Ireland 1940 - A snapshot in Time



Lumpy Talbot

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Anyone else getting a faint whiff of 'the noble savage' style admiration for the past here?

I wonder how many people in Ireland of the 1940s would happily swap the lives they had back then for the lives we have now.

I have a feeling it would be a substantial uptake.
 

Travis Bickle

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We've more children homeless today than we did then. Progress folks ;)
 

Lumpy Talbot

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We've more children homeless today than we did then. Progress folks ;)
Would have been a bit of a bonanza for the half-men of the religious orders when you think about it. At least there's a better than even chance most of them would be able to walk straight these days.
 

RasherHash

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[video=youtube;90h2gLgTz5g]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90h2gLgTz5g[/video]
You're right, it was much more feisty and colourful then.

I think colour just came in then, everything was black and white before that :|
 

RasherHash

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Anyone else getting a faint whiff of 'the noble savage' style admiration for the past here?

I wonder how many people in Ireland of the 1940s would happily swap the lives they had back then for the lives we have now.

I have a feeling it would be a substantial uptake.
What did they do before mobile phones for one thing?
 

gatsbygirl20

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During the year 1940 the number of deaths returned as due to diseases of pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperal state was 208.

This figure is equivalent to a rate of 3·67 per 1,000 births, compared with an average of 4·32 in the preceding ten years. The corresponding rate for urban areas was 2·76 per 1,000 births, and for rural areas, 4·24, as compared with 3·12 and 3·56 respectively, for the year 1939.

There were 3,759 deaths of infants under one year of age registered during the year. This figure is 68 above that for the year 1939, and is equivalent to a rate of 66 per 1,000 births·; the rate for last year was also 66. The rates per 1,000 births for urban and rural areas were 85 and 55 respectively in 1940, and 83 and 55 in 1939.

Among legitimate infants the rate of mortality was 60 per 1,000 births, and among illegitimate it was 246. The legitimate infant mortality rate for Northern Ireland was 82 and the illegitimate, 167 ; and for Scotland 76 and 120 respectively.

The number of deaths registered as caused by violence was 1,067. Included in this figure are 99 due to suicide, 13 to homicide, 12 to war operations, 2 to execution, and 941 to accidental or unspecified violent causes. During the previous year there were 80 suicidal, 15 homicidal and 815 other violent deaths. The number of accidental deaths registered during 1940 as attributable to road traffic was 210, compared with 198 for the previous year.
https://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/r...uments/birthsdm/archivedreports/P-VS_1940.pdf
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE REGISTAR GENERAL 1940

Estimated population: 2,958,000

Births: 56,594

Deaths: 41,885

NORTHERN IRELAND, 1940

Population: 1,296,000

Births: 25,363

Deaths: 18,941

Interestingly the Birth and Death rates North & South were almost the same but the Marriage rate in the North was Higher!

Illegitimate Births.-The births registered during 1940 include 1,824 of illegitimate children, a figure which is 43 more than that for 1939. The number for 1940 is equivalent to a rate of 0·62 per 1,000 of the population, and a rate of 3·22 per cent. of the total births recorded. The respective rates for the previous year were 0·61 per 1,000 and 3·18 per cent.

In Northern Ireland for 1940 the rate per cent. of the total births was 4·61, and for Scotland 5·89.



From the table below it will see the illegitimate rate was highest in Ulster counties and lowest in Connacht.


Food for thought here methinks....
Grinding poverty. Of a kind you cannot imagine

My great - aunt died in childbirth. So did her neighbour. My father's young sister died after being discharged from hospital following an appendicitis operation. A local nurse suspected that something was seriously wrong, but getting to the doctor in the nearest town by bicycle or donkey and cart over un-tarred roads, took too long

My father's neighbour turned his daughter out of the house when she became pregnant, and she walked the roads, sleeping in barns and haysheds. Nobody would risk public censure by taking her in

She was put into a public asylum, a mental hospital and she died there in 1980

Houses in the rural West had no running water or electricity. Women slaved away, washing clothes at the nearest stream or river in all weathers, boiling kettles on an open fire for all washing, including slicing in the farmyard.



