High Street 1946 from the Crawford collection
A major collection of photographs by archaeologist Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford has been presented to Kilkenny Archives by Mrs Richard (Julia) Crampton of Maidenhall, Bennetsbridge, the only daughter of Hubert and Peggy Butler.
During world War II Crawford worked with the National Buildings Record, photographically documenting a number of the towns which were badly damaged during that war, Southampton being one of these.
The survey of Kilkenny was done in 1946 and was a gift by Crawford to Hubert and Peggy Butler, who befriended him during a visit to ‘Southern Ireland’.
Since its acquisition by Kilkenny Archives the collection has been digitised and is available for consultation at their headquarters on the St. Kieran’s College Campus.
Amongst the photographs are views of Old St. Mary’s Church and grounds which is now the newly opened Kilkenny Museum. Crawford documented many of the mural slabs which still survive in situ. The value of collections such is this is ably demonstrated by the fact that when the work commenced on St Mary’s Church, interior and exterior views of the building and complex were obtained from the archive, which dated back to the 1890s.
Another historic gem, St. Francis’s Abbey, which has recently come into the ownership of Kilkenny County Council, is also documented.
There is for instance a partial view of the old St John’s Church, which was subsequently dismantled and much of the stone re-used in the building of the Collier Wing at St. Kieran’s College. This city church was a twin to the parish church at Inistioge. There are also some views from around the countryside, notably of Cantwell Fada at Kilfane. The detail picked up by the
photographer in this collection ably demonstrates his professional skill.
This wonderful collection predates the photos of Kitty Lanigan by at least 20 years, part of which collection is held by Kilkenny Archives, the gift of the Lanigan family in 2015. The balance of the collection which has been promised is yet to come into the archive.
The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford holds the photograher’s camera and his film roll.
Kilkenny was indeed honoured to have had the eye of this acclaimed man cast over it often shabby and run-down post war appearance. Yet again Kilkenny owes a debt of gratitude
to Hubert and Peggy Butler and their family.