Stained Glass Window in Guildhall, Londonderry

In 1885 The Honorable The Irish Society granted £16,000 and a site to the Londonderry Corporation for a new town-hall. The building became known as The Guildhall (to emphasise the connection to the City of London) and was completed in 1890.

Following a fire in 1908, the building was demolished, redesigned and rebuilt with further financial assistance by The Irish Society. At the Governor's suggestion, the London Livery Companies were invited to supply and fund the cost of Livery-themed stained glass windows. This was to be partly in celebration of the Society's tercentenary in 1913 but to also be a commemoration of the visit of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to Londonderry in 1903.

Many Livery Companies responded to this request to supply a window, the Musicians' Company being amongst them. The windows were all made by Campbell Brothers of Belfast and were installed in 1913. The image right shows the original WCOM window which is placed in the main entrance porch at ground level - unveiled by the Duchess of Abercorn on 13th July 1913. Alongside and to the left of the Musicians' window (looking from the inside) is a window by The Glaziers' Company.

The Musicians' Company Archive Project
The Musicians' Company Archive Project
The Musicians' Company Archive Project

The image left is of an original watercolour design of the Musicians' window by Cambell Bros - Click on the picture to expand.

Unfortunately, much of the stained glass in the Guildhall was destroyed by IRA attacks in 1972 and 1978. Nevertheless, it was all replaced and photos of the current Musicians' and Glaziers' windows are shown below. Even though they were re-installed around 1980, the windows still indicate the date of 1913.

Interestingly, it can also be seen that while the WCOM and Glaziers'  Company windows remain alongside each other, their positions (left and right) have actually been swapped!

The Musicians' Company Archive Project
The Musicians' Company Archive Project

The photographs above of the original watercolour and the modern Musicians' window (far right), are shown here courtesy of the Derry City & Strabane District Council Museum & Visitor Service.

The pictures below of the external stonework of the Guildhall show these two windows from the outside. They form a side wall of the main porch entrance of the building at the base of the clock tower. The arrow indicates the current position of the Musicians' Company window.

The Musicians' Company Archive Project
The Musicians' Company Archive Project

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