Only the well-off got any education beyond the age of 12

The rest left in droves on cattle boats to take up unskilled labour in England

Young people died of TB, including my uncle aged 22

Women endured pregnancy after pregnancy.

It was paradise.
 

runwiththewind

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Well at least your honest enough to admit that the 'Magdalene Laundries Scandal' was a carefully constructed Modernist narrative with a political purpose...

Fact is only a very tiny number of women who became pregnant outside of marriage

- ever ended up in these places....

As a trained Historian we were taught to carry out original Research, dig deep - and separate Fact from Fiction

Sometimes we can unearth nuggets

- that some people find hard to swallow....
25% were sent to the laundries by court order. Remind us again of which state law they broke.
 

GDPR

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Grinding poverty. Of a kind you cannot imagine

My great - aunt died in childbirth. So did her neighbour. My father's young sister died after bei g discharged from hospital following an appendicitis operation. A local nurse suspected that something was seriously wrong, but getting to the doctor in the nearest town by bicycle or donkey and cart over un-tarred roads, took too long

My father's neighbour turned his daughter out of the house when she became pregnant, and she walked the roads, sleeping in barns and haysheds. Nobody would risk public censure by taking her in

She was put into a public asylum, a mental hospital and she died there in 1980

Houses in the rural West had no running water or electricity. Women slaved away, washing clothes at the nearest stream or river in all weathers, boiling kettles on an open fire for all washing, including slicing in the farmyard.



Only the well-off got any education beyond the age of 12

The rest left in droves on cattle boats to take up unskilled labour in England

Young people died of TB, including my uncle aged 22

Women endured pregnancy after pregnancy.

It was paradise.
How well said. My mothers people were "strong farmers", they were able and they were keen on sending even their daughters to be educated in private fee-paying schools.

I have a picture of my great-grandmother on her honeymoon in Dublin in the Edwardian Era, dressed to the nines, with a leghorn hat and a hobble skirt. She must have only worn it once, because the next picture is of her drawing water at the well, six months pregnant.

Then she died of puerperal complications at the age of 32. She would have sailed through nowadays.

People have no idea of the devastation. My grandfather when he was slightly wandering near death, said " I thought I was with my mother, she was coming back over the fields." He was five when he last saw her.
 

runwiththewind

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The population of the State was pretty constant up until the 1960s

Circa 2.9 million people
100 years before, the population of the island was nearer 12,000,000. Now where is the discussion about that.
 

Jack Walsh

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We've more children homeless today than we did then. Progress folks ;)
I hear you but
I would prefer sleep in the back of a car than an orphanage of the 1940s
I saw the tail end of this in national school in the 1970s, with 3/4 from the orphanage in each class
Miserable, beaten and 2nd class citizens, they never stood a chance and many are already long dead.

Quite how bad it was for their equivalents 30 years earlier I barely want to think
 

Lumpy Talbot

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One possible explanation is that there is a tendency with age to look back at one's youth as a golden time and assume it was the same for everyone at that time.

The only problem is that that memory is of a time when the child was protected and ignorant of the harsh realities of life.

And life was pretty harsh for a lot of people in Ireland in the 1940s, to a degree which would seem brutal today.
 

Jack Walsh

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Grinding poverty. Of a kind you cannot imagine

My great - aunt died in childbirth. So did her neighbour. My father's young sister died after being discharged from hospital following an appendicitis operation. A local nurse suspected that something was seriously wrong, but getting to the doctor in the nearest town by bicycle or donkey and cart over un-tarred roads, took too long

My father's neighbour turned his daughter out of the house when she became pregnant, and she walked the roads, sleeping in barns and haysheds. Nobody would risk public censure by taking her in

She was put into a public asylum, a mental hospital and she died there in 1980

Houses in the rural West had no running water or electricity. Women slaved away, washing clothes at the nearest stream or river in all weathers, boiling kettles on an open fire for all washing, including slicing in the farmyard.



Only the well-off got any education beyond the age of 12

The rest left in droves on cattle boats to take up unskilled labour in England

Young people died of TB, including my uncle aged 22

Women endured pregnancy after pregnancy.

