Monday, June 20, 2022
HomeWales PoliticsThe Queen and I. Londonderry (sic ) within the Nineteen Fifties –...

The Queen and I. Londonderry (sic ) within the Nineteen Fifties – Slugger O’Toole

I consider the Nineteen Fifties because the final time you didn’t need to be wired about id. Possibly  that’s as a result of I used to be aged from between 3 to 12 on the time however I don’t consider that altogether explains it. Londonderry was a unionist city with a Catholic majority, a press release not solely concerning the gerrymander however the environment of the outdated walled metropolis the place most premises have been Protestant owned, like the center class suburbs. Working folks on either side huddled shut collectively, separated solely by a avenue’s width unimaginable at present. Rationing was ending; we might freely purchase ha’penny chews. To the extent that politics featured, it appeared to operate as a sort of mutual apartheid: we received on with our enterprise and so they received on with theirs. A stack of seats at Stormont weren’t even contested.  De Valera ‘s anti partition marketing campaign had fizzled out by 1951, Most politicians on either side have been uninteresting conservatives  very reluctant to spend cash even on their very own;   whereas civil servants  received on with making the brand new well being service work throughout the piece – besides  for the  Catholic, non-state  Mater Hospital funded by YP soccer  swimming pools in Belfast. Progress and growth weren’t completely absent. The shirt factories have been booming. The UK‘s first NHS hospital at Altnagelvin the “hill of the sparrows” was   opened in 1959, a giant feather in Derry’s cap. DuPont artificial fibres plant opened in 1960 and survived for greater than 50 years.  Creggan, a giant property for Catholics was constructed up the hill by the notorious Londonderry Company   and a smaller one, Irish Road, for Prods throughout the river within the Waterside.

Already I can hear the hyper politically conscious amongst you leaping up and down. What concerning the border marketing campaign from 1956- 62? I’ll inform you concerning the border marketing campaign. It gave us a bit of pleasure until you have been dwelling  in or round Lisbelllaw in Fermanagh.  The IRA, an obscure group of diehards,  ran a steam engine into the GNR station in Derry and blew up an electrical energy substation close to my major college.  My dad introduced house a shellac disc of the Ballad of Sean South that honoured the martyred lifeless ( although not in our home)  and a person threw a stone on the courthouse window reverse and  yelled “ bomb.” earlier than working away down the Lengthy Tower.

One night by the lamppost the place folks appreciated to simply stand on the backside of our avenue , a pleasant RUC  constable dug into his ammo pouch and gave me a giant brass bullet to carry. I ran as much as the home to indicate it to my Mammy. She had a match and got here right down to belabour him. No one would have dreamt of creating a criticism.  There was a sort of guilelessness round, because the shadow of  darker days had begun to fade and the spectre of worse ones had but to type.

As a 4 12 months outdated I’d remembered the loss of life of the George VI in February 1952 when the union jack was lowed to half mast on the Guildhall. I guess we gained’t have that subsequent time. Yearly we celebrated Empire Day by gathering within the playground to sing Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia.

The younger Queen personified a brand new starting after the rigours of conflict. Derry was nonetheless a base for the navy and the People.  Gieves the naval tailors had a department in Derry till HMS Sea Eagle the closed within the mid sixties. The Coronation in June 1953 was a novel occasion. We had a celebration in school,  for which every baby was given  a blue  plastic  beaker for orange juice served with marshmallows, a china mug with the Queen’s picture and an equally embossed  stuffed tin pencil case.  I presume Catholic faculties didn’t participate though the provide would have been made… a degree value checking.

The Fountain, then a community of tiny Victorian streets held a avenue occasion for days, bunting partly provided by my father who saved the flags made for the go to of Edward VII in 1903. Well being and security guidelines  imposed  for the Platinum jubilee  have been remarkable then. Tv reception  hadn’t  stretched to Derry in 1953 and we plied into the Ebrington Corridor in relays to look at the luxurious color movie  of the Coronation a number of weeks later  The excessive level after all was the Queen’s go to to the town later in  the 12 months in becoming  tribute to its standing,  or so I believed,  and its function within the conflict.   We have been certainly  a privileged household.  I received an unique view of her arrival by destroyer on the quayside behind the Guildhall as a result of my dad labored for the Harbour board. My auntie who was the below sheriff’s secretary was offered to the Queen  in Brooke Park beside Gwyn’s Establishment which housed the Metropolis library later  to be bombed and destroyed by the IRA. There was a terrific fuss about her outfit, the compulsory massive hat, a fur stole and a brand new costume.  The mayor a distant relative, was knighted.  I made a giant collage of color pictures of the coronation and her later Commonwealth tour that survived for years in school.

I suppose all of it added as much as a patriotism that took that established order completely as a right because the norm.   This was the dignified model that had little of the stridency of loyalist commemoration and as such appealed to me extra. You’ll be able to say if you’d like that the flummery hid a large number of sins. However in its curious means the Crown and she or he who wears it nonetheless after seventy years, stand for a super that for a lot of  survived far worse days than we might ever have imagined within the Nineteen Fifties.

photograph courtesy BT Metropolis of Tradition project 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments