The Oldest Murals

“PUL” – Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist
“CNR” – Catholic/Nationalist/Republican

1. The Bobby Jackson mural of the Siege Of Derry and King William Crossing The Boyne dates back to the nineteen twenties (Loftus 1983 gives 1926) or forties (Woods 1995 gives the 1940s). The mural (in the (PUL) Fountain area of Londonderry) was touched up annually and the wall itself was moved in the 1970s. The wall was eventually destroyed in 1995 and a new, similar, mural painted. This new mural is maintained by Bobby Jackson’s son, on boards and only on public display during marching season in the Fountain, Londonderry. (For images, see the Jackson murals’ own Visual History page.)

(M00813)

2. The “Rockland Street” or “Village” (PUL) King Billy dates back to roughly 1932 (Loftus 1983 says “approximately 1932 … by a man named Johnston from nearby Roden Street”) and was touched up annually and repainted on several occasions. Loftus 1983 has an image from the early 1960s. When the mural was “repainted by the Dowie Brothers in 1968, it was redesigned for the first time in 39 years (BNL 12-7-1968)” (Jarman 1995 p. 117). Geoff Howard at Alamy has a good image of (presumably) this mural from 1970. The (unattributed) image just below shows a bonfire close to the mural in 1971.

(X05519)

The unattributed image just below (possibly related to this 1975 Conrad Atkinson) shows the 1968 version of the mural in great disrepair.

(M00800)

According to Loftus (1982 p. 60), the damage to the plaster on the right (and perhaps to the bottom of the painting in general?) was due to a 1974 bonfire. Loftus has an image from 1979 (fig. 6) of the mural repaired.

It appears to have been repainted in 1981 (see Sykes – Alamy A8FKD7)

And c. 1984:
(M01039 unattributed image) (See also C00421 or Rolston 1991 plates)

And again in 1989:
(M00710 © Allan Gallery, used with permission)

3. Free Derry Corner (CNR) was first painted in 1969 and has been in constant use since then, despite the house it was attached to being knocked down.
Both Free Derry Corner and the rear of Free Derry Corner (first painted in 1983) have their own Visual History pages.
Free Derry Corner in 1972.
M00075 Rossville St 1972+.jpg
(M00075)

4. The top candidate for the longest-lasting mural without repainting is in Anne Street in Derry’s Brandywell (CNR). It was painted in 1981 or 1982 and is in surprisingly good shape given that it has not been touched in 35+ years. (Google Maps link)

In 1981/1982:(M00192)

In 2004:
(M02176)

5. Also almost exactly in its original form – though repainted – is the phoenix in Clowney Street, Belfast (CNR). It was first painted in 1981 and has been touched up in 1987 and 1990 and repainted in 2013.

In 1981:
(M00217)

In 1987, with Vote Adams posters:
(M00454)

In 1990, being touched up:
(M00827)

In 2009, in poor condition:
(M04943 See also 2010 M5619)

In 2013:
(M09512)

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