‘Portrait’ is unlocking memories

Miss Hunt and Miss Piggott at the head of the parade
Miss Hunt and Miss Piggott at the head of the parade
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A new photographic exhibition documenting life in Derry’s Waterside during the first half of the 20th century is currently on display at St Columb’s Park House.

The event, which is part of the award-winning Portrait of a City project, is open to the public until December 13.



The exhibition brings together a collection of photographs - submitted by the general public - which tells the story of people who have grown up on the east bank of the River Foyle.

The archive features never before seen images of Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the city in 1953, taken by Royal Naval Officer Raymond White, a selection of images from the 1930s provided by the Londonderry Sentinel, as well as a number of personal family photo albums.

As a collection, the images tell stories of life, love, hardship and everyday events in the community, providing a valuable and compelling insight into the people of the area.

Harriet Purkis, curator of the exhibition, explained: “The images tell some amazing personal stories between the 1920s and the 1950s, and some of the photographs have never been put on display before.

“For example, Raymond White’s images of the Queen’s visit to the city are particularly interesting.

“She came to the city by train and then travelled up the River Foyle on HMS Rocket and Raymond White was the only photographer present at Lisahally Docks. He never published the images and they just stayed in an album in his home.

“We also have a selection of photographs from the Fountain and Glen Estates areas of Derry/Londonderry provided by Harold and Sarah Burton from their family album.

“They depict family scenes from the first half of the Twentieth Century. And we have more family photos documenting life in Violet Street provided by Dermot O’Doherty.

“I think what is so unique about the exhibition is that it doesn’t feature pictures of local streets and buildings - these images focus on the people of the time, and some of them are very relaxed and very humorous.”

Local sporting moments, agricultural shows and even a trip with the local girl guides all feature in the exhibition as well as some poignant family pictures.

To find out more about the BT Portrait of a City project, go to www.btportraitofacity.com