These historic images form part of a new project launched recently to collect, communicate and preserve the agricultural heritage of the Derry area in the early part of the 20th century.
The Celebrating the Agricultural Heritage of the North West project was launched by the North’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill.
The unique project is being driven forward by the County Londonderry Agricultural Show Society (CLASS) which has been awarded £12,915 funding from ARC NW under the Rural Development Programme (RDP).
The new County Show Society has been formed to build on the work done by its predecessor organisations, the North West of Ireland Agricultural Society and the Limavady Show Society.
The North West has a rich history of agricultural firsts. The North West of Ireland Agricultural Society was established in 1821, a couple of decades before the North East Society, which later went on to set up the Balmoral Show.
In 1823, the North West Society published a monthly magazine targeted at both landowners and tenant farmers while, in 1826, the North West Society established the first agricultural college in the English-speaking world near Eglinton.
Launching the project on Derry’s Walls, Minister O’Neill said: “In bygone days, the city was very much part of agricultural life of the North West of Ireland through its markets, shows and factories... I believe that it is important to improve awareness of local heritage in the local community and to capture it for future generations to enjoy.
“This project will preserve a part of the history of this area by reconnecting the urban population with past times and build connections with the present-day rural products and services available in the county.”
Libraries NI are providing access to several hundred agricultural glass-plate negatives from the Bigger-McDonald Collection.
These provide a unique insight into rural life and the agricultural industry in the county and city from 1920-40.
The project will be part of the rural community’s contribution to the UK City of Culture Year in 2013.
It is hoped that the Project will help connect the County’s urban populations with their rural hinterlands and will help promote visitors to the 2013 County Show near Limavady.
Holywell Trust says it’s pleased to be assisting CLASS with this project and anyone who would like to contribute to the project should contact Mark Lusby on Tel: 07713 566719 or on e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture Source: Libraries NI & Bigger McDonald Collection