Historic Workhouse Museum site ‘to let’

One of the exhibits featured at the former Workhouse Museum. (2309PG12)
One of the exhibits featured at the former Workhouse Museum. (2309PG12)

Derry’s historic former Workhouse Museum building is being advertised to let after artefacts were removed and put in storage.

The top two floors of the Grade B2 listed Waterside building above the Waterside Library - which formerly housed the museum- have now been put up for rental with a minimum three year lease, and for leisure, storage or office use.

Derry's Workhouse Museum was located at Glendermott Road in the city's Waterside. Photo: Peter Higginbotham.

Derry's Workhouse Museum was located at Glendermott Road in the city's Waterside. Photo: Peter Higginbotham.

The Derry Workhouse first opened in 1840, and only closed as a Workhouse in 1948. It was used as a hospital up until 1991.

The Workhouse building was saved from demolition by a group of local historians, and the Museum opened there in 1997.

It closed for good back in April 2014 after the former Derry City Council agreed not to renew the lease for the facility. The council at the time said the money saved would be put towards the planned Maritime Museum at Ebrington.

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed yesterday that it does not own the former Workhouse Museum building and that the former Derry City Council leased it from a private company.

A stretcher from the former Workhouse Museum

A stretcher from the former Workhouse Museum

When asked what happened to the contents of the Museum, including those related to The Famine, the spokeswoman added: “Some of the artefacts were relocated to other museum facilities including the Tower Museum, while others have been placed in storage for possible placement within the planned Maritime Museum project.”

The ‘Londonderry Poor Law Union’ was enacted in January 1839 and the workhouse erected in 1839-40 on a six-acre site off Glendermott Road, and was designed to house 800 inmates from Derry and Donegal.

The first “paupers” arrived in November 1840, with children’s dormitories in the attic.

Reports state that in the Census of 1901 there was still 287 inmates in the Derry Workhouse.