Blog 3- Material Culture in the City: Water Troughs in Cork City. (Conor Hornibrook, 113454658)

You could easily walk past it, ignoring the delicately carved exterior for the more attractive assemblage of blooming flowers that line its crown, but it is indeed there, a reused relic of an older age. Once an integral part of an interconnected transport network, critical to the movement of people and goods in and out of Cork city, water troughs now stand out dotted among the modern cityscape, functioning as a home for plants and rogue cigarette butts.

 

Map

Fig 1: Map showing location of water troughs in Cork city in relation to a map printed in 1852 prior to the Cork Exhibition. Image Source

Equivalent to petrol stations that accompany motorways, these infrastructural features kept Cork flowing in the late 19th Century, allowing horses to rest and drink before moving on. Today there are 4 remaining examples in the city and at face value they appear to be nothing more than components of an outdated infrastructure, hardly worth a second glance. Within these hollowed limestone vessels however exists the essence of the new modern city,  controlled, rational and ordered. Though many of these troughs did not survive the subsequent expansion of the city, those still standing are a testament to the concept of modernity, strategically placed on important route ways as part of a wider network.

Fig. 2: Water trough on Ship St. with a view of St. Patrick's Church in the background. (Author's Photograph)

Fig. 2: Water trough on Ship St. with a view of St. Patrick’s Church in the background. (Author’s Photograph)

 

 

Fig. 3: Water Trough at Parnell Place. Nowadays the trough has been superseded by the bus station, positioned just beyond the feature. (Author’s photograph)

 

 

Fig. 4: View of water trough at junction of Douglas St. and Langford Row. (Author’s Photograph)

This highly functional feature contains more surprises however. Each example is decorated with identical Gothic design, and “displays evidence of fine stone crafting and carving and is of well-executed design”, surely an unnecessary addition for the object to be practical but an aesthetically appeasing inclusion such as this is an insight into the deeper ambitions of modernity in Cork city, promoting aesthetic beauty through rational functionality.

The implication of this is best realized via the trough at St. Lukes.

Fig. 5: Trough at St. Lukes, with a view of the toll booth and St Luke's Church in the background. (Author's Photograph)

Fig. 5: Trough at St. Lukes, with a view of the toll booth and St Luke’s Church in the background. (Author’s Photograph)

The trough is located adjacent to a toll booth, set to tax farmers and traders on the value of their goods upon entry to the city. Here we see the meshing of administrative and infrastructural architecture into the cityscape and the structured layout of modernity being implemented.

 

Data Sources [Accessed 16th November 2015]:

A Deal Not to be Missed! Advertising in the Modernist City. (Blog #2, Conor Hornibrook 113454658)

For as long as people have been making and creating things, there has been someone angling to sell them. Advertising appears almost as natural to us as the process of production itself. The earliest recorded advertisements come from the criers of Babylon (c. 3000 BC) who would declare the virtues of their wares to the passing public (Mogel, 1993, p.4) .

 

Fig. 1 H. B. McCalla, Successor to the Late Andrew McCalla. Number 252 Market Street. First Hat and Cap Store below 8th Street, South Side, Philadelphia c.1852. chromolithograph ; 53 x 34 centimeters. The World Digital Library: http://www.wdl.org/en/item/9405/#q=advertisement&page=2 (Accessed 30th October 2015)

Fig. 1 H. B. McCalla, Successor to the Late Andrew McCalla. Number 252 Market Street. First Hat and Cap Store below 8th Street, South Side, Philadelphia c.1852. Chromolithograph ; 53 x 34 centimeters. The World Digital Library: http://www.wdl.org/en/item/9405/#q=advertisement&page=2 (Accessed 30th October 2015)

Here, the building itself is the advertisement, complete with slogans and gargantuan top hats so that passers-by would be drawn in by the colours and styles on offer. This photo dates to the mid 19th Century in Philadelphia and shows how the city itself became a canvas for constant and ever-present advertising. In the 19th/20th Centuries, North America and Europe benefited from explosive urban expansion. Cities as centralised commercial centres were well placed for advertising as a separate sub-industry to develop and it is interesting to note what impact this had socially.

Fig. 2 Exterior marble work, seen from the corner of Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street, 1904. Still Image, The New York Public Library Digital Collections: http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-3780-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99 (Accessed 30th October 2015)

Fig. 2 Exterior marble work, seen from the corner of Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street, 1904. Still Image, The New York Public Library Digital Collections: http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-3780-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99 (Accessed 30th October 2015)

This next image shows the variety of goods advertised and the styles used. At a busy intersection on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street in New York City, one is offered whiskey, paint, cosmetics and a cure for constipation, all against the backdrop of a burgeoning city. These non-essential goods are bombarded at citizens of the city, the new consumers and were not restricted to a set gender or class but rather target as much of the city’s demographic as is possible.

Fig. 3 Ladder-Men working in London, c.1877. 'Street Life in London', 1877, by John Thomson and Adolphe Smith. Available from London School of Economics Digital Library: http://digital.library.lse.ac.uk/objects/lse:vox326fum (Accessed 30th October 2015)

Fig. 3 Ladder-Men working in London, c.1877. ‘Street Life in London’, 1877, by John Thomson and Adolphe Smith. Available from London School of Economics Digital Library: http://digital.library.lse.ac.uk/objects/lse:vox326fum (Accessed 30th October 2015)

The ladder-men of London show the scale of advertisement utilised in a major city such as London. The average citizen’s eye-level view would have dramatically changed during this period as the city grew upwards and outwards with mortar and brick replaced by posters and billboards. The act of advertising itself became an art and an industry in its own right.

