The Quaker Trail has been developed by Waterford Cultural Quarter to highlight important sites relating to the industrial heritage of the Quaker community in the O’Connell Street area of Waterford city. With thanks to Joan Johnson who approached Waterford Council with the vision for a Quaker trail in the city, and is testament to many months of Joan’s research, hard work and tenacity.
The guided trail is on Thurs 27th and Sat 29th at 12pm. Cost is free and limited to 15 people. Meet Joan Johnson at the Granville Hotel at 12pm.
The first Quakers arrived in Waterford in 1655 as refugees as many were fleeing from religious persecution in England. Within 150 years of arriving here many of the families had moved to O’Connell Street and had become highly successful in business. O’Connell Street was the hub of enterprise in the city due to its proximity to the port.
Families such as Jacobs, famous for biscuit making, and Penrose, instrumental in establishing the celebrated Waterford Crystal glass are two well known Quaker family names that had business in the area.
The Waterford Municipal Art Collection was formed by Quaker families and this important collection of art is now exhibited in the new Waterford Gallery of Art on 32/33 O’Connell Street. The Quaker Meeting House, now Garter Lane Arts Centre, was the place of worship for this community until it was relocated to Newtown. Waterford Distillery which was set up by the Strangman family in 1792 as a brewery is at the eastern end of the Cultural Quarter.
Quaker families were involved in the establishment of the Waterford Chamber of Commerce based in the Port Building, the establishment of Waterford’s railways, shipbuilding, iron foundries and the building of the first bridge crossing the mighty River Suir.
They were also highly involved in social work including Famine relief, alleviation of poverty, championing the rights of women and religious tolerance.
The printed trail leaflet can be picked up at Waterford Treasures, Waterford Gallery of Art, Garter Lane Arts Centre and in local businesses in Waterford Cultural Quarter . Click onto the image below to access a digital copy of the map. If you have difficulty viewing the digital copy please open this page in an alternative browser such as Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox.
Quaker and Newtown School contribution to Art in Waterford
Firstly, congratulations and happy 21st birthday to IMAGINE ARTS FESTIVAL! Seeds were sown 21 years ago which took root and have multiplied, yielding a great harvest.
90 years ago a little-known Artistic seed was also sown; in 1932 Hilda Roberts came to Waterford having married Newtown School’s Headmaster, Arnold Marsh. Her arrival had a profound effect on the Arts scene in Waterford. Hilda was an up and coming Artist, having studied in Dublin, London and Paris. She was a member of an emerging group of painters in Dublin, along with the likes of Paul Henry, Mainie Jellett, Evie Hone and Desmond O’Brien. After moving, she continued her painting in a specially converted studio at the entrance to Newtown School. She also taught Art classes to the pupils.
In 1934, she and her husband arranged to hold an Art exhibition in the School. This was held annually for many years, greatly appreciated by pupils and others. Exhibitors and visitors included the above named quartet, but also Sir William Orpen, Sean Keating and Jack B. Yeats.
From these early beginnings the Waterford Municipal Art Collection was created. Other Quakers, including Dorothea Jacob and William Glynn, were involved and donated Art works. It is wonderful, nowadays, to see the increasing development and exposure of this Municipal Collection in the recently opened Waterford Municipal Gallery in O’Connell Street.
Art teachers at Newtown during this time were Robert Burke and Robert Doupe, both well-known in the City. They inspired school pupils in all forms of Art. Then came Roger Garbett and currently Claire Dillon and Blaithan Hughes These teachers have inspired countless artists since then. In 1998 (Newtown’s Bicentenary year) an exhibition was held with over 30 Old Scholars exhibiting. These included Paul Mosse, Andrea Jameson, Carol Hodder, Jill Canning, Lucy Hill, Lynn Foster-Fitzgerald, Stephen and Simon Pearce, Nicholas Mosse, Tania Mosse, Annabel Konig, Olivia Musgrave, Mandy Parslow and many others.
A retrospective exhibition of Hilda Roberts’s work was held in 1998, curated by Jenny Haughton. This toured from Waterford to the RHA in Dublin, the Crawford Gallery in Cork and the Hunt Museum in Limerick. A fine publication, detailing the many paintings and drawings involved, as well as giving background to Hilda’s life, was produced by Peter Murray and Joan Johnson.
May IMAGINE continue to flourish as it comes of age.
Congratulations from Joan and Roger Johnson.