A recent visitor to our exhibitions, David Charles Hutchins, came to Skibbereen because his two grandfathers once both had businesses in the town.
And what a fascinating story he had to tell!
One of his grandfathers, Walter Charles Kindred, first came to Skibbereen to work as a chauffeur for Captain Morgan of Hollybrook House.
Around 1905, Captain Morgan decided that he wanted to undertake a tour to India by car and so Kindred was taken along to drive his Rolls Royce as well as taking care of repairs etc along the way. The Grand Tour of India took some years to complete and even reached Singapore!
On their return they found that a storm had knocked down many of the large old trees on the Hollybrook Estate and Captain Morgan instructed that they be cleared off the land.
His chauffeur sensed a business opportunity and opened Kindred Saw Mills in Ilen Street, now the premises of the ‘Southern Star’ newspaper, where he operated a large-scale sawmill and box-making industry. While operating this thriving business, Kindred married Lillian Carter, formerly a housekeeper at Bunalun House, which was near Hollybook Estate.
Soon their first son, Ronald Walter Kindred (David’s father) was born and they went to live in Grove House, just outside Skibbereen on the Drimoleague road ( the building is now open to guests).
Kindred’s entrepreneurial spirit also led him to set up the Carbery Bus Service during the years of WW1 as the first bus service to run between Skibbereen and Cork city. This very successful business was run by Kindred until he sold it to the Southern Railway Company in 1937. He returned to his native Suffolk just before the outbreak of the Second World War but it seems he never forgot West Cork as he named his house ‘Carbery House’.
David’s grandfather on the ‘other’ side also had a business in Skibbereen.
Ethelbert (Bert) Glantha Hutchins moved from Cobh to Skibbereen around 1930.
Hutchins opened a jewellery shop in 34 North Street Skibbereen (in the premises now occupied by Aisling’s Hair Salon) while his daughter, Mary Stuart Hutchins, ran an optician’s shop from the first floor of the same building.
Mary Stuart Hutchins married Ronald Walter Kindred in Abbeystrewery in 1938 and left Skibbereen with her new husband and his father Walter Charles Kindred. They returned every year to Ireland and it seems their Irish accents came back to them when they visited!
We are very grateful to David for sharing this fascinating story about his family’s connections to Skibbereen.