A Fascinating Story of Skibbereen Ancestors


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.

Walter Charles Kindred
Walter Charles Kindred chauffeuring Captain Morgan


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!

Kindred in the Rolls Royce which he drove to India

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.

Kindred Saw Mills were located in Ilen Street, just next door to the West Cork Hotel. It seems the owner of the hotel used to complain about the bottles and glasses rattling in the hotel when the sawmills was in operation! The site is now the premises of the ‘Southern Star’ newspaper


Kindred inside the sawmills

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).

Walter and Lillian’s son Ronald Walter outside their home Grove House. It seems that Lillian went to England to give birth so that Ronald Walter child would be born an Englishman
Walter Charles and Lillian Kindred and their family at Grove House

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’.

Walter Charles Kindred with the Carbery Bus which operated the first bus service between Skibbereen and Cork

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.

The name over the door of the shop was ‘E.M. Hutchins’ after Ethelbert (downstairs jewellers) and Mary his daughter (optician upstairs)
The building as it is today

Mary Stuart Hutchins outside her shop in North Street. It seems Mary was quite a ‘character’ as she was the first woman to wear trousers in Skibbereen town!


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.

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