A [re]tail to tell

Published in Issue 1 (Spring 1999), Letters, Letters, Volume 7

Sir,—I found Bernard Share’s article, ‘In our own image: the brandingof industrial Ireland’ (HI Winter 1998), particularly interesting,having only recently retired from nearly fifty years in Irishretailing. The first thing I did with my new freedom was to write andpublish Retailing in Wexford 1930-1990, which covered similar ground.
I believe he is too critical of those who set up new industries inthe newly-established Irish Free State. Without those tariff walls thevast majority of the hundreds of new factories would not have survived,even if ever established. The Irish public were brain-washed intobelieving that ‘English was best’. I say this from personal experience.In the ‘40s and ‘50s, few asked for Irish manufacture; many sought‘Made in England’ goods.
Regarding the branding of goods, my recollection is of a largenumber of brand names. Boot polish—Nugget and Cherry Blossom;shoelaces—ElJay; men’s boots—Farmers Friend, Bone Dry and Dri-phit;ladies’ shoes—Hanover, Queen Maeve and Diminuette; boys’/girls’footwear—Little Duke, Little Earl, Little Duchess and Jumping-Jacks;men’s/boys’ suits—Talkraft, Dubtex, Danus and Polikoff; ladies’knitwear—Dorothy Pinnock, Luxury, Highland, Duhallow and SunbeamWolsey; ladies’ coats—Dorene, Cater Platt, Valstar and Astor; flour (inWexford)—Health in a bag. I could go on and on. These factories gavejobs to thousands of Irish men and women—well done Seán Lemass!—Yoursetc.,


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