The October meeting of Armagh & District History Group will be held on Wednesday, 11th October in the Irish and Local Studies Library at 7:00 p.m.
The speaker this month is Chris Hamill, a researcher at the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge who is currently investigating the issue of contested architectural heritage in contemporary Northern Ireland. His subject of research is Armagh Gaol and the title of his talk is ‘Troubled Legacy: the difficult history of the prison and its impact on re-use’.
The talk will centre around his research into the history of the former HM Prison Armagh, situating it in the relevant contexts; primarily the architectural and cultural evolution of prisons generally, the development of the urban fabric of Armagh itself and the political contexts which make this building perhaps more interesting as a heritage asset than simply its architectural merits would imply.
This would then segue into a discussion on the issue of ‘contested heritage’ that is; issues surrounding the re-use of buildings such as this which have difficult and troubled pasts. This would be in conjunction with the architectural difficulties which arise from trying to find alternate uses for a building form as specialised as a prison.
It is hoped that there might be a bit of a question and answer / debate session after this, as with this sort of work, it is always extremely useful to get feedback, especially from local experts.