Derry Journal archives: New ‘Journal’ photos book opens a door into our past

April 1981 - Rioters take shelter behind sheets of wood during disturbances at William Street in Derry's Bogside.
April 1981 - Rioters take shelter behind sheets of wood during disturbances at William Street in Derry's Bogside.

The Derry Journal’s newest compilation of photographs from its amazing archive is due to hit the shelves in the countdown to Christmas - and work on the project continues apace.

The new book will focus on the 1980s and, according to the man behind it - ‘Journal’ reporter Sean McLaughlin - the images from the period are, as always, “second to none.”

September 1985... The Brandywell was packed to capacity for Derry City FC's return to senior soccer in the League of Ireland. Thousands of fans turned up for the Candy Stripe's first game against Home Farm.

September 1985... The Brandywell was packed to capacity for Derry City FC's return to senior soccer in the League of Ireland. Thousands of fans turned up for the Candy Stripe's first game against Home Farm.

As with its best-selling predecessors, the new book will be jam-packed full of images that will appeal to those who love Derry and its past.

Published in conjunction with Guildhall Press, the new book will contain many images that have never been seen before.

Sean McLaughlin likens the new book to a “time-travelling virtual-reality tour” of Derry in the 1980s.

Sean is currently ploughing through the newspaper’s amazing archive for the book which will hit the shelves just in time for the Christmas rush.

July 1983... Young majorettes enjoy the Galliagh Carnival Parade.

July 1983... Young majorettes enjoy the Galliagh Carnival Parade.

He says he’s been amazed at the runaway success of the first three ‘Journal’ books which have focused on the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

“They’ve been remarkably successful,” he says. “It’s great to know that Derry people - both at home and abroad - are so interested in their past.

“I think people realise that the Journal photos bring an important part of Derry’s recent history to life in a way that written records alone cannot. You come face-to-face with people from the past and wonder where they came from, where they went and what their story is.”

Sean says the new book covers a momentous era in Derry’s recent history.

“The 1980s was a difficult and, at times, very disturbing decade for Derry and the rest of Northern Ireland. It was an era dominated by the Hunger Strikes, the Anglo-Irish Agreement and fledgling peace negotiations.

“Like the 1970s, everyday life was overshadowed by a constant stream of political crises and shocking atrocities. The Troubles seemed entrenched.

“However, in spite of this depressing backdrop, people were determined to get on with their everyday lives and it’s this important facet of Derry’s story that we focus on.”