Video: A new era for Apprentice Boys

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After receiving funding of £3m, the Apprentice Boys of Derry are embarking on a bright new future.

The News Letter is marking the start of the new era this investment will auger for the Boys by exploring its plans which include building an exciting new heritage centre as well as a major refurbishment of Memorial Hall.

Memorial Hall stands proud and majestic on Shipquay Street but inside is in need of a major upgrade. However inside is a treasure trove to fascinate anyone even remotely interested in history.

Three rooms are dedicated to the display of historical artefacts, some dating back to the 17th century and all carefully preserved for future generations.

Many items have been donated to the museum, while other items such as a butchers menu advertising the sort of meat - such as cat and dog - available during the siege to give visitors a real sense of how things were inside the walled city which had been built for 3,000 but was sheltering 30,000 terrified citizens who had fled there from across Northern Ireland.

Another room in the hall houses items from key events in Unionist history such as the signing of the Ulster Covenant and formation of the Ulster Volunteers.

When housed in a purpose built heritage centre, it is easy to imagine this exhibit will be even more enjoyable and will reach even more people.

Also in this supplement, we reveal how three cannon recently found hidden behind a secret wall in the basement of Memorial Hall has confounded Apprentice Boys members, and historian Gordon Lucy takes another look at the infamous Robert Lundy and explores whether his reputation is deserved or not.

This is our first instalment in covering this new era for the Apprentice Boys, as plans are rolled out over the next two years we will also be covering all the key milestones as well as the two major parades held by the Boys in July and December.

Check out Thursday’s News Letter newspaper and online for the full supplement.