Friday, 31 January 2014

PRONI shows its romantic side

Since Valentine's Day is now just around the corner (as you may have noticed from the big red lovehearts adorning practically every shop window in the high street) PRONI's gone soft and found a romantic theme for its February document of the month.

Here's the story:

In 1935, a native of Seattle, USA, attempted to take charge of Cupid by writing to the Lord Mayor of Belfast seeking an “Irish colleen” for a wife.
This would-be suitor was quite specific in his requirements for a bride who would “join him in the journey of life”. Assuring the Lord Mayor that he was “well enough fixed” financially, he also provided the names of three referees that would vouch for his character.

Brett Irwin from PRONI’s Private Records’ team, who picked the document of the month, said: “I was drawn to the letter because I loved the idea of the Lord Mayor of Belfast’s duties including wife-finding! This is definitely added value for rate payers.”

Maggie Smith, Director of PRONI said: “It is testament to the diverse range of records held at PRONI that a ‘Lonely Hearts’ letter was found in the seemingly unlikely location of a box
of Belfast Corporation papers.
“We hold over three million records in PRONI and I would encourage everyone to visit PRONI and delve into the records. You never know what you might uncover.”

Unfortunately, PRONI has been unable to ascertain if the Lord Mayor responded to the request!

In the PRONI catalogue, the letter is contained in a Local Authority file with the PRONI reference LA7/3/A/40. The document is open to the public and available to view at PRONI.

Or just click the images to read the letters.