A new book by Brian Mitchell of our Derry Centre, Foyle Maritime Memories; Photographs from the Bigger and McDonald Collection 1927-1939, was published recently by Colourpoint Books.
Through photographs taken by the Derry Standard newspaper, prior to the Second World War, this book explores Derry and Lough Foyle’s maritime history; the key themes being emigration, transatlantic tourism and the activities of the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners – of its divers, dredger Hercules, graving dock, shipyard and launch T.F. Cooke. This book illustrates the vitality and importance of Derry’s north Atlantic outlook.
It captures, for example, the arrival of General Balbo and his ‘Italian Transatlantic Air Armada’ of twenty-four seaplanes on the Foyle on Sunday 2 July 1933 on their way to Chicago’s World Fair.
The year before, Derry had been the centre of another big trans-Atlantic news story that had captured the world’s imagination: the arrival of Amelia Earhart on Saturday 21st May 1932, the first women to fly the Atlantic solo, at Robert Gallagher’s farm at Ballyarnet. This event is captured in six pages of photographs.