New exhibition explores civic history of Carrickfergus

An aerial view of Carrickfergus in the 1950s.  INCT 20-732-CON
An aerial view of Carrickfergus in the 1950s. INCT 20-732-CON
  • Exhibition charts progression of government from medieval times to present day
  • Collection of aerial shots show town’s expansion as Marine Highway developed
  • Mayor’s robe and chain on display alongside historic mace

An exhibition charting the civic history of Carrickfergus has opened in the town centre.

‘The Glory of Old Made New: A Civic History of Carrickfergus 1325-2015’ takes a reflective look at its long history of local government from the establishment of the first town charter to the present day.

Carrickfergus Mace, presented to the town in 1712.  INCT 20-733-CON

Carrickfergus Mace, presented to the town in 1712. INCT 20-733-CON

The exhibition marks a new chapter in civic administration following the recent establishment of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Making use of the old Council’s motto Gloria Prisca Novatur in its title, the exhibition charts the progression of government here, from the days of the old Corporation to the loss of Borough status at the end of the 19th century and its re-establishment in 1949.

A timeline features photographs from civic events, such as the ‘Back Carrick’ week in the 1970s, and highlights the expansion of Carrickfergus borough to take in Whitehead and Greenisland in 1973.

Striking images abound, including absorbing aerial shots showing pre- and post-Marine Highway development.

Highlighting the Town Hall’s 80th anniversary, rare photographs showing the building when it opened in 1935 are also on display.

The exhibition provides an opportunity to showcase items of civic importance such as the Mayor’s robe and chain as well as the various charters which have been bestowed on the town.

An accompanying booklet highlights the civic collection on permanent display in the museum, including the prestigious town mace, which was used at the new Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s first meeting on April 1, 2015.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Billy Ashe, said: “In recognition of its historical value, the civic insignia of Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Larne continues to be used for civic occasions in the new Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

“This represents a continuity of purpose dating back eight centuries. The new council felt it was important to build on the history and heritage of the predecessor borough councils, whilst moving forward as a new council.”

To mark the Town Hall’s 80th anniversary, special tours are being offered to groups. For bookings and any other enquiries, contact visitorinfo@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or telephone 028 9335 8049.

The exhibition runs until July 25.