Walker's Monument, Derry City, Co. Derry

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Where: Northern Ireland, Londonderry, United Kingdom

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When: Unknown

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From one city of 5 sieges to a city of "The Great Siege" at the other end of the island.

With thanks to today's contributors, we learned that this is indeed Walker's Monument/Column, now (given what remains) known as Walker's Memorial Plinth. Built in the 1820s, this was a memorial to George Walker, who was a governor during the Siege of Derry in 1689. Originally 90 feet in height and capped by statue of Walker, not unlike Nelson's Pillar in Dublin, it had an internal staircase and viewing platform. Also similar to Nelson's Pillar however, it was destroyed in an explosion - although the remains of the statue were removed and partially survive elsewhere. With thanks in particular to Niall McAuley for today's inputs, it's suggested that the image may date from the early 20th rather than late 19th century - given that we can't see the original sword in the statue's hand - seemingly blown down in the early 20th century....


Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date:between ca. 1865-1914 (though possibly later in this range given statue's "missing" sword)

NLI Ref: L_CAB_00592

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 23907
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio glassnegative nationallibraryofireland walkersmonument walker’spillar georgewalker rectorofdonaghmore siegeofderry derry londonderry statue plinth lawrencephotographcollection

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Feb/2016 08:40:22

    Built from 1826 to 1828, per the DIA

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Feb/2016 08:44:53

    Streetview of the now empty plinth. Another angle Bing bird's eye view

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Feb/2016 08:51:24

    The pillar was 90 feet in height surmounted by the statue of Rev. George Walker “of heroic size”(20 feet), with one hand outstretched towards the site of the river barrier/boom. Internally a spiral staircase of 105 steps (The Siege lasted 105 days – the longest in British History) allowed access to the viewing platform on top. The pillar and statue were destroyed by a bomb explosion in August 1973. Only the pedestal remains to this day. A 2010 story on the destruction of the pillar.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Feb/2016 08:54:50

    Ooh, dating info from that story: Originally, the left hand held a sword, but during a night of storm in the early part of this century the sword was blown down.

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Feb/2016 09:04:55

    And today, what's left of him.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Feb/2016 09:08:37

    Actual sword info possibly bogus, but funnier.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Feb/2016 09:40:32

    What's that pole doing up there? (as the Actress said to the Bishop ! )

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    O Mac

    • 04/Feb/2016 10:01:38

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Pole? Walker was English...

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    Niall McAuley

    • 04/Feb/2016 10:20:36

    In some shots, there is a flagpole up there. For some reason, in this shot, the flagpole is not upstanding.

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    B-59

    • 04/Feb/2016 10:37:51

    The statue was attacked in 2010 again, s. www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-10817497

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Feb/2016 21:27:22

    Maybe the pole was also for this ... Evidently an effigy of Governor Lundy was hung and burned on this monument each year - www.londonderrysentinel.co.uk/news/londonderry-news/the-l... Via Trove a description of the 18/12/1883 burning of Lundy's effigy ...

    ... At about a quarter-past three o'clock a large crowd assembled in the neighbourhood of the Monument, from the top of which the effigy of Lundy was suspended. The crowd consisted almost exclusively of 'Prentice Boys and their sympathisers. The military and police cleared some of the streets leading to the walls, but on the latter and on the roadway within view of the monument crowds were permitted to gather. At half-past three o'clock the effigy was set on fire,and the fact was signalised by a discharge of rockets and cheering from the Orangemen. On the summit of the monument several men occupied themselves cheering and dancing, and the crowds continued about the place until the huge effigy was consumed. ...
    From - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/170159192 Fast forward to 2013 - Was Lundy innocent? - www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/after-32... [opening a can of worms here]

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    O Mac

    • 04/Feb/2016 22:27:59

    Of the two prominent buildings in the distance (left of column) one still stands in Crawford Square. The other, the Ardowen Hotel, was blown up in 1972. Reverse shot from Crawford Square..

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 04/Feb/2016 23:29:24

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] The Ardowan Hotel does not appear in this earlier Stereo Pair - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000565997/Map - which might help with dating. Also the gas lamp ... "Derry Corporation opened a coal-fired station to provide for street lighting in 1892" - from www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/... . An electric lamp visible in this photo www.ebay.ie/itm/Irish-RPPC-Postcard-WALKER-MONUMENT-Derry... You have to love Flickr (sometimes) - 1958 - via [https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedouglascampbellshow/] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedouglascampbellshow/2961748429]

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    wood_worker34

    • 04/Feb/2016 23:41:59

    Woodworker 34 The man on the left of photo found a nice place to rest.

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    O Mac

    • 05/Feb/2016 00:17:55

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] I couldn't find any dates for those Crawford Square buildings. I'd say we're looking at pre 1892. Here's one with your electric lamp and the above gas standard now looking rather forlorn. catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000325570 This is my favourite Walker monument photo in the archive-- catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000336191

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 05/Feb/2016 00:29:41

    Thanks all - especially https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley for the super information on the history and fate of the monument. It seems that the "missing sword" dating theory may be corroborated by https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia's suggested dating on the visible gas-lamp. I've therefore made a note for the date - as well as updating the tags and map. Thanks again all!