Malin-born businessman to get blue plaque in Derry city centre

An Ulster History Circle plaque in memory of Sir William McArthur - the Malin-born businessman who went on to become Lord Mayor of London - was unveiled in Derry today.

The ceremony took place this morning at 23-24 The Diamond - the site of McArthur’s first business.

Willie Walsh - current President of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and CEO of International Airlines Group - unveiled the plaque.

William McArthur was born in the Inishowen village of Malin in July 1809. His father was a poor Scots-Irish farmer and itinerant Wesleyan preacher.

In 1831, with Joseph Cather, he started a woollen export business in the Diamond in Derry. In 1857, William transferred the headquarters of the firm to London and settled in Brixton Hill. By the mid-1860s, he had extended his activities into banking and insurance.

William McArthur became Sheriff of London in 1867, an alderman in 1872 and Lord Mayor in 1880. He was one of the founders of the London Chamber of Commerce in 1881 and its first President.

McArthur died from heart failure on the London Underground in November 1887. He left a fortune of almost half a million pounds, bequeathing more than £150,000 to Methodist charities. He is buried in Norwood Cemetery.

Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, says the organisation is delighted to commemorate McArthur’s achievements with a blue plaque.