Greater Shantallow Area Partnership and ONNP have teamed up again with the Nerve Centre to establish an Archiving Hub in the area – ‘The Forge’ - based at Unit 20 in the Northside Village Centre.

Funded by donation from Northside Development Trust & DCAL the Archiving Hub is a managed resource equipped for community archiving, local history & individual family history projects, researching, accessing archive material (diaries, documents, photos, video footage, interviews, transcripts etc….).

The Forge has a number of volunteers - to manage access to the equipment, support individuals and groups to research / collate information, to digitise documents / photographs, and to catalogue information etc…

We aim to collect a treasury of information embracing the past, present and the future within the Greater Shantallow area and create an impressive archive collection which will be held at the Forge and made available to the general public.

Visit by Jennifer Hawthorn 'Head of Communities' with the NIHE

THE FORGE IS CALLING on local residents, historians, families who once lived within the area, local businesses, schools, churches, community groups etc. to bring along old photographs, negatives, documents, press-cuttings, analogue audio and video recordings pertaining to the Greater Shantallow Area (inclusive of Galliagh, Shantallow, Culmore, Carnhill, Pennyburn and Ballynashallog) which we can then digitise, record and preserve to help keep memories of the Greater Shantallow Area’s past alive.

THE HERITAGE BASE within the area is rich in content and covers a long timeline – from the Neolithic Settlement at Ballynashallog, to the 16th and 17th periods of the Plantation and Siege, to WW2 in the mid-20th Century, to the late 20th Century architecture of Liam McCormick.

The following section provides a summary of the variety and scope of the heritage asset base which exists in the Greater Shantallow Area. 

Ballyarnett Country Park 145 acre parkland and former Ballyarnett Racecourse dating from the 18th Century, owned by the local council

Amelia Earhart Cottage Museum – Situated in the Country Park. A landmark reminder of the world famous aviator’s landing in Ballyarnett in May 1932. The Cottage is currently closed to the public.

Our Lady of Lourdes (Steelstown) Church (1976) – one of a number of Churches in the North West designed by the ‘Father of Modern Irish Architecture’, Liam McCormack

Mormon Church and Genealogy Service – the first Mormon Church to beconsecrated in Ireland (1966), following the exodus of Mormon worshipers from Ireland in the 1850s.

Belmont House Estate – dating from 1696, the current house was built in the 1830s. The Ancient St. Columb’s Stone is situated in the Walled Garden

St. Patrick’s Primary School - where internationally renowned playwright Brian Friel taught Maths before turning to writing in 1960

Pennyburn –Area of significant industrial heritage including shipbuilding and railways, St. Patrick’s Church (1935) and Siege Battles (Penny Burn Mill – Mill demolished 1860), WW2 history - US Naval Ship Repair Base.

Bay Road Local Nature Reserve – Sited adjacent to former ‘Fort George’ (former Shipyard) stretches for 3km along the Foyle frontage, and forms part of National Cycle Network

Elagh Castle – Important castle ruins dating from 16th Century with historical links to castles across Inishowen, including Grianan of Aileach. The castle is located on the border with neighbouring Donegal. Also the site of a Seige Battle in 1688.

Culmore Point/Fort/Village – Waving “Bon Voyage” to the ‘Scotch Boat’! The Fort was originally built in the 17th Century, now replaced with a 19th Century block house in the form of a tower. The Fort was strategically important during the Siege of 1688/9. The original ramparts are still evident (known locally as the Plantings). Also important are the ruins of the 17th Century Church and Graveyard and the local primary school situated in Culmore Village.

Thornhill House – The former home of the Watt Family (19th Century whiskey producers in Abbey Street, Bogside), it is now part of Thornhill College Estate.

Ballynashallog Archaeology – a Neolithic site discovered in 2000, believed to the home of Derry’s first settlers (near to new Thornhill College)

Brook Hall Estate – dating from the pre-siege period. Used as Jacobite Headquarters in 1689, current house dates from 1780.The Estate is famed for its Arboretum and Woodland dating from 18th Century. The farm is a centre of sustainable farming – willow crops.

