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Do you recognise anyone in this 1937 photo?

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One day in Gleesons in Tottenham.

  • Gleesons in Tottenham, 1937
    Gleesons in Tottenham, 1937

This photograph was taken in 1937 at a site of Gleesons in Tottenham, North London.

Most of the men in the photo are from County Mayo in Ireland, with the one exception being the tall man in the centre in a light coloured sweater, who was from Limerick. The gangerman was able to select labourers from his own county.

The photo was sent to us by Jim Walsh, who is hoping to find anyone who could provide further information. He writes:

“My father James Walsh from Lanmore, outside Westport has a big smile on the right side of the front row. The other significant person [in the photograph] is Pat McNicholas who was to later (in 1948) found his own building Company called McNicholas Construction.

"My father got married to Sabina Naughton from the neighbouring County Roscommon on Christmas Eve 1938. Their first home was in Burgoyne Road, Harringay. Their first child was born in March 1940.

"However, the concentrated bombing of North London in Spring 1941 made my parents decide that they were safer out of the capital, as my mother was pregnant with me. They decided to go back to Ireland and lived with her sister and family.”

After Jim was born, the family moved to Portarlington, County Laois where the government decided to build a Turf burning Electricity Generating Station and recruited many hard working men from the West of Ireland.

Once it was built, however, there was once again a shortage of work and Jim’s father James headed back to London whilst the family stayed in Ireland.


Jim writes: “There was no choice. We were known as the Registered Envelope Children as our fathers would get paid on a Friday in cash, put as much as possible in the Registered Envelope and post to home. We would see our father for one week at Christmas and two weeks in the summer from 1947 to 1955.

"As children we enjoyed Ireland and got well educated by the Christian Brothers and Presentation Convent. I loved my sport, mainly Gaelic football but listened to Radio Luxembourg during 1953-54 to Wolves as they played Honved of Budapest and Moscow Dynamo.

"When we came to London I asked my father to take me to see Wolves play when they were in London. So on 27 December1955 we saw Wolves play. They were winning 2-1 with a few minutes left when Derek Tapscott scored the equaliser. From then I became an Arsenal fan and still am 69 years later.”

  • Do you recognise anyone in this photo? Perhaps you know someone who worked for Gleesons, or McNicholas? If so, contact Rosa:

Identified men in photo

Bottom left - John O’Donnell - from Kiltimagh

Second left -  Ginger Byrne - Swinford or Kiltimagh

Centre at back - Pat Mc Nicholas/ Bohola

Centre Front - Shanahan from Limerick 

2nd from right - Reilly - Belmullet

1st right - James Walsh - Lanmore, Westport