Gwyn’s Institute recalled

Brooke Park was laid out in the 1840s as the grounds of an orphanage, courtesy of the will of a local businessman, John Gwyn.

Gwyn, it’s understood, was born in Muff and became an orphan at an early age.

He eventually found work in Derry, remained a bachelor, but willed his money, a tidy sum amounting to thousands - a lot in those days - so that an orphanage be founded in Derry.

With a little help from other sources, the institute (seen in the background of the picture) was built in 1840. It remained an orphanage until 1901 when Brooke Park was developed around it. It was later used as a museum, a library, a workshop for the blind, a pathological laboratory and, during the Second World War, a civil defence assembly point.

It was destroyed in a fire in 1973 and, after lying derelict for some years and was eventually demolished. Brooke Park itself is now in line for a multi-million pound redevelopment.

Funding, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will see a total regeneration of the park including its parkland, sports and leisure facilities.