Wednesday 4 June 2014

Siege of Derry Museum moves to temporary home

The Apprentice Boys' Memorial Hall in Derry, one of the city's most important historical attractions and in urgent need of renovation, has received funding to allow it to relocate its Siege Museum to a temporary site nearby.

The neo-Gothic pile of the Memorial Hall was built in 1873 to commemorate the thirteen boys who rushed to close the gates of the walled city against Catholic forces in December 1688.

The action led to the Siege of Londonderry, which lasted 105 days and left some 4,000 dead of starvation and disease. 'No Surrender' became the slogan of the Apprentice Boys.

It was clear on my last visit to Derry two years ago that the fabulous building was in need of rather more than a bit of emulsion on the walls. It is closed until the renovation works are completed.

Announcing the relocation funding today, Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland said: “This assistance will allow the Siege Museum project to temporarily relocate and continue operation of their popular museum facility while the Memorial Hall undergoes restoration.

“The organisation hosts many guided tours facilitating visitors all year round and this funding will allow it to operate without interruption. Importantly the funding will also provide for a Community Development Worker who will engage with the wider community to promote a greater understanding of the history, culture and traditions of the Apprentice Boys of Derry.”

A spokesperson at the Memorial Hall told me today that the Siege Museum will open just a stone throw away at 16 Bishop's Street next week, hopefully on Wednesday 11 June.