'This was 1965/6 when Carnaby Street and the Beatles were getting into stride, a whole new idea of menswear was looming'

File: http://www.lifehistoriesarchive.com/Files/BGS35.pdf

Dublin Core


'This was 1965/6 when Carnaby Street and the Beatles were getting into stride, a whole new idea of menswear was looming'


Billy Gallagher remembers the gradual decline of the family shirt-making business and describes the efforts made to revive the business.


Billy Gallagher


Trinity College Dublin




This item is protected by original copyright

Access Rights

This content may be downloaded and used (with attribution) for research, teaching or private study. It may not be used for commercial purposes without permission.


Billy Gallagher

Is Part Of

Work and employment


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Dublin, Clery's O'Connell street

Temporal Coverage


Life Story Item Type Metadata


'The Foyle' was languishing already in 1961 and continued on this downwards trajectory until finally going bankrupt in November 1967. Uncle Jack took ill in 1965 leaving only my father and me (and two widows, non-executive and one widow, mother of 'Rowdy' the cocker spaniel who 'managed' the factory). It was rudderless and broke. In a family business like this, information, if it existed, was not shared. I only had a rough idea how things were (from reading the uncle's 'letter'). My father was not willing to let me see accounts and it took almost a year to elicit any movement. When eventually my father showed me the position, in as far as he knew it, all I had were three years' accounts, two years out of date that I couldn't read. At this the time the Anglo Irish Free Trade Agreement was being mooted. The idea, pushed by SeՍn Lemass and Garret Fitzgerald was that there should be a free trade area between Ireland and UK. This seemed an insurmountable obstacle to us, we had no confidence whatever in our ability to cope with imported merchandise and there seemed no possibility that an export market could be found for our very old fashioned merchandise. This was 1965/6 when Carnaby Street and the Beatles were getting into stride, a whole new idea of menswear was looming but we had neither the knowledge nor skill to know how to approach it. Based on the precariousness of the business I found a sort of way. By buying fabric over the counter in Clery's and by watching '6-5 Special' on television every Saturday we could create a new model and fabric every week. I would go to Clery's on Monday having seen the pop programme (6-5 Special) on Saturday and produce something new. We could get a sample made overnight, sell production from it on Tuesday and Wednesday (to Moran and Flynn's of Capel Street, O'Connor's of Capel Street, the boutiques in Duke Lane etc) make and deliver Friday/Saturday, get paid on Tuesday by the shops and repeat it all over again. By doing this we had no import delays (it took weeks to ship fabric from Manchester) and a sure source of fabric on credit (Clery's were naive). This at least was different and innovative and profitable. I could sell about 20% of our production (40 dozen a week) like this and it provided some oxygen.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


This item has no location info associated with it.

Social Bookmarking