Monday, 3 November 2014

The Peoples Hall, Barrack Street.



It is now more than forty years since the Peoples Hall in Barrack Street, Londonderry became yet another statistic in the history of what is euthemistically referred to as, "the Troubles." It ended up as rubble and burnt timbers as did so many buildings.


The original Peoples Hall was, according to the Methodist Church in Ireland's website, set up by the Wesleyan Rev. Robert Byers in 1909. The assurance of the property upon which the building was situated is to four trustees of the Methodist Church and is dated 19th August 1909. The deed map, (see supra), would seem to indicate that at the time of the granting of the lease that the building was already in existence. The ground landlord was Londonderry Corporation and the term granted was one of 999 years from 1st August 1909. The ground rent reserved was £15.00 per annum. The Church trustees were Charles W Gordon of Bishop Street, Merchant, John Greenhill of Edenbank, Merchant, James Lamb of 119 Spencer Road Draper and Daniel Cormie of Berryburn Drumahoe, boxmaker. The Corporation had acquired these lands and others, totalling just over three acres, from the RCB in 1897. The acreage had constituted the Bishop's Garden.


A new, "Peoples Hall," was constructed in close proximity to the original structure in 1933 and this edifice included accomodation for homeless men. An open air service was held to celebrate the opening, with a portable organ providing the musical accompaniment. Pictures of the event are to be found in the photographic collection of Londonderry's Central Library.


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