From the Derry Journal archives - July 1976

Derry’s worst day of violence for years - A 19 year-old British soldier killed by a sniper; business premises in the city centre either destroyed or badly damaged by bomb explosions which were followed by fires; a hotel blasted in another bomb explosion; and rioting. This was the catalogue of death and destruction of one of the worst days of violence Derry has experienced for some years.

The young soldier who died was Gunner William Miller, of the 16th Light Air Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery.

He was on sentry duty at Butcher Gate pedestrian checkpoint when shot in the head by a sniper. It is believed that the sniper fired from a house in Waterloo Street. The greatest damage caused by the bomb blitz was at the clothing establishment of Kelly and Son in Foyle Street. Shortly before midday, two youths planted a bag in which were two bombs. Also gutted was the former North West Hotel in East Wall. Further along Foyle Street, two youths planted bombs in another clothing boutique resulting in a fierce fire which gutted the boutique and considerably damaged other parts of Commercial Buildings.

Arts Centre proposed for Brooke Park - Derry City Council’s Amenities and Leisure Committee is to probe the possibility of creating an arts centre on the Gwyn’s Institute site in Brooke Park.

At the City Council meeting, the council decided to ask the Amenities Committee to forward general proposals for the use of a building on the site if a decision to replace rather than renovate the existing building was reached.

Councillor Hugh Doherty proposed that they should consider the creation of an arts centre and the proposal was supported by the mayor, Alderman James Hegarty. It was agreed that the proposal be investigated.

Walker’s Monument to be rebuilt? - The Apprentice Boys of Derry are planning to rebuild the Walker Monument, which was demolished by a 100lbs bomb on August 28, 1973. An application for outline planning permission has been recommended for approval by the Technical Services Committee of Derry District Council. The 96 feet high column was built as a memorial to Governor George Walker, co-governor of the city during the Siege of 1688-89, as a tribute to his leadership of the besieged people. It cost £1,285, all of which was subscribed by Protestant members of the community. From the monument’s base, Governor Lundy was burned on the annual Apprentice Boys celebrations. Whether the Apprentice Boys, or indeed, any organisation has any right to build upon the walls is extremely doubtful and the legality of the move for re-instatement may be challenged. When it was originally built in 1826, there were no technicalities like planning permission necessary.