Poole’s Photographic Stores: photographing Waterford
3 July 2006 - 16 October 2006
National Photographic Archive
The family firm of AH Poole operated as commercial photographers in Waterford from 1884 to 1954. When the firm ceased operations, the National Library of Ireland purchased some 65,000 glass negatives (the largest single collection of photographs of its type in the country) from the Poole family.
Most of the Library’s Poole collection comprises studio portraits of local individuals and, to a lesser extent, photographs of groups of individuals from various local businesses, schools, clubs and societies, as well as photographs of various members of the Poole family.
While portraits of local people predominate, the collection also contains a number of photographs which reveal a lot of detail about daily life in Waterford and the development of the area – particularly during the Industrial Revolution, a period which had a significant impact on this port city. By the mid-19th century, for example, Waterford had acquired its first rail links to other major towns and cities, thus making Waterford city, Waterford port and nearby tourist destinations such as Tramore more accessible to the general public.
During the same period, the introduction of cross-channel services from Waterford to ports in Britain made the development of numerous hotels in the city economically viable. Even more importantly from an economic standpoint, access to cross-channel services enabled Waterford to become an industrial and commercial hub for the South East. As the city developed both socially and economically, the firm of AH Poole recorded people and events in Waterford city, New Ross and Tramore and also in the southern of Co Kilkenny.
The NPA’s exhibition Poole’s Photographic Stores: photographing Waterford , which ran in Temple Bar from July to October 2006, focused on this major historical archive and significant cultural resource – both for the people of Waterford and for Ireland as a whole. The exhibition featured almost 80 portraits and photographs of Waterford streetscapes, prominent buildings and local landmarks.