Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - Humphrys - Contents

Dick Humphreys' motor business

Motor business of Dick Humphreys.

79 Dame St (Hackett's Bookmakers) and 81 Dame St (The Oak).
Click to rotate.
From Google Street View.

Dick Humphreys went into business end-1922, funded by family friend (and future father-in-law) James O'Mara.
He imported tyres made in Canada by James' brother Joe, under the name "O'Mara Rubber Co".
By agreement dated 9th Oct 1922 he rented the 2nd floor office at 79 Dame St, Dublin. This was 2 doors away from Humphrys' pub, run by his uncle Mick Humphrys.
Dick designed the thread pattern on the O'Mara's tyre.

Tommy O'Brien went to work for him.
Tommy had just left school, age 16, 1922-3. Nell suggested to Tommy's mother maybe he would go work for Dick.
Offices on 2nd floor when Tommy arrived.
6 months later they moved down to 1st floor offices of 79 Dame St. Never on ground floor (which was a tailors' shop).

Tommy O'Brien said Dick was "a reluctant businessman, kind of pitchforked into it by James O'Mara".
He remembered Dick got a letter from Pirelli asking for estimates, wrote answers in margin and mailed it back. Dick didn't care for appearances, never modernised the place, right to the end.
Tommy said Dick was always looking out to help people, not businessman - tended to give things away.
He left Tommy in charge a lot, left him with signed blank cheques to pay bills - trust. "The kindest, gentlest man I ever met". Tommy always grateful to him - gave him his start in business.
Some of Donnelly's salesmen were given O'Mara tyres to sell on commission. "With the exception of Michael Higgins of Galway none of them sold a damn thing". Bacon and tyres not exactly linked.
Tommy remembers Dame St, winter evening, c.5.30pm, very dark, rain, looking out of window of office, young boy with donkey, drawing cart of coal blocks, refused to go up hill outside City Hall, workmen passing by, Tommy saw Dick pull up, get out behind cart, pushed, off it went.
Another time in Dame St, Dick asked him: "How much is in the petty cash?" It was £3 (a lot then) and some change. "Give me the £3". Dick gave it to the news vendor - middle aged man, his wife expecting, hard up for money.

They were at 79 Dame St for years before they were even listed in [Thoms].
Not listed at 79 Dame St in [Thoms] until 1927 and 1928 edns. Listed as "O'Mara Rubber Co".
Offices at 79 Dame St were really unsuitable for tyre place.

They moved to more suitable premises, 36 Pearse St, Dublin.
Tommy O'Brien says they were in Pearse St when Dick started ordering Thomond parts, so prob. moved there 1928.
Listed at 36 Pearse St in [Thoms] 1929 on.
Still called "O'Mara Rubber Co" in [Thoms, 1938].
Name became "Richard Humphreys Auto Services".
Within a few years dropped O'Mara / K&S tyres, changed name to "Humphreys Autofactors", tyres and motor accessories.
He sold Pirelli tyres, great success, but couldn't get the agency. Pirelli decided to set up their own place in Dublin instead.
In 1935 Dunlop opened factory in Cork, got government protection, monopoly of Irish market. Now Dick had to sell Dunlops. (In fact, he'd actually wanted to for years. He had used Dunlops on both of his Thomond cars.)
Tommy left him think early 1935 to join Dunlops.
Competition tough in tyre business 1960s. Dick was in semi-retirement at time of his death 1968.
"Humphreys Autofactors" last listed in [Thoms] 1969 edn.

36 Pearse St is now part of O'Neill's pub and accomodation, 36-37 Pearse St.

79 Dame St

79 Dame St, Dublin (white building, now Hackett's Bookmakers).
Photo 2007. See full size.

"O'Mara Rubber Co.", 79 Dame St, Dublin. The later (1st floor) offices, i.e. c.1925.
Tommy O'Brien (left) and Dick (right).
See ad for O'Mara's tyres on left.
The big window is still there today.

Wider view showing 79 Dame St (now Hackett's Bookmakers)
and, 2 doors away, the pub at 81 Dame St.
Photo 2007. See full size.

36 Pearse St

36 Pearse St (O'Neill's Townhouse).
Click to rotate.
From Google Street View.

"36 - O'Mara Rubber Co. - Richard Humphreys Auto Services - 36"
"All leading makes of tyres in stock"
36 Pearse St, Dublin, c.1930. See full size.

36 Pearse St, c.1930.
Note O'Neill's pub, 37 Pearse St on RHS (still there today).
See full size.

36 Pearse St, now O'Neill's pub accomodation (left),
and O'Neill's pub, 37 Pearse St (right).
Photo 2007. See full size.
See other shot.

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