AN exhibition celebrating the life of late artist, pugillist and Londonderry character, Paddy ‘Barman’ Duffy, opens at the Verbal Art Centre on Monday (September 23).
Paddy was a well-known character in the city and during his lifetime was everything from a professional heavy weight boxer to a keen amateur sketcher and wood carver.
Over the course of 3 days the public are invited to come along to this free exhibition to learn more about his remarkable life, see some of his artwork and hear from the people who knew him best – his sons and daughters.
Last month a campaign was started to identify 118 people (and a dog) in a famous 1947 picture (above) of Paddy minding the door of the old Gasyard as local people queued for coke.
For those who may not be old enough to remember back to 1947, coke was a by-product from the combustion of coal to produce town gas.
The furnaces in the Gas Yard operated at very high temperatures to extract the gas from coal and the residue, coke, was a really efficient reusable fuel which was sold to families all over the city.
It was cheaper than coal and people of all ages queued at the Gas Yard to get their bushel of coke to take back to their homes.
The picture along with the identity of many of these people will be on display – including the dog!
The Duffy family have teamed up with local playwright, Martin O’Brien to create a short film recreating that famous picture which will also be shown over the course of the 3 days.
For an added glimpse into a time gone by, everyone who comes along to the launch on Monday will get a free sample bag of coke to take home (the legal variety, of course).
The exhibition will run from Monday 23 - Wednesday 25 September, 1pm-4pm each day in the Blue Coat Room of the Verbal Arts Centre and is completely free to the public. There will be books on sale at the event documenting Paddy’s life with all proceeds going to the Foyle Hospice and Foyleview School.