To some Derry residents of a certain generation, the words ‘Bishop Street and the Fountain’ usually conjure up images of community division, violence and political upheaval.
However, a new book by Mickey Cooper from the Gasyard Trust aims to reflect the deep connections that exist between the two areas and their long histories of development stretching back to the earliest settlers in Derry.
Mickey explains the rationale for the book which is now available at outlets across the city.
“Over the last few years the Gasyard Trust has been working in conjunction with the ‘Peace Walls Project’ to develop a range of initiatives to promote co-operation between residents of the Bishop Street and Fountain areas.
One such initiative has been to develop the heritage and tourism potential of the two areas to draw visitors to the City Walls and Bogside into the two areas,” said Mr Cooper.
The project was funded by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister and the Housing Executive.
A range of products have been developed as a result, including a new visitor’s attraction brochure, a new website and app, a large number of new signs for tourists and a new book about shared history between Bishop Street and the Fountain.
The book was designed by Guildhall Press and also includes extracts from ‘The Fountain - The Heartbeat of the City’ by Fountain historian Trevor Temple.
“It includes chapters on the early history of both areas including their monastic connections, the plantation, the siege, industrial heritage, the impact of the War of Independence and the two world wars and a chronology of the events during the modern political conflict which impacted directly on the two areas,” he said.
“The Housing Executive is delighted to have been involved with this Tourism Employment Programme and to have funded the Bishop Street/Fountain shared history book, which charts the shared history of the people of the Bishop Street and Fountain Street areas,” said Housing Executive West Area Manager, Avril McAllister.
Eddie Breslin, Good Relations Officer with the Housing Executive’s Cohesion team, added: “This publication will help to further enhance good relations between residents on both sides of the interface.
“This programme will educate the younger generation about their shared industrial past and I have no doubt will bring back great memories to the older generation of what was a very vibrant shared part of our city.”