Facelift continues inside Guildhall

LONDONDERRY’s historic Guildhall shut its doors to the public on Friday to allow renovation work to begin inside.

Having received an impressive spruce-up externally, the building is to undergo extensive changes inside, including the relocation of the debating chamber to its original ‘home’ in the Minor Hall on the first floor behind the ballroom.

The Mayor, Alderman Maurice Devenney, assisted by Guildhall Superintendent, Colin Sharp, closed the doors on Friday, and Mr Devenney described the occasion as “a memorable event” in his calendar as Mayor.

Although the building will be closed for part of the UK City of Culture Celebrations, Mr Devenney said: “We are hoping to have the Guildhall open again in March 2013 for the UK City of Culture. It is unfortunate that it will be shut for part of the City of Culture, but the good thing is that with everybody out of the building the contractors can work undeterred by the weather, which means nothing will delay the work.”

Outside the scaffolding should be down by Christmas, allowing the exterior to shine during the festive holiday.

“This is the first refurbishment since the early 1970s, and it will bring this beautiful building into the 21st Century, but will not interfere with it’s wonderful character inside or outside,” the Mayor said.

The District Registrar’s Office for Births, Death, Marriages & Civil Partnerships will move to 14 Magazine Street keeping the same contact details: 028 7126 8439, fax 028 7137 7964, email [email protected]

Registrar Michelle Duddy, said: “The Magazine Street premises are light and fresh with charm and character overlooking the City’s Walls across a beautiful cobbled street. This will be an excellent attribute to the District Registrar’s Office. When we consider the overall number of visits to the office annually with an average of 3,500 events registered, it is a moderate figure to estimate that there is around a footprint of 10,000 to the office in any one year. The Registration Service whilst governed by legislation is a customer orientated service and it is often an emotional and sometimes very sad time when people visit the office. When considering suitable accommodation for the temporary relocation period for the District Registrar’s Office Council have taken into consideration the needs of the customer for all registration of live events.”

Meanwhile, the Harbour Museum will close to the public on December, 16.

Arrangements for accessing archive and genealogy services will be available shortly and people are advised to telephone 028 7137 7331 or visit www.derrycity.gov.uk/museums for further information.

Full details of the interim service arrangements for the Guildhall and associated services are available at www.derrycity.gov.uk/serviceupdates or by contacting the City Council on 028 7136 5151.