Belfast Telegraph

Lost photos offer glimpse of Londonderry's past

First Derry Primary School children on the Grand Parade
First Derry Primary School children on the Grand Parade
A huge parade passing over the river
A street scene in Londonderry in 1932
Victoria Leonard

By Victoria Leonard

A treasure trove of glass plate photographic negatives depicting life in 1930s Londonderry is to be auctioned almost half a century after being salvaged from a house blown up by a bomb.

The hoard, a missing part of the photographic archive of the Derry Standard newspaper, which closed in 1966, was found in 1969 after a blast in an empty house in the Waterside area.

A member of an Army search team found the boxes of glass plates hidden under the floorboards. They went unclaimed, and ended up with the soldier who recovered them.

The 68 quarter plate glass negatives provide a glimpse into '30s Londonderry, including public events such as bands, parades, marches and celebrations.

Auctioneer Paul Cooper stated: "Despite being binned, bombed and buried, the plates remain in astonishingly good condition. They really are a quite stunning record of the people and places and life in the city more than eighty years ago."

Much of the newspaper's archive was rescued from a skip where it had been dumped by builders renovating the firm's old premises after it closed. Those negatives are now part of the Derry Library's Heritage Collection. The Waterside negatives will be sold in an online auction on Tuesday, December 5. Visit for details.

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