New Publication from the Northern Ireland War Memorial
A Nurse in the Belfast Blitz: The Diary of Emma Duffin 1939-42 by Trevor Parkhill
The Blitz on Belfast, 75 years ago, in April 1941 is without doubt the single most traumatic single event in the city's long and often troubled history. Emma Duffin's eye-witness account of the devastating raid and its aftermath are vividly evident in her graphic and extensive diary entries, now published by the Northern Ireland War Memorial as A Nurse in the Belfast Blitz.
Her description of a journey through the city centre to north Belfast, which had borne the brunt of the raid, confirms the devastating extent of an aerial raid which left hundreds dead and thousands of houses destroyed. Equally gripping is her account of a gruelling day spent in St George's market, where she helped grief stricken families identify loved ones from the laid out, often mangled, corpses.
A native of the city, Emma was Commandant of the Voluntary Aid Detachment unit based at Stranmillis Military Hospital. Her account is even more authoritative because of her experiences in the First World War where she had been a VAD nurse in Egypt and northern France, for which sterling service (1915-19) she was mentioned in dispatches. In France, she recalled, as she struggled to come to terms with her gruesome role in St George's market, 'I had seen many dead but they had died in hospital beds, their eyes had been reverently closed, their hands crossed on their breasts; death had been glossed over, made decent. Here it was grotesque, repulsive and horrible. Death should be dignified, peaceful. Hitler had made even death grotesque'.
Born in 1883, Emma lived until the age of 95, dying in 1979. Her mother had been a founder member of the Belfast Council of Social Welfare and Emma continued the Duffin family's public service tradition, serving as Honorary Secretary from 1933 to 1953, when she concerned herself primarily with the welfare of women and children. She was awarded an Honorary Master of the Arts by Queen's University in 1954.
Emma Duffin's diary, amounting to some 138 closely-written manuscript pages in one volume, is held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. It has been transcribed and is represented in A Nurse in the Belfast Blitz, almost exactly as it was written.
To facilitate accessibility, the text has been divided into five chapters, each with a short contextual introduction by the editor, Trevor Parkhill. Where possible, extra information is given in footnotes about events and family members mentioned in the text.
The book has been illustrated with objects from the Northern Ireland War Memorial collection and Inver Museum Collection of St John Ambulance Memorabilia.
Photographs from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph, Queen’s University Belfast, and Stranmillis University College Belfast, illumine and enhance the text. Expertly designed by Professor John McMillan, the book is accessible and reader –friendly, featuring a map illustrating Emma’s route through Belfast on the day after the Easter Tuesday air raid in 1941.
A Nurse in the Belfast Blitzis available to buy in the War Memorial gallery priced at Â£10.
Alternatively you can purchase a copy on Amazon.co.uk or by completing a postal order form (download from the Publications tab on NIWM website http://www.niwarmemorial.org/publications/)
Contact for further information:
NIWM Education/Publications Officer
028 9032 0392 (Option 3)
NIMC is moving
31 July 2015
After 12 years at Crescent Gardens in Belfast, NIMC is relocating its offices to Cultra at the beginning of August. We shall be moving at the end of next week and the new office will be fully operational from 10th August. NIMC will continue to use the same web and e-mail addresses and the telephone number is unchangedâ€“ 028 90 550215. Our new postal address will be: Northern Ireland Museums Council 153 Bangor Road Holywood Co Down BT18 0EU
Heritage Lottery Fund grants £2.37 million to Enniskillen Castle
03 December 2014
Enniskillen Castle is to be transformed into a world class heritage attraction, thanks to a £2.37million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
National Museums, Northern Ireland awarded £370 for 'Collecting the Troubles and beyond by HLF
03 December 2014
NMNI are one of a number of UK museums to recieve the Heritage Lottery Fund Collecting Cultures grant which allows curators to go shopping.
£11.5M Lottery Grant To Transform the HMS Caroline
03 December 2014
HMS Caroline, the last surviving vessel which fought in the 1916 Battle of Jutland is to be transformed into a museum with a £11.5m grant from the HLF.
IMA Forums: Industrial and Working Collections
06 October 2014
The IMA Forum: Industrial and Working Collections will be held at the Guinness Storehouse on Monday 6 October 2014.
Appointment of a Chair of the Museum Accreditation Committee
05 September 2014
Arts Council England are looking to appoint a chair to lead the Museum Accreditation Committee who can bring recent and extensive experience of museum management at a senior level and a broad understanding of the role and purpose of museums.
Collections Trust launches Going Digital Conference
01 September 2014
A new one-day conference to help museums improve their basic use of computers and the Internet has been launched by the Collections Trust as part of its major Going Digital Programme, which is supported by Arts Council England.
Historic Royal Palaces appoints Head of Hillsborough Castle
01 September 2014
Historic Royal Palaces has appointed Patricia Corbett as Head of Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity also responsible for the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Banqueting House and Kew Palace, took over the management of Hillsborough Castle from the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) in April.
Exciting new community engagement project at Mid-Antrim Museums Service
19 August 2014
The importance of built heritage, history and their connected stories is significant in regional identity. The way we see these sites and landmarks can instil a sense of place in a community and individual locality.
Accreditation for Carrickfergus Museums
13 August 2014
Carrickfergus Museum, located at Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre and the Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers Centre have both been awarded Full Accreditation in July 2014. Further information on both museums can be found at http://www.carrickfergus.org/tourism/museum/. A new learning programme involving a Walking Tour of Medieval Carrick was piloted by Carrickfergus Museum earlier this year and will be one of the presentation's at NIMC's 'Spilling the Beans' event on 23rd Sept in the Somme Heritage Centre. Full details of this event are available at http://www.nimc.co.uk/news/article/224/.
Welcome for President Higgins to Armagh Public Library
12 August 2014
The Very Revd Gregory Dunstan, Keeper of Armagh Public Library, welcomed President and Mrs Higgins to Armagh Public Library on the final part of their visit to Armagh. Archbishop Richard Clarke, as Chairman of the Library's Governors and Guardians, met the President in the Library's Long Room, along with Library staff and volunteers.
Spilling the Beans - 23rd Sept 2014
06 August 2014
This free session at the Somme Heritage Centre will be an opportunity to hear from four speakers on a range of local museum projects, highlighting achievements and sharing 'tales of the unexpected.' There will be a chance to network, build partnerships and discuss new ideas and activities which you can take back to your own museum.
Museums, Money and Medals Network
05 August 2014
The Museums, Money and Medals Network is an Arts Council funded project that exists to build and develop relationships between UK museums with coin, medal and banknote collections. Many local museums face a problem in this field in that there are very few specialist curators with in-depth knowledge working with these collections at the moment. This project seeks to address this by encouraging people to work together on a regional as well as national level to share knowledge and expertise.
Milford House Museum Acquires RSA Paintngs
18 July 2014
Milford House Museum is delighted to announce the acquisition of four old master studio paintings from Royal Scottish Academy. In 2011 Milford Buildings Preservation Trust the governing body of Milford House Museum expressed interest in acquiring the paintings which Royal Scottish Academy were disposing of as part of deaccessioning process to rationalise their collection. However as Milford House Museum was at that time a provisionally accredited museum, Royal Scottish Academy generously offered the paintings on long-term loan until such times as Milford House Museum received full Accreditation and then they would be gifted to the Trust.
Museums awarded Full Accreditation
12 March 2014
Congratulations to the following local museums who have been awarded the status of Full Accreditation on 6th March 2014 - Newry & Mourne Museum, Fermanagh County Museum, North Down Museum, The F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio, The Inniskillings Museum, The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum and The Royal Ulster Rifles Museum.