Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Pat Purcell Papers

Mr. Francis (Frank) Slater. 1881 - 1937.

Businessman and Entrepreneur


Source: Michael Purcell 2011

Frank Slater c.1920

Nationalist and Leinster Times. February 1937.

Mr Francis Slater. 1881 - 1937.

We are very sorry to have record the death of Mr Frances Slater, which took place at his home, Hanover House, Carlow, on Saturday afternoon last.

The late Mr Slater was a very well known figure, not alone in Carlow and district but throughout the greater part of Ireland, for he developed in a very short number of years a business concern of varied and multitudinous proportions.

In the town of Carlow he was the owner of a great amount of property, and he gave considerable employment.

Image 59. A gathering of a different sort, the fowl pluckers and employees of Slaters Works. The firm was owned by-local wonder money-maker Frank Slater, pictured on the right with hat and drooping moustache. Frank owned extensive property in Carlow town including the Palace Cinema, he was also proprietor of 63 'bookie shops', situated throughout Ireland. His name can be seen painted on the fowl and rabbit 'coffin' boxes.
Image source: Carlow in old Picture Postcards by Michael Purcell 1994

Mr Slater's interests were chiefly concerned in the poultry trade, the bakery business and Turf Accountancy.

He was one of the largest exporters of eggs and fowl in Ireland, and his possessions included over a hundred branch betting offices located throughout Ireland.

His other interests included his ownership of The Palace Cinema in Burrin Street, which he purchased some years ago.

It was stated at that time that he had never been in a Cinema in his life up to the time he acquired The Palace. To a man of Mr. Slater's calibre nothing was impossible. He possessed those rare qualities of making everything he touched an undoubted success, and this was possible owing to his amazing courage and foresight.

One might say that he managed all his unwieldy business concerns almost single-handed, and certainly did it with great success.

It is a very sad thing to see a man like him passing so prematurely from this life. He was only fifty-six years of age.

His health declined somewhat about a year ago and he never really recovered, although he was active to his unexpected end.

It was typical of the man that he should die virtually in harness, for he was always greatly interested in his business at the expense of enjoyment of any considerable nature.

He personally supervised his staff, who had a great respect for him, and he kept to his untimely end a keen eye on the organisation and progress of his considerable and far-flung business interests.

Of his personal qualities, Mr Slater was known to all for his charity and generosity. No organisation with the least spark of worthiness ever went to him for help without coming away the better of their visit.

His unsolicited donations to charity were large and numerous.

Unlike many men, he remained throughout his life and through all his lightening business successes the same simple, level-headed and kindly person.

His loss to the town of Carlow is inestimable, and it is with great regret that we have heard of his early passing.

On Sunday evening the remains were removed to the Cathedral. They were carried from Hanover House to the Cathedral on the shoulders of his employees, their last tribute to a kindly employer. Practically the whole population of the town turned out to pay their last respects.

The chief mourners were:- Edward Slater and John Slater, (sons), Master F. Slater, (grandson) Mrs S. Moynihan, Mrs J. Glavin, Miss Baby Slater and Miss Mary Joe Slater (daughters).

John Slater and Val. Slater (brothers), Mrs Mary Snoddy and Mrs Bridie Walsh (sisters). Val Slater, Tom Fennell, Mick Snoddy, Tom Snoddy, John Snoddy, Sam Snoddy, Joe Walsh, John Walsh, Francis Walsh, Edward Walsh (nephews) Mrs Pat Jones, Mrs Joe Phelan, Mrs Michael Purcell, Mrs Patrick Purcell, Mrs Pado Redmond-Goebells, Mrs Joseph Leonard, Esther Walsh, Susanna Walsh, Bridget Walsh, Anne Walsh, Catherine Walsh, Mrs John Largey (nieces). John Ralph, (father-in-law). Mr J. Glavin and Mr S.Moynihan (sons-in-law). Mrs Edward Slater (daughter-in-law), Mrs John Slater, (sister-in-law), Mrs V. Slater, S. Costello, John Hayden, E. Largey, Miss S. Wynne, Master O. Slater, Miss Rose Slater and Miss Marie Slater.

Urban Council Minutes.


Moving a vote of sympathy at Carlow Urban Council meeting on Monday last, Mr Edward Duggan referred to the passing of Mr Francis Slater and said he would be a great loss to his family and to the industry of the town. In his extraordinarily successful career Mr Slater had showed himself to be a man of great business ability and he possessed gifts which gave him that high standing in business and industrial life and which were peculiar to himself.

They all knew him from boyhood and his meteoric progress in so many branches of industry showed him to be outstanding. He built for himself a great position in the industrial life of the town and his death is a tremendous loss to the general development of Carlow. Just ten year ago Mr Slater was instrumental in bringing the Sugar Industry to Carlow, when he pledged a donation of five thousand pounds to develop the site for the building of a Sugar Factory in Carlow.

They were all sorry to hear of his death, which has come as an addition to the numerous very sad events that have occurred in recent weeks, which have taken so many people rather prematurely to the next world.

