Built in 1873 and extended in 1936, the Scottish fortified baronial styled Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall & Museum is located by the city Walls. The Hall is a focal point for the annual Apprentice Boys Commemorations of the Siege of 1688-1689, the ‘Shutting of the Gates’ in December and the ‘Relief of Londonderry’ in August. It is also the central venue for the Maiden City Festival, which takes place from Sat 3 - Sat 10 August 2013.
The Hall’s Museum is dedicated to the history of the Siege of Londonderry 1688-1689 and the history, heritage and commemorative role of the Apprentice Boys of Derry. It contains the finest collection of rooms for the use of the country’s three Loyal Orders. The Hall is the Head Quarters and seat of the General Committee of the Apprentice Boys Association which meets regularly in the Apprentice Boys Room.
The building also hosts a very fine Orange Lodge room and Royal Black Preceptory room. It is in the MEM where ‘Lundy’ is constructed each year, ready for ceremonial burning in December as part of the ‘Shutting of the Gates’ commemorations.
Affectionately known as The MEM, the Hall was a central meeting place for young people from all over the City in the swinging '60s, though declined in use as the safety of the area was uncertain during the period of conflict.
In recent years the MEM has gained greater use and wider access through the work of the annual Apprentice Boys Maiden City Festival which also uses may other venues around and within the historic Walls.
The Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall remains an important place for Protestants within the Derry City Council area, and represents a meeting point in Londonderry for Apprentice Boys and friends from all over the UK, Ireland and beyond.
More info on the Apprentice Boys of Derry Association and the history of the Hall, including a virtual tour, can be found on www.apprenticeboys.co.uk. And you can also find out more about the history of the Apprentice Boys, the annual commemorations and download a map & trail or Android App to guide you around the historic walls at www.siegeheroestrail.com. All these sites and much more can be found by starting at www.maidencityfestival.com.