1939 Compulsory Purchase Order for Labourers Cottages, Bantry, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Schull, Skibbereen


Conditions for housing for labourers wee appalling.

Eldon Potter, (1836-1906).  A Sterling Irishman’, Skibbereen Eagle, An Eye on the Tsar.   Sir John Gorst, M.P., Royal  Commissioner on Labour,   Aughadown, 1891

Eldon Potter, (1836-1906). businessman, editor and later owner of the paper commonly called the Skibbereen Eagle.  In 1891 he hosted Sir John Gorst in a historic  fact finding mission to West Cork and reported extensively.  There are harrowing descriptions of distress, absolute poverty and hopefulness.  In a sense for the poorer classes the ripple effect of the Famine lingered well into the 1890s with periodic partial crop failure agricultural depression.  It was not confined to just Catholics there  were many poor Protestants  in the districts west of Skibbereen.

Conversely post famine there was significant consolidation of farms holdings,  the commercial development of the towns.  This is a reflection in the rising number of readers of the Skibbereen Eagle and  the range of advertising of goods and services.

Potter was fiercely independent. Perhaps a legacy of his father being a United irishman.  A Patriot in Jonathan Swift’s description as one who grew 2 blades of grass where 1 grew before.  His enormous funeral is a testament to the respect he commanded from all walks of life regardless of politics or religion.

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From around the 1890s there were moves to provide labourer cottages. The plots seem to be between an acre and a half. These over were generally resisted by the farmers who saw the loss of good land and felt the the compensation offered was never adequate.

The houses but from the 1930s seem to have been fairly robust but with the extensive use of sea sand they were prone to dampness.

The schedules give the land owners