An Omagh-based writer who discovered two old-fashioned scrapbooks in an antique shop over a decade ago is appealing to readers of the ‘Derry Journal’ to help track down the books’ rightful owners.
Cathy O’Donnell explains that the two scrapbooks filled with clippings about Derry were inside a cardboard box in an antique shop on Shipquay Street, alongside an old tattered quilt which she has since repaired.
“I remember thinking when I first found them that I couldn’t imagine anyone throwing away their own family photos - so I thought I’d take them home and look after them.
“That was eleven years ago now and they’ve been in my house ever since.”
It was only when Cathy was speaking to a friend from Derry recently that she remembered she had the scrapbooks.
“That triggered my memory and so I hunted the books out and gave them to my friend, Lynne, hoping we could try to find out who owned them somehow,” she said.
Among the clippings in the scrapbooks are various newspaper memorials and an appreciation for a Mr Hugh Gallagher of Shantallow, who, it says, died on May 14, 1975, alongside memorials for a Mrs Anne Gallacher who died on May 15, 1976.
There are also many clippings of old newspaper stories about Derry, including some dealing with conflict occurring at the time.
However, Cathy fears that because the scrapbooks are so old, they may remain unclaimed.
“I’m wondering if anyone would still own them or claim them as the photos appear to be from the 1950s or 1960s and the clippings are from the 1970s and so the scrapbooks may not be remembered.
“But someone might recognise one of the photos, and there’s a strong clue in all the Gallagher memorials they kept, so hopefully someone will recognise the books and come forward. I’d be only too happy to give them back to their rightful owner,” she explained.
The box housing the scrapbooks also held another potential clue to their owners’ identity - as it contained the old quilt too.
“There was an old quilt in the box with the scrapbooks which was quite badly torn,” Cathy says.
“I’ve since mended the quilt and stitched its squares back in again, and so if they want the quilt back, I have that too.”
If you recognise any of these old family photos, or indeed the scrapbooks themselves, please contact Julieann Campbell at the ‘Derry Journal’ on: 71. 272249 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.