Historic Evans Home seeks stories to tell

The Butler Gallery is seeking the assistance of the Kilkenny public in documenting the history and stories of the Evans Home building off John Street in the city, which is soon to become the gallery’s new home.

The Butler Gallery is seeking the assistance of the Kilkenny public in documenting the history and stories of the Evans Home building off John Street in the city, which is soon to become the gallery’s new home.

Lisa Cassidy is compiling an oral history of the building, and she is now appealing for anyone with stories, anecdotes or information tidbits about Evans Home to contact her: Local people, former residents or workers – even neighbours or passerby who might have a snippet of information, regardless of how trivial it may seem.

“I’m trying to find anyone with family or friends who might have a story or knowledge of it,” she says.

“I am interested in the history of the home in Kilkenny, but also as an institution. My curiosity is in the stories, the social history.”

The Butler Gallery was recently awarded a grant of €10,000 from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht towards ‘The Interim Project: An Investigation and intervention into the Evan’s Home and Environs, Kilkenny’, which is also part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Programme 2007-13.

This project will enable the Gallery to record and gather the architectural and social history of the Evans Home, which will be displayed in the museum upon its completion. This will be another important component of the visitor experience, contextualizing the history of the building and sharing the unique story of its former inhabitants.

The Evans Home, a former almshouse, was founded in 1818 and designed by the Kilkenny Architect William Robertson (1770-1850). It was set up under the will of philanthropist Joseph Evans, who contributed to many charities in Kilkenny for the improvement of conditions of the poor.

The building is enclosed within a medieval walled garden, which forms part of the lands of the historic site of St John’s Priory, off John Street in the city.

The relocation of the Butler Gallery to the Evans Home site is to embody the character of Kilkenny respecting the old and embracing the new, creating a living cultural experience. The development is to add to the ‘Kilkenny Medieval Experience’.

If you have anything to contribute on the topic, or know of anyone who might, contact Ms Cassidy on 086-4001083 or email lisaannecassidy@gmail.com.