the country. Similarly, Private Industry took up the challenge in the form of companies such as Hutton’s of Summerhill and Ashenhurst Williams of Store Street (manufacturing  precision parts for bombs) and the Dublin Dockyard Company (which manufactured the actual shells themselves).

Dockyard Munitions shares

By May 1917 nearly 18,000 Irish people had emigrated to work in the English and Scottish Munitions Industry causing one Limerick Newspaper to comment that Irish people felt “money was to found on the floors of English Munitions Factories the way shells were found on the Irish seashore.”

One young Dubliner seems to have felt that Irish Munitions Factories should present similar possibilities. Patrick Robinson was a 15 year old messenger-boy from the North Inner City. Robinson worked at the Dublin Dockyard War Munitions Factory which from 1916 produced 18 pounder shells throughout the First World War. 95% of the staff at the factory were women, due to an arrangement with the Amalgamated Society of Engineers called Dilution. Through this, women replaced men in the workplace thus freeing the men up to fight in France. Due to a successive number of agreements their pay was rather good with some of the girls making up to £2.10.0 per week. Sean O’Casey mentions a Dockyard munitions worker called Jessie Taite, “coinin’ it in”, who had over £200 in her Post Office saving account.

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Young apprentices, on 4 shillings per day, could only look on envious, with the likes of messenger-boys and other unskilled laborers being left behind in their wake. The Dockyard was known for being an extremely good employer with few industrial problems from its establishment under Scottish born John Smellie in 1901. Ironically, strike action would escalate throughout the war years of 1916-18, almost exclusively involving apprentices, who due to the terms of their indentures, were prohibited from earning any of the big money on offer. These were unsuccessful. Smellie, having proved his point, would usually let them off with a warning and so they avoided the punitive financial penalties liable for illegal strike action during the war, often involving up to several months wages.

Robinson lived in Lower Gloucester Street with his widowed mother and sister. It’s likely that his meager pay had to stretch to support the family which would have put him under some pressure. Perhaps he found it humiliating to see girls, some the same age as himself, making a man’s wages. Whatever the reason, rather like the Limerick Newspaper suggested, he began to see the possibilities of all the scrap metal lying around the machines in the Dockyard Munitions Factory.

On the evening of the 27th July 1917, when coming off shift, James Bearsley, the Munitions Factory Foreman, noticed some suspicious bulges in young Robinson’s pockets. Searching him Bearsley found that they were copper bands used in attaching fuses to the 18 pounder artillery shells. Taking him to the factory Manager, Mr. Royce, Robinson confessed that he had taken similar rings before; he apologized, and then offered to pay the £2 he had received from a scrap dealer in Gloucester Place for the rings that he’d taken previously. Royce patiently explained to Robinson that it wasn’t that straight forward. All metal used for making artillery shells were supplied to the factory by the Ministry of Munitions and had to be accounted for. Scrap metal was charged for by the ministry as they could be sold at a profit and the Ministry was opposed to profiteering. However, these rings were not scrap, and directly affected the Factories production schedule. The factory was contracted for a specific number of shells each month. The fuses, and the copper bands which attached them to the shells, were made by separate contractors and supplied by the Ministry. An exact number, matching the Ministry’s order would have been supplied and without the full compliment of copper rings the factory would not be able to fulfill their order.

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Under pressure, Robinson began to realise the full implications of what he’d done and agreed to co-operate. Shortly afterwards, Albert Siev, a 24 year old Polish born scrap-metal dealer at Gloucester Place, was arrested for receiving several consignments of stolen rings and prosecuted under the rather severe Defense of the Realm Act (DORA).

It’s probably worth noting that quite a number of Irish Citizen Army and Irish Volunteer members worked in the Dockyard, the Munitions Factory, and Dublin Port and things did “vanish” from time to time. It was something of a joke among Dockyard foremen, well into the 1950s that when tools and equipment went missing, they would usually explain it with “there must be another revolution coming soon.”

Having given evidence at Siev’s trial, Robinson avoided prosecution, and it seems may have even held onto his job. It may have seemed harsh to prosecute Sieve under the DORA Act but it was a serious matter and there may have been suspicions that they would ultimately end up in the wrong hands. Both Sieve and his young female assistant denied having ever seen Robinson in their shop.Whatever the authorities suspected they could not prove their case against Siev and he was dismissed on the 28th August. Two years later, while in business with his brother George, he was arrested for handling stolen bicycles, so it seems likely that his buying the copper rings was motivated by profit rather than any political ends.

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If you have any clarifications, corrections or additional information please contact us. We are particularly anxious to hear from family members of women (or the small number of men) who were involved with the Munitions Industry. All contributions or assistance will be fully acknowledged and credited.

eastwallhistory@gmail.com

As part of the ‘Irish Women and the First World War’ series taking place at City Hall , Hugo McGuinness will be giving this talk next Tuesday 17th April in the Council Chamber ,City Hall, Dame Street .

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