• Title
    Cobh Town Council
  • Reference
  • Date
  • Creator
  • Scope and Content
    The surviving records of Cobh Town Council, formerly Cobh Urban District Council and Queenstown Town Commissioners, focus on the administrative, legal, and financial functions and activities of local town government. The collection contains a complete set of council minute books from 1853 to 2014 [TC/CQ/M/1-33]. Combined with the other council records the minute books are an important source for researching the origins and development of nineteenth century town government in County Cork. The minutes record celebrations of the opening of the naval facilities at Haulbowline and the 'incog[nito]' visit of Prince Napoleon Bonaparte in 1857 [TC/CQ/M/1], continuing to the foundation of the Irish Free State and the eventual withdrawal of the British navy from the lower Cork harbour area in 1938 [TC/CQ/M/7], and end with the abolition of the town council form of government in 2014 [TC/CQ/M/33]. The minute books are a unique and important source of local history for Cobh, with important events, businesses, and economic activity given mention alongside the official activities of the town council itself. The Cobh Town Council collection is also an important source for family history or genealogical research. The minute books record many letters of condolences for persons living in Cobh issued by the council, with some minutes including response letters from the bereaved families. The council records also include the archives of the cemetery at Old Church from 1879 to 1985, with burial locations for graves at Old Church present in a series of burial registers from 1879 to 1975, [TC/CQ/CY/A]. The history of the graveyard itself is of local and regional historical interest. Located on the northern side of the town, Old Church cemetery is known as the mass burial ground of the Lusitania victims, as well as local heroes such as boxer Jack Doyle. Other sources within the collection relevant to family history research include the record of car owners and drivers licences issued by the council from 1888 to 1957 [TC/CQ/DL], and the record of town rate payers from 1916 to 1929 [TC/CQ/R/RB]. The register recording payments for car and driver licences from 1888 is of particular historical interest given that the mandatory licensing for drivers by local authorities did not come into force until 1 January 1904 with the Motor Car Act. The civic records contained in the collection include several series relating to the development of the town's roads, paving, seaside promenades, fire-fighting services, markets, water supplies, and sewerage. Weekly meetings of the Road Committee [TC/CQ/RO] refer to reports of the town surveyor, responsible for the maintenance of roads, paving and other public spaces in the town. These minutes are a primary source for tracing the history of Cobh, as they refer to use of the outdoor spaces in the town for holding markets, and other civic events. The minutes also contain opinions of the town council on wider issues in Irish politics, especially the condemnation of local landowner Arthur Smith-Barry, 1st Baron Barrymore, during the Land War of the 1880s [TC/CQ/RO/1]. The surviving financial and legal records of the council contain information on council ownership of civic property, and the purchase or rent payments received by council for social housing [TC/CQ/FI]. Major capital spending is recorded in the Register of Mortgages 1864-1957 for sewers, burial grounds, public conveniences, waterworks, and the purchase of a town fire engine in 1869 [TC/CQ/FI/RM/1]. Amongst the financial records are papers relating to an audit scandal in 1920-21, when the town clerk refused to provide the Local Government Board access to the council's financial records [TC/CQ/FI/AU]. Cork County Council manager orders relating to Cobh are also present in the collection, and include references to the physical expansion and redevelopment of the town's public and private housing [TC/CQ/MO]. The Managers Orders also include decisions relating to the appointment and salaries of council employees from 1958 to 1981. The situation of Cobh as the welcoming point for ships entering Cork harbour is well illustrated in the surviving records of the council. As such the council records allow for research into the wider history of Cork city, harbour, and the Munster province. Significant historical events, such as the visit of RMS Titanic, and the sinking of the Lusitania at the Old Head of Kinsale are given prominence in the council minute books of the period. The minute books contain enclosures that illustrate these events, including a receipt card for the Titanic Disaster Fund [TC/CQ/M/004], and letter correspondence with Cunard Steam Ship Co. Ltd. following the sinking of Lusitania [TC/CQ/M/W/005]. The purchase of graves at Old Church Cobh for the Lusitania victims is recorded in the surviving cemetery grave grants [TC/CQ/CY/A/2]. Lesser known historical events, such as the naval casualties resulting from a submarine explosion accident in March 1905 are also recorded in the council's weekly minute book records [TC/CQ/M/W/004]. Civic receptions held at the Town Hall in Cobh are an important local history source, recording events such as the official opening of the public swimming pool with Mr J. Tully T.D. in 1975, a visit of President Mary Robinson in 1993, and a reception for Olympic athlete Sonia O'Sullivan in 1998 [TC/CQ/VB].
  • Extent
    54 items (33 volumes and 21 boxes)
  • Language
  • Level of description