Cannocks and Company

Repository: Limerick City Archives

Identity Statement

TitleCannocks and Company
Archive ReferenceIE LA P12
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1877-1963
Extent Medium18.00 Items


Creator(s): Cannocks Department Store

  • Administrative History ↴

    In 1850 George Cannock and John Arnott purchased a drapery establishment at 134 George Street (now O'Connell Street), Limerick from Cumine and Mitchell. Cannock and Arnott were experienced businessmen who were already operating a drapery store in Henry Street, Dublin (which became Arnott and Company in 1865). In 1858 John Arnott sold his interest in the business to Peter Tait. Tait was born in Scotland in 1828 and came to Limerick in 1838. From 1858 onwards he spearheaded the expansion of Cannocks and Company in to Honan's Quay, and the development of departments such as glove making, furniture, cabinet making, polishing and upholstery into the store. He was an important figure in Limerick history as he served three terms as Limerick mayor (1865-1868), and also founded a clothing factory in Boherbuoy, which employed 1,300 people. The Tait Clock Tower in Baker Street was erected by Limerick businessmen as a memorial to him. Tait and Cannock were also the principal partners in the River Plate Steamship Company. When the company collapsed in 1869, they both became liable for the company's losses and had to liquidate all of their assets. They sold all of the property, which was part of Cannock, Tait and Company to Michael J. Clery (of Clery's and Company) and James Moriarity Tidmarsh. George Cannock continued in the business in a management role, though he no longer was a legal partner. In 1869 the company took out limited liability for the first time. In the next decade it acquired additional premises in Bedford row, and continued to prosper owing to the efficiency and business acumen of Micheal J. Clery. One of the key policies in the financial success of the company was Clery's policy to pay cash when buying stock and avail of the highest discount possible, and sell competitively as a result. It is also noteworthy that as a member of the National Exhibition Company, Dublin, he was an ardent supporter of buying and promoting Irish goods. (See P12/23) The next major change in the company occurred in 1877 with the death of James Moriarity Tidmarsh. His fourth son David James was nominated to succeed him. On 31st January 1877 he entered into a contract with M.J. Clery to incorporate Cannock's as a public company under the Company's Act of 1862. Tidmarsh were appointed the first secretary, and Clery was appointed as chairman and managing director. In 1888 the company purchased another premises at 137 George's Street, and during renovations to incorporate this building into the main store, the famous clock tower, which was to become the distinctive hall mark of Cannock's was added. In 1900 and 1902 the company expanded further with the purchase of additional property in Brunswick Street (now Sarsfield street) to house the furniture department. During the First World War, Cannock's profits rose considerably due to the abnormal trading conditions. However during the War of Independence (1918-1921) Cannock's found it difficult to service their rural customers and the depressed agricultural economy reflected itself in the decreased profits of the store. During the Irish Civil War, Cannock's business was completely suspended and the Cannock's store was commandeered by the Irish Free State troops. During the 1930-1950's economic conditions in Ireland were bleak, though Cannocks always managed to make a profit. Throughout the 1960's the Board of Management of Cannocks was under the chairmanship of Michael Harkin, and the board had to resist a number of take-over bids by Castle Hosiery, Dunne's Stores, Budget Property Company, Stephens Green Property Company, and Brown Thomas and Company. In 1972, the firm of Winston's succeeded in gaining a controlling share of the company and immediately the property at Sarsfield Street housing the furniture department was sold. The furniture department moved to new premises in Caherdavin but failed to prosper. By 1980, it was decided that Cannock's was not achieving its full potential, and the O'Connell Street premises was sold to Pennys for £950,000. The company continued to trade in Winston's premises in William Street, before finally going into liquidation in 1984. The collection provides an insight into a company that contributed much to the economic, social, and commercial life in Limerick throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. Cannocks and Company employed hundreds and served many wholesale rural businesses in Limerick, and thousands of customers in its expansive store. It is an important source for researchers of the economic and social history of Limerick.
  • Archival History ↴

    The Cannock's and Company Papers were donated to Limerick Archives by Miss M. Fitzgerald, a former employee of the company.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Cannocks Department Store ↴

    Minute Book 1877-1927

    Shareholders Records 1877-1980 consisting of material relating to shareholders including Company Memorandum and Article of Association, Shareholders Register 1891-1905, Shareholders Ledger 1877-1915, Share Transfer Journals 1877-1915, and letter to shareholders, 1980.

    Financial Records And Accounts 1869-1980: Includes annual financial statements and accounts (1869-1980), profit and loss accounts (1877-1963), general ledger (1945-1968), register of mortgages and debentures (1878-1893), salary books (1885-1965) which lists names and positions of employees, and outfitting department Order Book (1918-1923);

    Company Brochure 1900: Includes description of Irish goods sold by each Department.

    Research Notes for ‘Cannocks-a Social and Economic History of the Limerick Company from 1840-1930 which includes newspapers cuttings; published articles; extracts from books; death certificates of shareholders and directors; copies of material from Registry of Deeds and letters received by Margaret Twomey,while carrying out her research.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    Minute Book
    Shareholders Records
    Financial Records And Accounts
    Company Brochure

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available in digital format at
Conditions Governing ReproductionOn request
Creation Dates1877-1963
Extent Medium18.00 Items
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Copies InformationAvailable in Digital Format at

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteLimerick City Archives Archivist
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.