A former at risk listed building has been given a sustainable future, bringing economic activity and life back to a crucial part of Derry’s inner city.
Built in 1741 as the Custom House, the building at 33 Shipquay Street, has been purchased, conserved and converted by the Inner City Trust with assistance from DOE and the Department for Social Development (DSD).
It will provide offices and a facility to incubate and promote textile design in Derry.
One of the City’s finest Georgian buildings, it later became the offices of a spirit importer but had been underused for many years.
Speaking at the opening of the regenerated building, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan commending the Inner City Trust for its vision in rescuing it said: “This is a tremendous boost for Derry. The old Custom House was underused for many years. It deteriorated to the extent that it was included on the Buildings at Risk Register. Thankfully, the Inner City Trust had a vision for the building, rescuing it and giving it a sustainable future. I commend them for that.
“This in turn will bring much needed economic activity and life back to a crucial part of our inner city. Given the rich history that Derry has in producing textiles, it is great to see a new textile hub emerging. It is fitting that my department was able to play its part in supporting and assisting the Trust by providing £120,000 of funding towards the acquisition of this building.”
Minister for Social Development, Mervyn Storey MLA said: “This scheme has not only reinvigorated an unused listed building, but has reinvented it as a Fashion House and a Textile Design Centre, where the local fashion industry’s talent can be nurtured and encouraged. I am delighted that my Department has been able to support this project and welcome this important contribution to the regeneration of Shipquay Street. This project demonstrates my Department’s ongoing commitment to the regeneration of Londonderry and will play an important role in the continuing revitalisation of the City.”
Helen Quigley, Chief Executive Officer of Inner City Trust said: ‘It will breathe new life into a vacant historic city centre building; it will help create sustainable employment opportunities by giving access to specialised equipment and a comprehensive business support service for existing and emerging fashion and textile designers; it will help revitalise the skills of our recent past and enhance the potential for small, onshore manufacturing and the Centre will host fashion shows, workshops, talks and exhibitions – all of which also have the potential to attract visitors to the City Centre as well as serve the local population.’