Thames and Avon Branch of the Murray Club
Apprentice Boys of Derry
Between Royal Bastion and Butcher's Gate, just inside the Walls stands the Memorial Hall. This is the headquarters of the Apprentice Boys of Derry and still survives today despite repeated organised terrorist attacks on it.
Construction of this magnificent building started on 12th August 1873 when the foundation stone was laid. Items of interest at the time were put underneath the foundation stone - e.g. Coins of the year 1873, local papers, parchment bearing the names of the committee and a copy of Hempton's 'Siege and History of Londonderry'. These items were placed under the stone in sealed tin containers to try to preserve them.
The Memorial Hall was opened on 13th August 1877 and cost an estimated £3,250 to build.
The Memorial Hall Today
In 1937 the large extension was opened. This extension cost in the region of £30,000
All Siege celebrations are centred around the Memorial Hall, as are the initiations of newly elected candidates. All members of the Apprentice Boys must be initiated at the Memorial Hall. I remember with pride my own initiation.
The Memorial Hall contains it's own museum which contains artifacts dating back to the Siege. There is also a room where the effigy of Lundy the Traitor is made. This is done by a different Parent Club each year.