Marsden Haddock and the Androides

Entertainment, late Georgian Cork and the wider world

Neil Cronin

Paperback €11.65
Catalogue Price: €12.95
ISBN: 978-1-80151-096-7
August 2023. 80 pages. Paperback. Ills.

By the late eighteenth century, many people had designated leisure time. The appetite for novelty in popular entertainment became insatiable. The hero of this story is Marsden Haddock, who devised an exhibition of mechanical ingenuity, the Androides. Haddock’s spectacle originated in Cork in 1794, from where he then toured through the English-speaking Atlantic world (a reversal of the usual trend) with considerable success for many years. The word Androide became synonymous with his devices. In probing the penumbra between man and machine, between the animate and the inanimate, Haddock’s lifelike automata and other figures provoked wonder and often fear. A singular character, Haddock was distinguished by ingenuity, versatility and, in the face of recurrent setbacks, resilience. This volume positions him and his entertainment as products of the booming war-economy of Cork city, and uses its ready reception as an illustration of the integration of urban Cork into the wider world.

Neil Cronin has previously authored The medical profession and the exercise of power in early nineteenth-century Cork in the Maynooth Studies in Local History series (Dublin, 2014).