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David Allen's History of a Family Firm 1857-1957

1805 - 1806 - 1807 - 1808 - 1819 - 1843 - 1852 - 1861 - 1868 - 1877 - 1880 - 1890 - 1894
1901 - 1907 - 1908 - 1909 - 1910 - 1912 - 1918 - 1924 - 1932 - 1939 - 1943 - 1951 - 1960
1913 Tel. directory    1824 Pigots (Belfast)  &  (Bangor)   1894 Waterford Directory
1898 Newry Directory      Bangor Spectator Directory 1970

Book by W. E. D. Allen
David Allen, J.P., the Founder 1830-1903
A Hundred Years Ago, David Allen set up a printer in Belfast. The firm he founded is now the dominating factor in the outdoor advertising industry in Ireland, Scotland and the North of England. It remains a family concern managed by David Allen's descendants in the third and fourth generations.  Against the background of the turbulent history of Ulster, the author traces the migration of the family from Randalstown to Belfast in the Hungry Forties.  David Allen was apprenticed to a revolutionary press at the age of ten. He experienced the Irish Famine and worked for the Chartists in Liverpool and the Isle of Man. He made a fortune by printing for the theatrical touring companies and became a prominent theatre owner.  His sons were pioneers in Poster Lithography and led in developing outdoor advertising. The public controversies which the rise of the new industry provoked and the impact of modern advertising techniques on the economy of Britain are discussed with objectivity.  The varied personalities of a large Victoria family are delineated with sympathy and some frankness. The portraits of the dynamic William Allen and his wife, Cissy Allen, 'the matriarch' who was active in the world of the theatre and advertising for more than sixty years, are drawn with humour and affection by the author who is their eldest son and the present Chairman of the Company.  A contemporary flavour is introduced by the short stories of members of the staff describing war experiences. Many of these show notable talent and originality.
(I have only added the photos and family history here - Lennon/Wylie)

Donegal Street, Belfast showing "Scottish Carts" and contemporary "fly-posting" from an engraving c. 1840

John Jamieson and his wife Jane Carson from a very early daguerrotype, c. 1839

Arthur Square, Belfast, c. 1840
The building on the right is believed to be the original premises where David Allen started business in 1857 from a contemporary watercolour by Frank McKelvey, R.H.A.

David Allen, the Founder 1830-1903 - Agnes Allen, wife of the Founder 1831-1916

The old Theatre Royal in Arthur Square, Belfast, c. 1860 from a watercolour by Frank McKelvey, R.H.A.

The Second Generation
(1) David Allen (jun.), 1854-1926
(2) J. O. Rogers, 1860-1909
(3) Robert Allen, 1856-1912
(4) Sam Allen (senr.), 1869-1937

"Mr. Willie", William E. Allen, 1860-1919 from a portrait by Josephine Muntz, c. 1910
Cissy Allen, wife of W. E. Allen, 1863-1944 from a portrait by B. Hall, c. 1895

The Golden Wedding, 12th September 1901
Back Row (l to r) ~ Marion, J. O. Rogers, "Minnie", Sam (senr.), Lilian Cissy
Second Row ~ Robert, "Timmy" Rogers, David (senr.), (with W. E. D. A. on knee), Agnes, David (jun.), Elizabeth Purvis, William
Front Row ~ Maurice, Dorothy Rogers, J. A. Rogers, Eileen Rogers, Jack Purvis, "Drennan", Amy, Eric

Lilian Allen 1860-1938 - (l to r) Drennan Allen, 1891-1927; Eric Allen, 1884-1950; Amy Allen
Miramar, David Allen (junior's) house at Killiney, Co. Dublin, showing Agnes and David Allen (senr.) in left foreground, c. 1900

1                                                                                                     2
On steps of guests' bungalow, to left of main house, c. 1910 l to r (standing) "Blim" Grahame (mother of Cissy Allen), W. E. D. Allen, Marion Allen, Cissy Allen, William Allen, "Timmie" Rogers, Sam Allen (senr.), Robert Allen; (seated) Sam Allen (junr.), Agnes Allen, Eileen Rogers, Geoffrey Allen (leaning on rail)
2) View of Commonwood, near Chipperfield, Hertfordshire, from garden, c. 1910

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1, 2, 3. The Third Generation - The Sons of William and Cissy Allen, c. 1925-1928
1) S. C. F. Allen ("Mr. Sam")
2) W. E. D. Allen ("Mr. Bill")
3) G. R. H. D. Allen ("Mr. Geoffrey")
4, 5. David Allen Stalwarts
4) John Mohan, Manager, Dublin and Eire 1887-1944
5) William Crompton, Manager and Director, Liverpool and N. W. Area 1869-1953

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The Board of David Allens 1957, I
1) S. C. F. Allen ("Mr. Sam")
2) J. A. Rogers (Joint Managing Directors)
3) W. E. D. Allen, O.B.E., F.S.A. ("Mr. Bill") Chairman
4) J. S. Brown Director and Manager N.W. Area
5) A. E. Aylward Director and Secretary

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The Board of David Allens 1957, II
1) Sir Robert Boothby, K.B.E., M.P., Director
2) Douglas Bull (Scotland)
The Area Managers 1957
3) R. Kelso (Northern Ireland)
4) A. J. Gairn (Eire)
5) S. Wilson Kyle (N. E. Area)

John A. Rogers (junr.) Deputy Manager, Scotland
Graham Aylward, Sales Manager
Ernest Labrow b. 1875 joined David Allens 1897 and still working at Head Office

Map of Belfast 1851 approx. CLICK to ENLARGE

Appendix (a) The Descendants of David and Agnes Allen

(b) David Allen Families & Head Office