In the 1980s I discovered Mary Corcoran. She lived in 19th century Stafford and was the step-mother of one of my ancestors. She came from Castlerea, Co. Roscommon in Ireland. I was fascinated to discover her and also the fact that there were many Irish people living in Stafford in the 1850s. That led me to investigate their experiences. This blog introduces you to some of Stafford’s Victorian Irish families and their stories.
Stafford is not a town normally associated with the great emigration of Irish people before, during and after the Potato Famine of 1845-51. Thousands of Irish people settled in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and the Black Country – but in Stafford as well? The answer is yes! Between the 1840s and 1900s over 4,000 Irish people lived in the town at one time or another. The majority ultimately moved on but always a proportion of the immigrants settled long-term and some established families who became part of Stafford’s community. Their descendants can be found in the town today. Other families stayed for many years but then the immigrants or their descendants moved away. Some families just died out in the town.
The history of these Irish families who settled – or were formed – in Stafford shows great diversity. This blog will give you outline histories of these Irish families and some of the things that happened to them. It will explore the lives of ordinary people and challenge stereotypical images of the immigrant Irish in 19th century Britain.