Wednesday 2 February 2022

A newly discovered account book records names and earnings of building labourers working at Armagh Workhouse in 1846

The RCB Library's Archive of the Month for February 2022  features an unusual and rare set of building specifications and related materials concerning various church-related properties and other premises in the city and county of Armagh during the mid-19th century.

While these may not be a first port of call for all readers of Irish Genealogy News, there's a real gem in this collection for family, social, and local historians. It's a fascinating workman's account book detailing workmen's names, hours and payments per day while engaged on works at various locations in Armagh City: the Northern Bank, 1845; the Workhouse, 1846; and 'Works Generally, 1846'. (RCBLibrary MS 1116/3/1.) The Archive of the Month feature includes a sample from it.

These collections were found in records from St John’s Cathedral in Sligo, and after some investigation, it has transpired that all of the materials relate to properties in Armagh, and most were executed by or for John Farr, Builder, The Mall, Armagh. The material includes estimates and specifications for specific named buildings and works such as a new shambles for the city, a school house for St Mark’s parish, and repairs of the Precentory building attached to the Cathedral.

A sample from the Workmen's Account for April 1846
showing days worked and earnings for the men grafting at the Workhouse.
Click image to view detailed page.