Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Blue plaque for Bangor’s famous Titanic film-maker

Bangor film-maker, writer and photographer William MacQuitty was honoured with an Ulster History Circle blue plaque, unveiled at his former home on Friday.

It is fitting that the plaque was unveiled at 89 Princetown Road in a ceremony held on April 15, for it marked exactly 99 years since the Titanic sank.

Having witnessed the ship being launched as a six-year-old in 1911, MacQuitty’s greatest achievement in film was the 1958 release, A Night to Remember, the classic account of the sinking of the Titanic.

Educated at Campbell College, MacQuitty worked in Ceylon, Siam, Malaya and China before returning to Ireland in 1939, where he briefly worked at farming.

His career in film started with his amateur film Simple Silage, made for the benefit of Ulster farming neighbours, which came to the attention of the Ministry of Information.

After the war, during which he produced a number of films supporting the war effort, big feature films followed.

In 1959 MacQuitty also helped to found Ulster Television, becoming its first managing director.

His experiences in Egypt led him to write his first book, Abu Simbel.

He went on to produce almost a book a year on a variety of subjects, reflecting his interests in the Orient, all illustrated with his award-winning photographs from a library of a quarter of a million taken by him over the course of 60 years, in 75 different countries.

In 2002 the Royal Photographic Society awarded him with the Society's Lumière Award for distinction in film and photography. He died on February 5, 2004.

The plaque is supported by North Down Borough Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Wesley McCann, chairman of the Ulster History Circle said: “The Ulster History Circle is pleased to erect this Blue Plaque in celebration of an outstanding film-maker, photographer and author whose work is of lasting importance.

“Blue plaques serve to keep alive the memory of those women and men who have enriched our cultural and scientific heritage and it is fitting that William MacQuitty should be added to the list.”

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