 

Fig. 4 Mr Wynne advertising his Photographic Studio, Castlebar, Co.Mayo, 1880, Wynne, Thomas J 1838-1893 photographer. Albumen print ; 10 x 12cm. National Library of Ireland: http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000227327/Holdings#tabnav (Accessed 30th October 2015)

Fig. 4 Mr Wynne advertising his Photographic Studio, Castlebar, Co.Mayo, 1880, Wynne, Thomas J 1838-1893 photographer. Albumen print ; 10 x 12cm. National Library of Ireland: http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000227327/Holdings#tabnav (Accessed 30th October 2015)

In an Irish context, and though Castlebar was not a city, it had an urban population who desired the same goods as their contemporaries in Dublin. The art of photography is intrinsically linked to the development of advertising and allowed business owners to promote themselves in new and innovative ways.

 

Fig. 5 Man and boy leading horse-drawn cart, advertising Ballyshannon show. ca.1890-1910. Clarke, J. J. (John J.), 1879-1961, photographer. Photographic Print ; 6 x 9 cm. Clarke Photographic Collection, National Library of Ireland: http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000169080 (Accessed30th October 2015)

Fig. 5 Man and boy leading horse-drawn cart, advertising Ballyshannon show. c.1890-1910. Clarke, J. J. (John J.), 1879-1961, photographer. Photographic Print ; 6 x 9 cm. Clarke Photographic Collection, National Library of Ireland: http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000169080 (Accessed 30th October 2015)

Finally, not all advertising was a subtle enterprise, as seen here with a well-dressed gentleman and accompanying apprentice waving a bell with ass and cart in tow. Advertising then was a prevalent part of life in 19th/20th Century cities, sometimes crude, often effective, it percolated throughout society and created a city of consumerism, with each citizen as a prospective consumer.

References:

  •  Mogel, L. 1993, Making it in Advertising: An Insider’s Guide to Career Opportunities, pg. 4

Blog #1, Digital Urban Maps (Conor Hornibrook, 113454658)

Fact and Fiction: Public Space in Fictional Cities

               Why do people create worlds other than this one? In religion, science fiction and philosophy there are a plethora of fictional worlds, Utopias, that inspire and intend to capture the essence of true perfection. What form this “perfection” takes on is dependent on the cultural background of the architects themselves. In the example I have chosen, Andreae’s Christianopolis (Figure 1), his motive was the construction of “an ideal city on a pietistic socialistic basis” (Abercrombie, 1920, pg. 99).

Figure 1. Christianopolis and ground plan. (Source: https://archive.org/details/reipublicaechris00andr, accessed 5th October 2015)

Figure 1. Map of Christianopolis and ground plan. (Source: https://archive.org/details/reipublicaechris00andr (pg 221-222), accessed 5th October 2015).

Johannes Valentines Andreae was a German priest who designed a Utopian city, dubbed Christianopolis, in 1619 (For technical details of the city’s architecture and design see Abercrombie, 1920). The city is a mythical paradise, of concentric walls set in a square frame with interior apartment blocks, aligned at right angles in rows orbiting the core structure within the city, the College. As an urban design and public space, it radiates order and structure which were desirable traits to the logical mind of a Renaissance theologian, equally intrigued by science and piety. Yet this ornate and intricate city exists only on paper and in the mind of the creator.

Figure 2. Map of Calw, Reichsamt fur Landesaufnahme, 1893)

Figure 2. Map of Calw (Source: Reichsamt fur Landesaufnahme, 1893, via http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~216719~5502909:Composite–604–Calw-, accessed 5th October 2015).

For the sake of comparison let us view the city of Calw. Andreae was part of the committee that rebuilt the city of Calw, following the city’s destruction during the Battle of Nordlingen (1634). The city, visible above, is a rigmarole of corners and looping paths with its shape dictated entirely by the flow of the river Nagold. This hardly reflects the carefully constructed rows and symmetrical design of Christianopolis. The Utopian city in its grand design is meticulously regulated, even down to the level of the individual citizen as “visitors to Christianopolis are tested as to their moral suitability, backgrounds, and character, and are subjected to an intellectual cross examination” (Davis, 2008, pg. 14)

By creating a fictional world, one can create beauty via public space, untainted by the real world with its perceived mortal filth, needs and degeneracy. In this context, the public space is not a street or a park but a whole city, an idea that is superimposed on an already existing and understood institution, the urban environment, but re-imagined in a way that reflects the power, values and in many ways the lamentations of a powerful few, who view their world and city as a failed attempt at what could have been.

 

References:

  • Abercrombie, P., (1920) Ideal Cities: No. 1 Christianopolis, The Town Planning Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, Liverpool University Press, pp. 99-104
  • Davis, J.C, (2008) Going Nowhere: Travelling to, through, and from Utopia, Utopian Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1, Penn State University Press , pp. 1-23
  • Morrison, T. (2013) The Architecture of Andreae’s Christianopolis and Campanella’s City of the Sun, Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 30, Open, vol. 1, p 259-271.