Boom Hall Estate and Site of Siege Boom – House dates from 1779 (now a ruin in dangerous condition). Overlooks the site of the Siege Boom laid in 1689. The regeneration of the Estate is being led by Boom Hall Partnership and the world renowned Eden Project.

Troy Hall Estate – Troy Hall dates from 1897 and was formerly the home of George Maxwell – owner of the former Northern Counties Hotel in Derry. West wing of the Hall is now a B&B. Gatehouse to Estate remains.

Messines Park – housing developed after WW1 for returning servicemen (‘Homes Fit for Heroes’) named after Messines Ridge (Belgium). Was the site of WW2 air bombing, killing 13 residents.

Greater Shantallow has a rich and varied cultural heritage which has shaped historical timelines, events and the area’s heritage and geographical landscape, adding to the wider story of Derry City and the region, past and present. In summary, the cultural heritage of the area might be expressed as follows:

The wider “Derry” Story

  • Gaelic Derry/Ireland
  • The Ulster Plantation - 17th Century Derry
  • The Siege
  • 19th Century Industrial Derry
  • WW2
  • 20TH Century Derry (Amelia etc.)

The Siege

  • Pennyburn
  • Elaghmore (Elagh Castle)
  • Brook Hall
  • Siege Boom
  • Culmore Fort, Church, Ramparts and Village


  • US Naval Ship Repairs
  • Anti- Aircraft Batteries
  • U- Boat Surrender 1945 (Banks of the Foyle)

The ‘Big Houses and Estates’ of the Plantation and Industrial Entrepreneurs

  • Brook Hall
  • Boom Hall
  • Troy Hall
  • Thornhill House
  • Belmont House

Premier Horse Racing

  • Ballyarnett (17th to 20th Century)

Amelia Earhart

  • Ballyarnett Landing (May 1932)
  • Amelia Legacy

Industrial Heritage

  • Shipbuilding
  • Railways
  • Naval Ship Repairs

Gaelic Ireland (The O’Doherty’s) – 16th Century – Castles across Derry and Inishowen

  • Culmore
  • Elagh
  • Aileach
  • Inch
  • Burt
  • Buncrana
  • Greencastle
  • Carrickabraghy

Ecclesiastical Heritage

  • Patrick’s Pennyburn
  • Our Lady of Lourdes
  • Culmore Church
  • Mormon Church, Pennyburn


  • McCorkell’s Shipping Line
  • The Famine Exodus

Neolithic Heritage

  • New Stone Age – From 10,200 BC
  • First Farming Settlement in Ireland

‘The Troubles’

  • Shantallow Memorial
  • ‘The Troubles’ Legacy

Current Day Sustainable Farming

  • Brook Hall Farm


**COME** have your old family/group photographs, vhs/film footage, audio recordings, newspapers clippings preserved by trained archivists or learn yourself how to use the software available

**COME** and view film footage from the North West Film Archive which is a unique digital collection of archive material from counties Derry and Donegal. The archive provides over 60 hours of film including documentaries, news reels, television news, drama, short films, animation and Super 8 home movies.

Visit by MEP Martina Anderson

**COME** and view film footage from the NI SCREEN Digital Film Archive which contains hours of film footage spanning 100 years of Northern Irish history from 1897 to 2014.  Items in the archive include drama, animation, documentaries, news, newsreels, war-time propaganda, amateur and actuality films.

To generate income to sustain the project we will also provide an on-site digitisation service specialising in scanning/restoring slides, photos and film negatives to high quality digital images, converting VHS to DVD/CDs, offering printing facilities and runing weekly, local heritage screenings.

Volunteer Roles area available including digitising archival materials, editing digital materials and uploading and cataloguing them onto a computer. An interest in history and heritage would be useful.

For further information you can contact the Forge by telephone on (028) 7135 4530, calling in or posting to Unit 20, Northside Village Centre, Glengalliagh Road, Derry, BT48 8NN or by email on [email protected]

Check out Shantallow Peoples History Project Shantallow People's History Project