Stormont artefacts on display for limited time

The dust covers were removed yesterday from a treasure trove of artefacts which had once adorned the halls of Stormont.

Items belonging to the Assembly at Stormont are currently being held in off-site storage area.  
Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.
Items belonging to the Assembly at Stormont are currently being held in off-site storage area. Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.

Assembly members and media outlets were invited to view the paintings and memorabilia which have been stored for more than two decades at a facility in Dunmurry.

The items included paintings of Field Marshall Montgomery and NI’s first prime minister Viscount Craigavon, as well as a scale model of Thiepval Tower and the ceremonial wig from the first speaker of the NI Assembly.

Also in storage is a table from Derrymore House where it is thought the provisional terms of the Act of Union were agreed upon in 1800.

Johnny Andrews with a portrait of his great grandfather Rt Hon JM Andrews, NI's first prime minister. Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.

While there was a lot of media interest in the artefacts, only one MLA arrived to view the items – Jim Allister of the TUV – the man who has been campaigning to have them taken out of storage.

Mr Allister said the removal of the items from Stormont was “political correctness gone mad”.

Johnny Andrews, the great grandson of NI’s second prime minister JM Andrews, who features in one of the stored paintings by Frank McElvey, supported Mr Allister’s campaign to have the artefacts put back on display.

An Assembly spokesperson said: “While a small number of the artefacts and artwork held by the Assembly Commission are currently in off site storage, most are either on permanent public display, in other parts of Parliament Buildings or on long term loan to other locations. Once the Assembly appoints a new Commission, it will be open to it to consider the merits of an exhibition of artwork in Parliament Buildings.”

A relief map of Northern Ireland. Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.
TUV leader Jim Allister pictured with some of the items being kept in storage including a portrait of Sir Henry Wilson. Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.
A table from Derrymore House where it is thought the provisional terms of the Act of Union were agreed upon in 1800. Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker.