Inside Story: The Photographs of Thomas Gribben

12 January 2011

Inside Story: The Photographs of Thomas Gribben Margaret Ritchie, MP, opened a new exhibition and launched a book at Down County Museum on 30 November. Both are called Inside Story: the photographs of Thomas Gribben of Loughinisland they feature some of the most significant photographs in the museum’s collection.

The museum began collecting the Gribben photographs in the 1980s and today they form an extremely important part of the archive, illustrating home life, work, culture, leisure and politics in a rural community from the 1900s to the 1950s. Thomas Joseph Gribben (1882-1959) lived for most of his life on the Gribben family farm between Seaforde and Loughinisland. He took up photography as a young man, creating a darkroom, with much home-made equipment, in the loft of his home. Most of the photographs he took are of his family, friends and neighbours and for the first half of the twentieth century he was the only photographer with whom most people in the Seaforde and Loughinisland areas came into contact. He is still remembered by many people in the community today not just for his photographs which are invaluable in passing on knowledge of the area but as a warm, lively person, full of curiosity about everything from farming to astronomy. The exhibition provides a fascinating glimpse into a time gone by and is sure to be of great interest to local people and those from across the county.

The book is our 2010 edition of the Down Survey, the museum’s yearbook, and was researched and edited by the former Director of Down County Museum, Dr Brian S Turner. The exhibition includes many of the photographs from the book. The museum gratefully acknowledges a Monument Trust Fellowship which assisted the final collation of information and made this publication possible.

The exhibition Inside Story: the photographs of Thomas Gribben continues at the museum until 20 February 2011. Admission to the exhibition is free. Copies of the book, Inside Story are available from the museum shop, priced £8.

Further Details: Lesley Simpson at Down County Museum, the Mall, Downpatrick, Co Down, tel: 028-44615218.