Times Gone By - August 1982

A look back into the Derry Journal archives.............

No threat to Derry hospitals’ electricity - There is no immediate threat to electricity supplies to Derry hospitals despite fears in a national newspaper that the Northern Ireland Electricity Service had threatened to cut off suppliers to two county Derry hospitals within ten days unless outstanding bills held up by striking health service workers were paid.

The hospitals referred to in the report were Gransha Hospital, and the Roe Valley Hospital in Limavady. Clerical workers in the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance have refused to process cheques for what they see as “non essential” bills, as part of their industrial action in pursuance of an agreeable wage settlement.

The Northern Ireland Electricity Service is just one of many creditors now owed money by the Western Health Board.

It is thought that the bills now outstanding come to about £1m. A spokesperson for the Board said the non-payment of bills had been discussed at a meeting.

It was a quiet ‘Twelfth’ - Large numbers of police and British soldiers were on duty on the streets of Derry to ensure that the 16,000 Apprentice Boys with accompanying bands could celebrate the anniversary of the “Relief of Derry”. There were the usual traffic hold-ups and inconvenience to the majority of the citizens who took no part in the celebrations.

Leading unionist politicians took part in the parade, which apart from the local clubs, was confined to the Waterside area.

The city was quiet and the event went off quietly for the second year in succession. Special transport facilities were laid on to bring thousands of visitors from Britain, the Republic of Ireland and abroad.

The 293rd anniversary of the “Relief of Derry” was heralded by the sound of the traditional cannon fire at midnight.

Throughout the march, new members, including some form Canada, were initiated into the Order at a ceremony which can take place only within the walls of Derry.

1,000 year old cavern unearthed at Burt - An underground cavern with walls of stone and slabs for a roof was rediscovered in Burt by labourers excavating a stony field for an extension to the local graveyard. Experts from the Irish Board of Works in Mullingar confirmed this week that the secret chamber was an ancient souterrain dating back to between the sixth and 12th centuries.

Souterrains were used to store foodstuffs and perhaps valuables by farmers who constructed them underneath their homes. Occasionally souterrains were used as a hiding place when households came under attack, more recently they were used to store arms during disturbances in the 1920s.

The surveyors from the Board of Works began taking measurements and drawing up a detailed plan of the souterain before they allowed the excavators to continue work on the cemetery extension and destroy the souterrain.

They said it was not possible to preserve it.