Cork: Merchant City

Cork: Merchant City

Merchant Princes

William Crawford’s Journal c.1820

Page from William Crawford’s journal recording farm and house expenses.  Of particular interest (at the end of the page) is the information about his servants: he employed a valet, groom, cook, kitchen maid, house maid, nursery maid and wet nurse. A groom was a manservant, generally one who looked after horses.


By 1792 William Crawford (senior) had moved from County Down to Cork where he was a co-founder of the successful Beamish and Crawford brewery. He occupied a fine residence ‘Lakelands’ at Blackrock, to the east of the city overlooking the widening River Lee.  His son, William Crawford (junior), continued his involvement with the brewery, but also was active in the cultural life of Cork.  He was one of the founders of the School of Art of which his son, William Horatio, was a generous benefactor. The journal of William Crawford (junior) provides a fascinating glimpse into the day-to-day world of one of the wealthy, cultured merchants of Cork.

The Journal contains household accounts as well as a list of books in the private library byGreek, Latin and Italian authors. Crawford had an extensive and wide-ranging library.  The journal also includes sketch plans and other minutely recorded details of the small estate at Lakelands, Blackrock, held by William Crawford. He outlined many aspects related to farming his lands there.  His son William Horatio Crawford developed a renowned arboretum at Lakelands, specialising in rare trees and shrubs.  The house was demolished after the death of W.H. Crawford in 1888.
(CCCA U18 Beamish & Crawford)

William Crawford Journal

Previous Image    Next Image