Tour Locations | Derrie Danders: A Guide to the Quayside and North City
LOCATION 32 | Derrie Danders: A Guide to the Quayside and North City
Northland Road - Crawford Square
On your right is a street called Crawford Square, which was built in the style of many squares in London with a central green area that was shared by residents and at one time was a very prominent area within the city.
You'll notice that you're walking beside a dark coloured wall on your left.
Behind this wall is now part of the upper section of the campus of the North West Regional College, and you may remember you saw part of the lower section of this when we were passing Boating Club Lane earlier. However, previously this had been the location of the Londonderry County Asylum which was the main psychiatric hospital in the county between 1829 and 1905. It is mentioned by the local novelist Kathleen Coyle in her auto-biography "The Magical Realm" as her father would have been admitted there for treatment, probably for alcoholism.
Kathleen was born in the city in 1886 and has a blue plaque in Bishop Street and after her emigration to America became a world renown author, and this book is a very interesting account of her childhood in the city around the beginning of the 20th century. At one point in the book, one of the family servants takes her to look in at the asylum and a group of men gardening wearing "tam-o-shanters", a type of cap normally worn in Ireland and Scotland, but which would have been part of the uniform of asylum inmates. In the past asylums would not normally have good reputations as the treatment of mental illness in previous times was much less progressive than thankfully it is now.