The Chairman seconded the resolution.

Mr Clarke said he would like to be associated with the vote of sympathy.

The Resolution was passed, all members standing and the meeting adjourned.

On Monday Office with Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral at which the Very Rev. A. Lynam P.P. V.F., Bagenalstown presided. The celebrant of the Mass was Rev. J. Breen, C.C., Bagenalstown, deacon. Rev. P. Maher, Knockbeg College, sub-deacon. Rev. W. Gavin, Knockbeg College; Master of Ceremonies. Very Rev. T. Browne, V.P., Carlow College.  Chanters: Very Rev. T.H. Burbage, P.P. Tinryland and Rev. G. Sinnot, C.C. Leighlinbridge.

In the choir were:- Very Rev. John Killian, P.P. Arles; Very Rev. J. Donohoe, P.P., Leighlinbridge; Very Rev. P. O'Haire, P.P., Graiguecullen; Very Rev. J. Dunny, Adm. Carlow; Very Rev. Dr. Ignatius O.M. Cap. Kilkenny; Rev. W' Miller, D.Ph., C.C. Carlow; Rev. D. Hughes, D.D., St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny; Rev. E. I. Campion, C.C. Graiguecullen; Rev. C. Brennan, C.C. Carlow; Rev. J. Conway, B.D. Carlow College; Rev. J. Foynes, B.A. Carlow College; Rev. J. Doran, C.C. Tinryland; Rev. P. Hayden, C.C. Bagenalstown; Rev. E. Lalor, C.C. Arles; Rev. M. Murray, C.C. Mountmellick; Rev. J. Moynihan, C.C. Killinaule; Rev. C. Moynihan, Cashel; Very Rev. P. Swayne, Rector, Knockbeg College; Rev. M. Murphy, B.A. Knockbeg College. Rev. C.P. Phelan, C.C. Nass; Rev. J. Prendergast, C.C. Curragh; Rev. W. Fanning, C.C. Portarlington; Rev. A. Farrell, C.C. Edenderry; Rev. C. O'Connor, C.C. Kiltegan; Rev. W. Flood, Newtownbarry; Very Rev. M. Brophy, P.P Suncroft; Rev. P. Broughan, P.P. Caragh; Very Rev. P. Horan, P.P. Myshall; Rev. J. Griffin, C.C. Paulstown; Rev. J. Loughrey, C.C. The Rower; Rev. A. Lowry, P.P. Inistiogue;  Rev. T. Ryan, C.C. Newbridge; Rev. W. Mahon, D.E. Tullow; Rev. A.G. Byrne, Baltinglass; Rev. T. Hickey, St. Patrick's College, Kiltegan.

Note added 2011 by Michael Purcell:

Frank Slater was born in 1880 to Edward Slater and Anne Farrell of Ballymanus Terrace, Carlow. One of ten children, Frank started out with very little, in time he became known as "Slab Slater the money-maker".

He married three times, first to Mary Ellen (Minnie) Fennell of Graiguecullen, (died 1904, aged 22), secondly to Maria Ralph, Dublin Road, (died in 1923, aged 32), on the advice of Father John Killian he married his third wife in 1924, Anne Foley of Tullow Street, (died 1955), shortly after the marriage he separated from Anne, hence there is no mention of her in this obituary.

At the time of his death it was estimated that Frank was owner of over 200 houses and several "parcels" of land throughout the county of Carlow, he also owned some property in Kilkenny and Dublin and was operating in one hundred and eight Turf Accountant "Bookie" offices established throughout Ireland.

Shortly before his death Frank financed the building of 15 "luxury homes with large gardens and gate entrance" in Granby Row, Carlow (for sale) -- 4 "large houses with gated entrances to rear" at Court Place, Dublin Road, Carlow (for sale) -- and 6 "town houses" on Barrack Street, Carlow (for rent). Up to the present day solicitors are still trying to unravel some aspects of the Slater estate.

In 1934 he adopted three children of the Smith family, their parents had died and their aunt, Sister Angela of The Mercy Convent in Carlow, inveigled Frank to adopt them. He paid for their education; one of them was ordained a priest, Father Oliver Smith.

In Norman McMillan's book on Carlow Cricket, Billy Ruddock recalls "for many years in the 1930s we had a good under 14 X1 and regularly played Enniscorthy, Gowran, Collattin, Newtownbarry, Arklow. As often as not we all packed into one huge car provided for free by the late Frank Slater, a benefactor of the youth, who was a substantial poulter, fish monger, and owner of a chain of betting shops. He lived in Hanover House where Pennys is now situated. The huge car he provided was used to ferry the clerks from Carlow each day to his various betting offices. It was Frank Slater who knocked and rebuilt number 26 Tullow Street."

As well as a fleet of lorries, Frank owned a dozen luxury Buick cars for transporting staff to his offices.

As John Hargaden said to me recently "if Frank had to live out a normal life span, not dying at 56, he would have ended up owning the whole town".



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