« Co. Kildare Online Electronic History Journal Home »


Turnips and cycles the order of the day

Leinster Leader 12 April 2007

Turnips and cycles the order of the day

by

Liam Kenny

Turnips, turnips, turnips – not the most arresting of headlines in a paper but this was the lead in to an advertisement viewed with great interest by the practical Leinster Leader readers of April 1907.

A major role of the paper then, as now, was to provide a market place for the multitude of goods and services being traded by the householders, artisans and farmers in the locality.  So important were the small advertisements that the newspaper management placed columns of small ads on the front page– clearly reflecting too the value of the ads as revenue for the paper.

The following is snapshot of the small ads in the Leinster Leader in April 1907.

Starting with our Turnips! Advertisement readers were told to
 ‘Apply to Morrin, Kilteel for a quantity of good turnips, Green and Purple Top For Sale – cheap.’

Given the prominence of farming in the county economy it is not surprising that many of the advertisements featured produce being sold by farmers. Equally there was no shortage of early farm machinery or curative products being marketed by suppliers to farmers. The following are some samples:-

‘ Conway’s Foot Rot  Cure is a Speedy Remedy for Foot Rot or Halt in Sheep. NB: A Genuine Article from practical experience,  not paper knowledge. Price 9d per bottle. Prepared only by Conway, Naas.’

‘ Corn Drills – Drills with two wheel steerage or pole. Price list and all particulars on application to Duthie, Large and Company, Foundry, Athy.’

All aspects of the rural economy were evident in the small ads, often proclaimed with an entrepeneurial flourish:

‘ Eggs for setting – Pure Minorcas, 1s a setting, postage 6d; Prize winners,  Apply Mrs. Kennedy, Monread, Naas.’


 There was also evidence of a property market as witnessed by the following advertisements:

‘ Furnished apartments to let. Inquire Miss Scott, Friary Road, Naas.’

‘ To Let – Rose Cottage, Rathcoole; Five Apartments; good garden; nice frontage, shrubs. Apply: P. Hayden, Rathcoole.’

‘ To Let – Cottage and Two Acres, Capdoo Commons, Clane. Apply Ms. Minney.’


And if any of the foregoing property owners were inclined to improve the amenity of their premises the Leader small ads of April 1907 highlighted a range of what today we might call ‘DIY’ products:

‘ Bricks!Bricks!Bricks! For Tullamore Bricks, apply to T. P. and R Goodbody, Tullamore.’

‘ Field Drainage – drain pipes of best quality at moderate prices, also flower pots and all kinds of garden pottery, delivered free on rail from Dublin. W O McCormick, Kill O’the Grange pottery, Monkstown.’

Modern homeowners with environmental inclinations might be surprised to learn that a  century ago there was a premium on low energy household amenities. A small advertisement under the heading ‘Water’ proclaimed that the Duthie Large foundry in Athy would ‘Supply and erect Hydraulic Rams and Windmills for Water Supplies at the lowest rates.’

Getting around the county was also a low energy affair judging by the means of transport highlighted in the small advertisements. Although the first motor cars had made an appearance the bicycle was still the preferred modes of travel, a reality reflected in the advertisements:

‘ Intending purchases of the famous Rudge Whitworth bicycles, please note we are the sole agents for Maynooth, Kilcock and districts. Prices: ladies and gents from £5 8shillings. Dawsons, Maynooth.’

While Dawsons may have cornered the bicycle market in north Kildare further south there was competition from across the county boundary:

‘ Humber Cycles, still best for honest value. From £6 6s cash – Price Brothers, Portarlington.’

Thus a survey of the Leinster Leader small advertisements revealed an impressive array of products for sale. It may be a far cry from the bouncy castles or computer debugging services which feature in the small ads of April 2007 but it reflects the ongoing role of the paper as marketplace for a multitude of daily needs and luxuries.

Compiled by Liam Kenny, from the rich resources of the Leinster Leader files in the Local History Dept., Kildare County Library.

Liam Kenny's article from the Leinster Leader 12 April 2007 highlighting the range of goods and services on offer in the small advertisemnets in the Leader of 1907 - from his regular column, 'Nothing New Under the Sun.' Our thanks to Liam.


Powered by
Movable Type 3.2