Rossville Flats: The Rise & Fall
Compiled by Jim Collins
First occupied in 1966, the Rossville Flats are an iconic landmark in the historical and political landscape of Derry and the north of Ireland. They rose in the footprint of Lecky Road and Rossville Street in the old Bogside which were bulldozed to make way for their development in line with the policy of ward manipulation by the Londonderry Corporation.
Although initially welcomed for their modernity and convenience, the lack of facilities, substandard construction and poorly resourced maintenance soon created feelings of alienation among the hundreds of families, many with young children, who called them home.
The flats gained global recognition during the Troubles, being the focal point for the Battle of the Bogside in 1969 and Bloody Sunday in 1972. British soldiers occupied the roof for several years from mid-1972, causing long-term damage and endangering lives.
Inspired by the sense of common purpose and solidarity emerging from the civil rights movement, the tenants protested against the deteriorating conditions and eventually their perseverance won through as they witnessed the flats fall between 1986–1989.
In spite of widespread relief at their demolition, many of the former occupants recall with fondness and warmth their good neighbours and the communal support they all enjoyed in the times spent there. This is their story – and a celebration of the spirit displayed by Rossville Flats’ residents who ultimately won, due to their determination and resilience, the basic human right to a decent roof over their head.
|Dimensions||16.7 × 24 × .8 cm|
978 1 911053 40 8
Mono Photos/graphics throughout