Way back in the distant past of 2012, we noted the continued deterioration of Thomas Read’s on Parliament Street. Established in 1670, Read’s was one of the oldest cutlers in the world, and it was the oldest shop in the capital before its closure some years ago.
Producing cutlery, surgical instruments and swords, the shop once opened onto Crane Lane, but in 1766 this changed with the opening of Parliament Street, thanks to the endeavors of the Wide Streets Commissioners, who truly transformed the urban landscape of Dublin. With this, Read’s address changed from 3 Crane Lane to 4 Parliament Street. The origins of the business were with a sword maker, Edward Read, who worked at Blind Quay before establishing his premises on Crane Lane.
When interviewed in 1984,the then-owner Jack Read Cowle told a newspaper reporter that while Dubliners always told him they were glad the business was still in existence, he would joke that “you’d better make the most of me, because I won’t be here much longer.” Great footage of the Read’s interior survives, thanks to the digitisation of a classic Éamonn MacThomáis television series:
Passing Parliament Street recently, it was clear that recent work on the building has been truly transformative. The brickwork has been restored beautifully, and the general sense of decay around the building is no more. ReadsCutlers.com provides insight into the restoration work underway, while a glance at the interior contents in possible on the Read’s Cutlers Instagram account, including beautiful 18th century cabinets. It looks like this important piece of Dublin will reemerge in the near future.