Family History goes Bananas!

I’ve had a lovely find today in the British Newspaper Archive. There has long been a family story that my great-grandfather William H Richardson (who started me down my genealogical path) grew one of the first bananas in Ireland. Many versions of this tale existed, and as he had worked on estates across Ireland, a good number of dates and locations had been attached to it. It was something I’d been looking for for some time.

I was recently given some transcripts of family reminiscences, and one of them mentioned a (lost) newspaper cutting about the famous banana. This was all the encouragement I needed to have another look, and today I found an illustrated article in a copy of the Larne Weekly Telegraph from 30 Sep 1911 (which went online earlier this year):


Our illustration is from a photograph of a Banana plant, which has been under cultivation in one of Sir Otto Jaffe’s hothouses at his residence, Kinedar, Strandtown, Belfast, for a number of years. Not until this summer, however, did the plant bear fruit, but it has amply repaid for its non-bearing years; for five bunches, each containing a considerable number of bananas, are now pulling the tree groundward. Our photograph shows one of the bunches, of which Mr Richardson, Sir Otto’s head gardener, is justly proud.

The famous family banana(s)

It’s wonderful when your research (like your Banana plant) finally bears fruit!


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