It was paradise.
Stop, you will have them welling up with emotion and nostalgia, longing for their catholic homeland now gone.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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No
Personally I'd have no objection to sending them back there.
 

Jack Walsh

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One possible explanation is that there is a tendency with age to look back at one's youth as a golden time and assume it was the same for everyone at that time.

The only problem is that that memory is of a time when the child was protected and ignorant of the harsh realities of life.

And life was pretty harsh for a lot of people in Ireland in the 1940s, to a degree which would seem brutal today.
Agreed

I salvaged a modicum of a social life as a teenager and young adult in the 1980s and look back with fondness at good stretches of that time
But that doesn't blind me to how dark and sh*t the country was then
 

shutuplaura

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Significant proportions of the population in the Free State (as it it was then), NI, and Scotland lived in grinding poverty.

Agricultural, industrial and energy production were all a fraction of current levels. State subvention was focussed on necessities not Patrick Neary scale pensions.

And that meant that large sections of the population were struggling.

The most marked difference, when comapred to present day society, is the effective dismantling of any form of personal stoicism, that enable people to overcome great odds.

Such features as resiliency, self discipling, and hard headed thinking interrupts the penetration of advertising, in effectively keeping the poor, from moving up.

Effectively, advertising, and group buyer behaviour have become programmed into the populace to produce clueless robots who do as they are instructed.
Misty eyed nonsense. People lapped up escapist mass media in the 1940s and people today display fortitude and self reliance. If you can't spot it it's because you choose not too.

Yes but people back in 1960 experienced life with much more joy, intensity and depth than they do today.
You are unbelievably naïve to think this.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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Agreed

I salvaged a modicum of a social life as a teenager and young adult in the 1980s
But that doesn't blind me to how dark and sh*t the country was then
I hear you. I was pretty ignorant of the gothic side of Irish life as we came back from England to a satellite town with no history of Magdalene Laundries etc so the emergence of that news and what was going on in the darker side of the state's social history was something of a horrific education through the 1980s and 1990s.

I did ask the older generation what they knew of it and only then heard of the 'don't ask, don't tell' side of life in the 70s, 60s and back to the 40s.

Some people say that their parents threatened them with the 'institution' or laundry when they misbehaved but I never experienced anything of that.

I still recall being rooted to the spot listening to a radio report on Ann Lovett. In the same way some people recall where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the Kennedy assassination.
 

PBP voter

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I hear you. I was pretty ignorant of the gothic side of Irish life as we came back from England to a satellite town with no history of Magdalene Laundries etc so the emergence of that news and what was going on in the darker side of the state's social history was something of a horrific education through the 1980s and 1990s.

I did ask the older generation what they knew of it and only then heard of the 'don't ask, don't tell' side of life in the 70s, 60s and back to the 40s.

Some people say that their parents threatened them with the 'institution' or laundry when they misbehaved but I never experienced anything of that.

I still recall being rooted to the spot listening to a radio report on Ann Lovett. In the same way some people recall where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the Kennedy assassination.
Did you not know about the savage children's homes in the UK?

Or the mother and baby homes in the UK?

Or the British orphans shipped out up to Australia till the 80s?
 

Jack Walsh

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I hear you. I was pretty ignorant of the gothic side of Irish life as we came back from England to a satellite town with no history of Magdalene Laundries etc so the emergence of that news and what was going on in the darker side of the state's social history was something of a horrific education through the 1980s and 1990s.

I did ask the older generation what they knew of it and only then heard of the 'don't ask, don't tell' side of life in the 70s, 60s and back to the 40s.

Some people say that their parents threatened them with the 'institution' or laundry when they misbehaved but I never experienced anything of that.

I still recall being rooted to the spot listening to a radio report on Ann Lovett. In the same way some people recall where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the Kennedy assassination.
My father frequently scared my brother and me with "you two could be sent to Dangean or Letterfrack" if we were misbehaving
it was just bluster (my mother gave us the odd well deserved smack of a wooden spoon when we were well out of order, but he never laid a finger on any of us) but it does show that he knew these places were brutal kips, even if not the full extent of the horrors within.
 


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