West Cork History

Cork Southern Reporter 1st June 1820 on Calamity in Cork, Failure of Roches Bank and Stoppage of Leslies Bank.

It was not an exaggerated headline.  The economy was delicate after the end of the Napoleonic Wars but the failure was an unmitigated disaster triggering a wave of bankruptcies, mass unemployment emigration from which it could be argued that Cork did not recover until the late 20th century.  In 1800 it had the same population Bristol by 1900 Bristol had a population five times that of Cork.

The only Bank to survive was that of Pikes (Quakers) a successor of Hoares.  The Pike family later lived at Bessboro in Blackrock which was bought by the Nuns in the 1920s, where they ran the notorious Mother and Baby Home.  It had the distinction of being the only one whose Reverend Mother was fired By Dr. Deeney of the Department of Local Government…

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