The fire which gutted the Poundstretcher building on Bishop Street has sparked some nostalgia among local people about the historic building and its association with a number of high profile figures.
The Journal was contacted last week just after the fire by a local man recalling the store’s former incarnation as Cavendish Furniture Shop, while others have also mentioned the old store on social media.
A glance back through the Journal archives uncovered an image of fresh-faced actor Roger Moore in Derry during his pre-James Bond days to cut the ribbon on the refurbished Cavendish’s’ store.
This was the summer of 1964 and Mr Moore was at the time already a celebrity as the star of TV’s ‘The Saint’.
Moore would go on to become even more famous by starring as James Bond in seven blockbuster movies in the 1970s and 1980s and is still regarded today as one of the finest actors to have donned 007’s Tuxedo.
He starred in “A View To A Kill”, “Octopussy”, “Live And Let Die”, “The Spy Who Loved Me”, “The Man With The Golden Gun”, “For Your Eyes Only” and “Moonraker”.
A local man recalled how, on another occasion, when Cavendish’s was refurbished, Michael Miles, who was the host of the TV game show, “Take Your Pick”, opened the store.
The Journal has also found advertisements for ‘Part-Exchange Furniture Sales’ offering vacuum cleaners for £2 and 10, Chesterfield Suites from £5, Sideboards from £4, prams from £4 and ‘Fireside Chairs’ and Dining Room Tables for £2 a pop.
The connections between Cavendish’s and the world of celebrity does not stop with Roger Moore as the man who owned it was also of world-famous stock.
Dickie Cochrane, who lived at Redcastle, was a descendant of naval hero Admiral Thomas Cochrane.
One local man recalled Dickie Cochrane as “a softly spoken gentleman with a Canadian accent”.
His Scottish seafaring ancestor, Admiral Cochrane, Earl Of Dundonald, inspired novelist Patrick O’Brian’s 19th Century hero Captain Jack Aubrey. Admiral Cochrane’s adventures during his life included leading men into battle against Napoleon’s Army, a stint as a Member of Parliament and emigrating to Chile with his family.
During his time in Chile, he took command of their navy in the war of independence with Spain. His success would lead to him becoming a national hero in Chile, where he is still remembered. Oscar winner Russell Crowe would go on to play Jack Aubrey in the movie, ‘Master and Commander’.
The man who contacted the Journal recalled how his father was a friend of Dickie Cochrane and recalled visiting his house in Redcastle and seeing an extraordinarily elaborate naval uniform on a mannequin in the corner of the room which had belonged to his ancestor.
Thomas Cochrane’s youngest son, Ernest, is buried in the grounds of St Finian’s Church in Redcastle and his repose there is marked by a monument.
Ernest, born in London in 1834, himself joined the Royal Navy aged just 13 and fought during the Crimean War. His second wife was Elizabeth Doherty from Redcastle, and he would later try to help stop the African slave trade. He was later appointed High Sheriff of County Donegal.