William Alfred Green.

Famous Irish People.

William Alfred Green.

(1870 - 1958)

WAG as he was and perhaps still is known played a significant role in recording for posterity Irish rural life in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The collection of photographs he took are now in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra County Down.

The Green's were a Quaker family WAG was born in Newry County Down in 1870, his father was a grocery and tea merchant in Newry, His great uncle's name Foster Green lives on to this day in the form of a hospital on the Saintfield Road Belfast which he endowed, after some of his family members succumbed to tuberculosis

Green attended Friends School in Lisburn as a boarder. After the death of his parents he moved to Belfast where he was employed by his great uncle in the tea business.

He became an entheuastic member of the Belfast Naturalist Field Club and was later a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

Green had a keen interest in photography and became apprentice to professional photagrapher Robert John Welsh (1859 - 1936)

In 1910 he started his own photographic business in Belfast, he continued the business in Antrim after he moved there in 1924. Her produce educational lantern slides, photographs for postcards and book illustrations. He published two series of postcards of "Irish Views", called the "Wagtail" the name reflecting his initials.

Green is perhaps better known today for his photographs of old rural crafts and customs; scenes of country life, of flax and corn processing, carpet, wool and linen weaving, clay pipe and china production, fishing around Lough Neagh. He carried out much work of this type in the area around Toomebridge, County Antrim.

Green and his wife suffered a personal tragedy with the accidental death of their only child, Edmund, in 1921. He retired in the mid 1930s, remaining in Antrim until his death in 1958.

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