As the Collen Archive Project enters its final stages a small exhibition highlighting Collen’s contribution to Ireland’s built environment has gone on display in the Long Room and online. This coincides with National Heritage Week, 22-30 August 2015, during which, Ireland’s industrial and design heritage will be celebrated at events across the country.
The photographic exhibition outlines Collen’s evolution, from its origins in 1810 at Tandragee, County Armagh, to the opening of a Dublin branch in 1872, and its separation into two branches in 1949. It explores how the brothers Standish and Lyal Collen, both graduates of the School of Engineering at Trinity College Dublin, combined experience and innovation to develop and expand the new company, Collen Brothers (Dublin) Limited, during the late 20th century.
Photography, by professionals and amateurs, both during and after the completion of construction projects, was a regular feature of Collen’s activities; it provided a visual record as well as a resource to support marketing activities. For researchers and the general community, the thousands of photographs in the Collen Archive provide a connection between the past and the present; they record details about aspects of Ireland’s development and the built environment which complement information captured by the official written records.