Ellen Murray, one of Greg’s great great grandmothers, arrived in Victoria in 1854 as an assisted immigrant on the ‘Persian. Also on board was her sister Bridget. The passenger list records Bridget and Ellen Murray as both from Dublin. Their religion was Catholic; both could read and Ellen could also write; Bridget was twenty-four (which means that she was born about 1830) and Ellen was eighteen (born about 1836).

Ellen married James Cross, a gold digger, at Buninyong in 1856. The marriage certificate states her father was George Murray, a glassblower, and Ellen nee Dory.

On 1 May 1825 George Murray married Eleanor Doyle at St Mary’s (Pro-Cathedral), Dublin. Witnesses to their marriage were Joseph Carolan and Margaret Ryan. I believe these are Ellen Cross nee Murray’s parents and that Doyle was mistranscribed on the marriage certificate.

George and Ellen (Eleanor) Murray had the following children baptised mostly at St Mary’s

  • Mary, baptised 18 March 1826
  • Peter, baptised 17 May 1827 at  St Michael and John’s, Dublin
  • Bridget, baptised 12 November 1828
  • Peter, baptised 21 February 1831 (2 records for same name and date)
  • Joseph, baptised 3 April 1834
  • Ellen, baptised 21 May 1836

In 1826 at the time of Mary Murray’s baptism the family were living at McLinburg Street. This is probably Mecklenburg Street which later had an unsavoury reputation.

The back gate of the Gloucester Street laundry, where the delivery vans once came and went, is on Railway Street, formerly called Mecklenburg Street. In 1904, Mecklenburg Street was a terrace of grand but fading Georgian houses, and it was here that James Joyce set the “nighttown” section of his novel “Ulysses,” a phantasmagoric visit to a brothel run by “a massive whoremistress” called Bella Cohen.

She was a historical figure. And Mecklenburg Street was the heart of a square mile of brothels, speakeasies and slums that took its informal name — Monto — from Montgomery Street, the next street over. It was here, when southern Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom, and when Dublin was a major garrison town of the British Empire, that the authorities tolerated, even encouraged, what was often described as the biggest red-light district in Europe.

Monto was a last resort for runaways, widows and abandoned wives. Madams like Bella Cohen controlled them with violence and money, keeping them in debt to pay for clothes and lodgings. As they left their prime teen years, lost their health and their looks, the women passed from “flash houses” for the wealthy to the cheap “shilling houses” and then to the alleys. Those who became pregnant were dumped on the street. 

From the New York Times DUBLIN JOURNAL “A Blot on Ireland’s Past, Facing Demolition” January 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/world/europe/magdalene-laundries-ireland.html

Georgian houses in 1826 of course would have been relatively new and perhaps the neighbourhood was not so run down at the time.

Georgian housing in Summerhill, Dublin. Image from Flickr, taken by Sean Bonner 2013. CC by 2.0.

Glassmaking in Dublin probably began about 1675. There were many glass houses in Dublin in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many products were produced in Dublin including bottles, cut glass, decanters and goblets, looking glass, plate glass for coaches.

Dublin glass houses from Irish glass : an account of glass-making in Ireland from the XVIth century to the present day page 29 from archive.org
Irwin’s Glass-House, Potter’s Alley, Dublin; Whyte’s Glass Shop, Marlborough Street, Dublin, and Glass- 
House at Ringsend. From 1845 advertisements.
Interior of a glass-house, showing the furnace with openings to the pots, workmen at the chairs making glass objects, blowing glass, mavering glass on the maver in the foreground, the various tools used, and, to the left, the annealing oven. From Irish Glass page 38.

Sources

  • Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915 retrieved through ancestry.com
  • Westropp, Michael Seymour Dudley (1920). Irish glass : an account of glass-making in Ireland from the XVIth century to the present day. Herbert Jenkins, London. Retrieved through archive.org.

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