OUR TOWN C. 1850-2000


In the words of the 2008 architectural survey, this substantial mid-Victorian building "retains many of its original features, including its fine sliding sash windows and decorative surrounds, with some interesting early twentieth-century features extant".

According to Griffith's Valuation, "the Misses Ellen and Mary Fitzpatrick" lived here in 1850. They were leasing from William Murphy (possibly the bootmaker and leather merchant listed in directories in 1837 and 1846) and were succeeded by Christopher and William Whelan. Tobias Bannon - who we've already met in the Market Square - was living here at the time of the fire in Phelan's: as reported in The Freeman's Journal, he "particularly distinguished himself: when the fire was at its very height, he jumped upon an outhouse next the flaming straw, the thatch was quickly torn from the roof, Mr Bannon in evident danger, smashing through the rafters and woodwork and so cutting off communication from that end."

The next occupant was Michael Corcoran, Butter Merchant. Licensed Grocer/Hardware/Merchant and, after him, the premises were vacant until 1909 when George W. Ardill from Roscrea announced the opening of his new grocery shop here. The cheapest house in Maryborough to buy goods for cash also took in butter and eggs in exchange for goods (and, in 1911, advertised for sale a purebred Airedale dog which, we were assured, was a splendid ratter and a bargain at three guineas). In the 1920's, if you did your shopping here on a Thursday, you could also avail of the services of a visiting Specialist in Artificial Teeth.

The 1911 census lists three families living in these premises: Mr Ardill, his wife Sarah1; John Manley, a prison warder from Dublin and his wife Sophia Lucy; and Patrick McGough2. According to Eddie Boylan, a family named Ard once lived in a house in Ardill's yard. I have found no other reference to this, but maybe that house was home of the Manleys or Patrick McGough?

Mr Ardill died in 1963, aged 80, and was interred in St. Peter's churchyard in the Market Square. The next shop here - grocery and fancy goods - was owned by the Lynch family, followed - for a short while in the late 1990's - by Micro Tech Computers, the self-explanatory De Barbers (2004), and Revive Beauty Salon on the second floor. In May 2014, the latter offered these May Specials: 30% off Medical microneedling, Microdermabrasion and Agera Peel courses. No thanks, just the Million Dollar Brows, please.

No doubt your eyes have already strayed to the sextet of fine specimens above? But amateur trichologists among you will have spotted the lamentable absence of the boston, the duck's arse, the afro, the comb over, the mohawk, the undercut, the ponytail, the pigtail.... But you must admire the gentleman on the bottom right who has successfully combined the careers of opera singer, naturalist and dexterous wielder of the wobble brush.


1 They also kept a boarder, an English sawyer named Edward Mathews; the first appearance of that ocupation in this project.

2 The latter is not listed on the main census page, but on Form B1, the House and Building Return.