Frank Wasser-On Tenterhooks
Not far from a place once referred to as a home there is a stone that resembles a gravestone. This stone, upon stone upon fallen stone is protected behind bars on an unusual wedge of land between an assortment of architectures. The stone reads: “The Tenters” – This area is known as the Tenters, because linen cloth was stretched out on tenterhooks to bleach in the sun. When the linen trade failed, the fields were used for market gardening. In 1924 this fine housing scheme was built.” The Tenters is an area of Dublin situated 300 meters from the project space.
The naming of this land comes from the arrival of the Huguenots in the 16th century who were escaping religious persecution in France from new laws introduced by Louis XIV. The Huguenots brought to Dublin, skills in the production of woollen fabrics.
An interruption. This is a place of text. This. Here. This is a tenter. Is this a tenter?
Tenterhooks were hooked nails in a device called a tenter. Tenters were wooden frames which were used as far back as the 14th century in the process of making and drying woollen cloth. The reader may be familiar with the phrase “on tenterhooks” which today is known as a metaphor for nervous anticipation, a state in which the reader and viewer may find themselves in often. In 1814 a Tenter House was built on the land now known as “The Tenters” so that the drying of wool could take place indoors. The success of this Dublin based industry was a disaster for counterpart woollen industries in England, so the English introduced taxes which drove much of the Liberties industries and trade into generation spanning decline. “The Tenters” area was repurposed as one of the first housing schemes of the free state.