Bishop Street Courthouse

The Bishop Street Courthouse is a judicial facility in Bishop Street, Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is a Grade A listed building.[1]

Bishop Street Courthouse
Bishop Street Courthouse
LocationDerry, County Londonderry
Coordinates54°59′38″N 7°19′26″W / 54.9939°N 7.3239°W / 54.9939; -7.3239
ArchitectJohn Bowden
Architectural style(s)Neoclassical style
Listed Building – Grade A
Official nameCourthouse, Bishop Street, Derry
Designated25 May 1976
Reference no.HB 01/19/002
Bishop Street Courthouse is located in Northern Ireland
Bishop Street Courthouse
Shown in Northern Ireland

History edit

The building, which was designed by John Bowden in the Neoclassical style, was first used in 1816, although it was not fully completed until 1817.[2][3] The design involved a symmetrical main frontage facing the Bishop Street; the central section featured a tetrastyle portico with Ionic order columns supporting a frieze and a pediment.[1] A carving depicting the Royal coat of arms was installed at the apex of the pediment and statues depicting Justice and Peace carved by Edward Smyth were erected above the end bays.[1] Architectural critic, Ian Nairn, described it as "Derry's best Georgian building" in The Listener in December 1961, having regard to the high quality white sandstone which was brought locally from Dungiven to build it.[4]

The building was originally used as a facility for dispensing justice but, following the implementation of the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898, which established county councils in every county, the Bishop Street Courthouse was also used to discharge some county council functions.[5] In May 2012 the justice minister, David Ford, said that he accepted an inspection report recommending that the Enniskillen Courthouse should be designated a "super court" in a proposed rationalisation of the court system.[6][7]

On 19 January 2019 there was a car bomb attack on the Bishop Street Courthouse initiated as part of a Dissident Irish Republican campaign, the first such attack in several years.[8] There were no injuries from the attack[9] but four men were subsequently arrested in relation to the incident.[10] It led to concerns that former members of the Provisional IRA were constructing bombs for the dissidents.[11]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Courthouse, Bishop Street, Derry". Department for Communities. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Bishop Street courthouse sets the bar in Derry". Derry Journal. 7 June 2013. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  3. ^ Rowan, Alistair (1979). North West Ulster: The Counties of London Derry, Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300096675.
  4. ^ McGarrigle, NJ (25 April 2017). "Pre-Troubles Derry through Ian Nairn's eyes". The Irish Times. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  5. ^ "No. 1436". The Belfast Gazette. 31 December 1948. p. 326.
  6. ^ "Fears over future of Downpatrick courthouse". The Down Recorder. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service challenged by Estate Strategy". Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  8. ^ Edwards, Mark (20 January 2019). "Police arrest further two men in connection with Londonderry car bomb attack". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  9. ^ Moore, Aoife (29 January 2019). "Derry courthouse bombing claimed by 'the IRA'". The Irish News. Press Association. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Londonderry bomb: Four arrests over 'reckless' attack". BBC. 20 January 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  11. ^ "IRA old guard 'back making bombs' for dissidents". Sunday Life. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020.