£3 million facelift for the Mem Hall
Over £2 million is to be spent creating a purpose-built heritage centre on Society Street, thanks to a seven figure cash injection announced on Friday.
Work will get underway in the coming months on the new centre, which will be the first new building to be erected on that street since 1937 when the Memorial Hall was renovated.
In tandem with the new build, the Memorial Hall, of the most historic landmark buildings in the city, is to receive a £1 million facelift bringing it into the 21st Century.
A total of £3.3 million is to be spent on the projects, and no one is more delighted to see the funding come online than Secretary of the Apprentice Boys, Billy Moore, who described Friday’s funding announcement by Ministers Nelson McCausland and Arlene Foster as “very special and very exciting”.
He said £2.2 million came from the Special EU Programmes Body, and £800,000 from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
“£1 million of the money is to be spent on the refurbishment of the Memorial Hall, and a lot of work needs to be done there to bring the building up to standard. We are planning to rewire the building, put in a new heating system and sort out areas of dampness. We will also be installing a lift for disability access purposes and this will facilitate both the Memorial Hall and the new Heritage Centre,” said Mr Moore, adding: “Friday was a very special day because the Heritage Centre will be the first new building on Society Street since the renovation of the Mem Hall in 1937. When it is complete the new centre will have a purpose built heritage centre reaching out to all sections of the community and encouraging a much greater understanding of the history, culture and traditions of the Apprentice Boys of Derry while also encouraging the Protestant community on the Waterside and as an encouragement to come back to the West Band and the shared city.”
Currently a tendering process is underway to secure an integrated consultation team which will oversee work begin work on the ‘Heroes of the Great Siege Shared History and Visitors Centre’ that is designed to promote reconciliation by creating an iconic shared space which will be used to promote a common understanding of the 1688-89 Siege and the shared history of the city.
Welcoming the announcement Nelson McCausland Minister for Social Development said the project would promote a shared and better future and also encourage greater levels of mutual respect, while Minister Foster commended the Apprentice Boys for their vision, determination and dedication to the project.
Congratulations were offered to the Apprentice Boys and Trustees of the Memorial Hall by the City Grand Orange Lodge.
Their spokesman Victor Wray said: “It is wonderful news to hear that the ABOD have received over £3 million to refurbish the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall and for the building of a new interpretive Centre, where the history and culture of the Apprentice Boys and Orange Institution will be there for all the community to visit. We also want to congratulate and thank the Secretary of the Apprentice Boys, Billy Moore, and his team, for all the hard work they have put in over the years in researching all the funding for this imaginative project. Once complete it will secure the Memorial Hall in the community for decades to come.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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