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"Time Was ..." R C McKane

The photographs were the subject of an exhibition at The Burnavon, Cookstown, Northern Ireland in June 2013.  Meet the inhabitants of Tullyhogue village in Co Tyrone from a century ago through this fascinating collection of photographs.  Local amateur photographer Robert Cowan McKane pictured right, captured the people, and the events that touched their lives, offering us an intimate insight into life during the early decades of the last century.

The photographs he took have been printed from a collection of glass plate negatives. This early method of taking photographs used panes of glass, coated with a chemical solution, to make the negatives. Robert was my grandfather. After his death, the collection of glass plate negatives lay undisturbed for decades under the stairs in the family home. The dawn of the digital era provided the technology to digitise and restore the photographs.

Robert didn’t have a studio but photographed people outside their thatched houses or in their gardens. He wouldn’t have realised it at the time, but he was actually documenting about 30 years of changing fashions! Images include individuals, families, children and mixed groups such as the local school and Sunday School. Buildings also feature in the photographs, including the former Ulster Dairy School at Loughry, local churches and some private houses.

Can you help? The collection contains about 300 images.  It would be great if we could identify who the people are and learn some of the stories behind the pictures. Anyone interested is invited to get in touch. Please use the contact form


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RC McKane, photographer standing by bench
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