August 1973... Free Derry Corner with Walker’s Pillar in the background

August 1973... Free Derry Corner.
August 1973... Free Derry Corner.

On January 5, 1969, the words “You Are Now Entering Free Derry” were painted on the gable wall of a terraced house in Derry’s Bogside.

Then just an individual’s act of defiance, the slogan, and the wall, have now become an internationally recognised symbol of resistance.

It is no exaggeration to say that Free Derry Corner is one of the North’s best-known historical landmarks.

The free-standing gable wall commemorates Free Derry - a self-declared autonomous area of Derry that existed between 1969 and 1972.

It was in January 1969 that a local activist, John “Caker” Casey, painted a sign on the gable wall stating: “You are now entering Free Derry”. When the British Home Secretary, Jim Callaghan, visited Derry in August 1969, the ‘Free Derry’ wall was painted white and the “You are now entering Free Derry” sign was professionally re-painted in black lettering.

The houses on Lecky Road and Fahan Street were subsequently demolished but the symbol of resistance stayed.