Unheard Voices

The women of Unheard Voices visited the Tower Museum on Friday 12th January 2018. During the first meeting of a five week programme, the women examined original artefacts from the Bridget Bond collection. Inspection of Bridget’s notebooks led to great discussion about the social and housing conditions of life in the city in the later part of the 1960s. Much reminiscence came forth during this session. Original ordinance survey maps of the city, dating from 1968, were accessed at the museum stores and brought up to the Enterprise Centre at Ráth Mór in Week 2. Stories were exchanged about the people and addresses throughout the city, some of which are no longer there. The programme developed with help from Leapfrog Communication. Paul McFadden and Eimear O’Callaghan facilitated training and recording sessions to develop oral history archives of the some of the entries in Bridget Bond’s notebooks. You can listen to these letters and entries by clicking on the links below.

Bridget Bond 

Bridget Bond (née McMenamin) was born in Derry on 27th February, 1925. She became one of Ireland’s leading civil rights activists.

Bridget lived with her husband, Johnny, and their children at various locations in the city — including East Wall, Strand Road, Foyle Road, and Creggan. Her personal experience of poor housing, and the threat of homelessness, led her to join the Derry Housing Action Committee and later, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.

Her efforts to secure a fair housing allocation for Catholic families placed the issue at the heart of the civil rights campaign. Bridget hosted many meetings in her own home. Joined by other families, she led a seven-week sit-in at the Guildhall in protest at housing conditions.

Bridget has been described as an extraordinary, ordinary woman who could relate to anyone and to whom anyone could relate. She could engage with everyone who needed her help or needed her to speak on their behalf.

She was due to address the Civil Rights rally on the afternoon that became known as Bloody Sunday, when paratroops shot dead 13 civil rights marchers.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry acknowledged her subsequent role in gathering evidence about the killings.

“The decision to take statements from those who witnessed the shooting of civilians seems to have been made at the home of Bridget Bond on the evening of Bloody Sunday. She was a prominent figure in the lives of those living in the Bogside. It was natural that a number of persons, trying to understand what had happened that day, gravitated to her home.”

Bridget was involved in creating the Bloody Sunday Memorial which she unveiled on 24th January 1974. She died on 29th January 1990 – a day before the 18th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

The Bridget Bond Collection highlights the roles played by individuals in pursuit of equality, justice, fairness and peace.