Mary and Julia attended an interesting event at the Tower Museum in Derry:
A partnership project between The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and Derry City Council Heritage and Museums Service has made 17th to 19th Century Derry Corporation minute books accessible online via PRONI’s website. Each volume has a dedicated internet page, with highlights from the volume and PDF images of each page.
Commenting on the launch which took place at Tower Museum in Derry on the 21th of September, Minister Ní Chuilín said: “These archives provide a fascinating insight into, not only events in Derry, but also the wider situation in the north of Ireland and beyond.”
The online resource is the product of an eighteen-month long project. It has produced digital images of the entire manuscript collection. Not only does this make the collection accessible to a worldwide audience, but digitisation ensures that the physical state of the original volumes will not deteriorate further.
The earliest volume is from 1673, when Robert Mossom was Bishop of Derry. Mossom, was best known for his defence of the Divine Right of kings and published a number of works on the subject.
As yet, we have not had a chance to search the records to see if there is any information relating to the Diocese of Derry, and indeed perhaps to the Library itself, but the launch provided us with an excellent opportunity to discuss both this project and our own work at the Derry and Raphoe collection with other interested parties.
It was an excellent opportunity for us to find out more about the processes involved in digitising the minute books from the PRONI staff, and to discuss our Project with others attending the event such as historian Sean Mc Mahon, currently writing the history of Foyle College- one of the early locations of the Derry Diocesan Library- for the school’s four hundredth anniversary in 2017.