Wednesday, 4th October 2016: Mr Mark Lusby: Old Derry
Using old glass plate photographs Mark gave members an illustrated talk on the city in the years during and immediately after the Second World War. He began by showing rare aerial photos of United States army and navy installations along the Foyle. The main camp for US Servicemen was located on land now occupied by Springtown Industrial estate. The grounds of the Beech Hill House Hotel was the site of several Quonset [Nissan] Huts, barely visible from the air among the trees. A large Communications Centre existed where Altnagelvin Hospital now stands and Du Pont occupies the site near Lisahally Docks where Atlantic Convey escort vessels were repaired and made ready for further patrols. Throughout the war and in the years immediately following farming was the mainstay of the local economy. There was a thriving market for local produce with considerable quantities being exported by ship and train. Several old photos showed scenes of activity long since gone from the city, such as “The Beast Market” outside Butcher’s Gate. Derry’s walls are the largest ancient monument in state care and the only city walls ever to have been fortified twice. His old photographs recorded that during the troubles access to the walls was restricted by barbed wire entanglements and sand bagged observation posts. Recent photos show how things have moved on.