The Collen Archive contains the historical records of an Irish construction and engineering business; it offers an important resource for research on Ireland’s built environment and aspects of social, economic and cultural development.
The Collen Archive
TCD MS 11482
In September 2014, the Library of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, began a one-year project to catalogue and preserve the Collen Archive. The Archive, together with project funding, was generously donated by Collen Group Limited. It contains historic company records dating from c 1879 to 1987; these include thousands of photographs and negatives, over fifty volumes of financial records, minutes, copy letters, and some personal research papers.
The Collen business experienced many changes during the early 20th century. John Collen’s death in May 1921 marked the end of an era for the family. Developments on the national stage, including two World Wars, the Easter Rising and the partition of Ireland, changed the environment in which the company operated. In 1949, it separated into two branches. Collen Brothers Limited continued to trade in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, in the Republic, the brothers Standish and Lyal, both graduates of the School of Engineering at Trinity College Dublin, led the newly formed Collen Brothers (Dublin) Limited.
In the 1970s, the introduction of precast prestressed concrete Double Tee beams marked another new departure for Collen, and its subsidiary, Cretestone Limited. The Double Tees were manufactured off site, thus reducing turnaround time; they could withstand heavy loads and had a large span to accommodate large open interiors.
Curation: Claire Allen & Estelle Gittins
Manuscripts & Archives Research Library
Images: Gillian Whelan & Sharon Sutton
Digital Resources & Imaging Services
Technical support: Greg Sheaf
Digital Systems and Services
Copyright in images has been acknowledged where possible. In those instances where we have been unable to establish ownership of copyright we would be grateful for assistance in updating our records.
We are grateful to Davison & Associates Ltd., Fennell Photography, and Brian McEvoy for permission to reproduce images.