Charles Bianconi

Commentary

Life
1785-1875; b. Tregelo, Italy; worked as printseller in Dublin, 1802; opened shop at Carrick-on-Suir, 1807; moved to Waterford, and learned English from Edmund Rice, 1808; bought horse and jaunting car for 10 in post-Napoleonic depression; ran first Bianconi coach from Clonmel to Cahir, working out of Hearn’s Hotel; pop. known as Brian Cooney; fleet amounted to 900 horses and 67 cars; naturalised Irish citizen in 1831; provided feeders to railways; purchased rail stock; dir. Waterford and Limerick Railway Co, 1834, and National Bank, 1835; Mayor of Clonmel, 1844; friend of Daniel O’Connell and later of Trollope when in Clonmel; Dep.-Lieut. Tipperary, 1863; there is a life by his dg. daughter Mrs. Morgan John O’Connell. DIB DIH

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Criticism
Morgan John O’Connell, Charles Bianconi: A Biography, 1786-1875 (London: Chapman & Hall 1878), vi, 327pp., ill. Angela Hayes [“Autobiography”, pp.1-23; and see rev. edn., infra]; Constantia Maxwell, ‘Bianconi and his Irish Cars’, in Country Life (April 16, 1948) [q.pp.]; M.O’C[onnell].

Bianconi & S. J. Watson, Bianconi: King of the Irish Roads (Dublin: Allen Figgis 1962), 190pp., ill. pls.; and Do. [trans. as] Bianconi, re delle strade irlandesi (Amministrazione Provinciale di Como 1993), 171pp.

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Commentary
Hall’s Ireland: Mr & Mrs Hall’s Tour of 1840 [abridged 2-vol. edn., ed. Michael Scott] (London: Sphere Books 1984): ‘[...] The public cars of Mr Bianconi have, however, to a large extent, displaced the regular coaches and are to be encountered in every district in the south of Ireland. In form they resemble the common outside jaunting car, but are calculated to hold twelve, fourteen or sixteen persons. They are well horsed, have cautious and experienced drivers, are generally driven with three horses and usually travel at the rate of seven Irish miles an hour, the fares averaging about twopence per mile. They are open cars, but a huge apron of leather affords considerable protection against rain, and they may be described in all respects as very comfortable and convenience vehicles. (p.29; further on Irish jaunting cars; see further in Ricorso Library.)

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References
Library of Herbert Bell
(Belfast) holds M. O’C. Bianconi, Bianconi: King of the Irish Roads (Dublin 1962).

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