Chapter 23: The layout of this area of the city
Chamberlain Street 23.8
The Eden Place waste ground 23.12
The Rossville Flats car park 23.21
The Rossville Flats 23.25
23.1 The area covered by Sector 2 is highlighted on the map below.
23.2 The most conspicuous landmarks in this area were the three high-rise blocks that made up the Rossville Flats. These flats were demolished in the 1980s. They can be seen on the map above at the bottom of the shaded area. Block 1 of these flats was the one adjoining Rossville Street. Block 2 was the centre block and Block 3 was the most easterly block, as can also be seen from this map. The distance from the junction of William Street and Rossville Street to the southern end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats was approximately 215 yards. We set out further details of the Rossville Flats later in this chapter.
23.3 Two areas of Sector 2 are of particular importance. These are the Rossville Flats car park and the Eden Place waste ground.
23.4 The car park was the name given to the area enclosed on three sides by the three blocks of the Rossville Flats. Part of this area was marked out as a car park. A portion on the eastern side was fenced off as a recreation ground. The northern part of the recreation ground was described by some witnesses as being netball courts. The term “car park” was used to apply to the whole area. The approximate boundary of the car park is shown by a dotted line on the map above. The car park was partially separated from the Eden Place waste ground by a wire fence. We describe the car park in greater detail below.
23.5 The Eden Place waste ground incorporated the remnants of two disused roads, Eden Place and Pilot Row. It was often described in this Inquiry simply as “the waste ground”. The road known as Eden Place at one time ran from Chamberlain Street to Rossville Street. In January 1972, the gap in the buildings in Chamberlain Street through which the road used to run still survived. The road through that gap, about 15 yards long, linked the waste ground to Chamberlain Street and was still in use in 1972. In this report we refer to that road as the Eden Place alleyway, though many witnesses described it as Eden Place or Eden Terrace. There was also a small alleyway parallel to Chamberlain Street and running from William Street to the Eden Place waste ground, which was known as Macari’s Lane. Again we describe this part of Sector 2 in more detail below.
23.6 The photograph below was taken from the north and shows the central area of Sector 2. On it we have marked the features described above.
23.7 As can be seen, Macari’s Lane ran from William Street into the north-east corner of the Eden Place waste ground. It was sometimes called Quinn’s Lane, as it ran down the side of Quinn’s fish shop.1
23.8 Chamberlain Street ran roughly north-east to south-west from William Street to the car park of the Rossville Flats. The distance between its junction with William Street and the entrance to the car park was about 140 yards. High Street and Harvey Street ran in a south-easterly direction uphill from Chamberlain Street to join Waterloo Street, which ran parallel to, and below, the City Walls.
23.9 The following photograph was taken from the roof of the Embassy Ballroom. The photographer was looking south-west down Chamberlain Street. Block 2 of the Rossville Flats can be seen in the background. The junctions with High Street and Harvey Street can just be seen. The white gable end on the right-hand side is on the south side of the gap that led into the Eden Place alleyway.
23.10 The photograph below shows Chamberlain Street from the south. The photographer was looking north-east towards the junction with William Street. Devine’s florist’s shop, which can be seen in the picture, was on the north side of William Street. The photograph was taken on Bloody Sunday.
23.11 The photograph below shows Harvey Street. The picture was taken on Bloody Sunday from Harvey Street’s junction with Chamberlain Street. Waterloo Street can be seen at the top of the photograph.
The Eden Place waste ground
23.12 The Eden Place waste ground stretched in a south-westerly direction from the backs of buildings in William Street to the fence of the Rossville Flats car park. It was bordered to the west by Rossville Street and to the east by the walls of the yards of the houses on the western side of Chamberlain Street. The waste ground was about 90 yards long (north-east to south-west) and 60 yards wide (south-east to north-west).
23.13 The aerial photograph below shows the Eden Place waste ground from the south. The photograph was not taken on Bloody Sunday but shows the waste ground much as it was on that day. At the top (the north side) of the waste ground are the backs of the buildings on the south side of William Street. The buildings running down the right (east) side of the waste ground are the backs of the houses on the west side of Chamberlain Street. The disused roads, Eden Place and Pilot Row, can be seen. Below (to the south of) Pilot Row another road can be seen, running into the waste ground at right angles to Rossville Street. This road gave access to the Rossville Flats car park.
23.14 The photograph below was taken on Bloody Sunday and shows most of the Eden Place waste ground. The photographer was standing on the west side of Rossville Street, looking east. The gap giving access to Chamberlain Street (the Eden Place alleyway) can just be seen. The backs of the houses on the west side of Chamberlain Street are shown, running down the side of the waste ground. The Guildhall clock tower is in the background.
23.15 The backs of buildings on William Street, forming the northern boundary of the waste ground, can be seen in the photographs below, the second of which was taken on Bloody Sunday. The second photograph was taken looking in a north-easterly direction up Rossville Street. Many of the buildings were derelict.
23.16 The following photograph was taken on the Eden Place waste ground on Bloody Sunday. The photograph shows the Eden Place alleyway leading from Eden Place into Chamberlain Street. Harvey Street can be seen in the background, running uphill to Waterloo Street in a south-easterly direction away from Chamberlain Street.
23.17 The following photograph, again taken on Bloody Sunday, shows the same alleyway but from the opposite end. The photographer was standing on the corner of Chamberlain Street, looking into the Eden Place waste ground. The modern building in the background is Kells Walk, which was a block of maisonettes on the west side of Rossville Street. St Eugene’s Cathedral can be seen in the distance.
23.18 An L-shaped fence ran across the southern part of the Eden Place waste ground. Part of the fence can be seen in the photograph below. For a short distance the fence ran southwards, parallel to and about 10ft out from the backs of the Chamberlain Street houses. It then ran west at a right angle to the houses across the waste ground.
23.19 The fence did not extend across the entire width of the waste ground; it came to a halt about two-thirds of the way across, stopping level with the end of the road that gave access to the Rossville Flats car park. The fence and access road can be seen more clearly in the photograph below, which was not taken on Bloody Sunday.
23.20 In the photograph below, which was taken by Derrik Tucker Senior on Bloody Sunday from Block 2 of the Rossville Flats, the fence can be seen in the middle distance. On the left is the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. On the right are the houses on the west side of Chamberlain Street.
The Rossville Flats car park
23.21 The car park was bordered on three sides by the Rossville Flats. At its widest the car park was about 70 yards wide. The distance from the southern end of Chamberlain Street to Block 2 of the Rossville Flats (the central block) was about 45 yards. The car park was sometimes referred to as the market, since there had formerly been a market in this area.
23.22 The photograph below, also taken by Derrik Tucker Senior, shows the entrance to the car park from Chamberlain Street and, on the right, part of the fencing around the recreation ground.
23.23 A low wall ran along the south-western side of the Rossville Flats car park, parallel to Block 2. The wall fell in height as it went north-westwards, disappearing entirely before reaching Block 1. The photograph below, which was taken on Bloody Sunday, gives an impression of the differing heights of the wall. Block 2 is on the left of the picture and Block 1 is seen in the background.
23.24 The wall can be seen in the photograph below.
The Rossville Flats
23.25 The Rossville Flats consisted of three separate blocks joined by walkways. As described above, the block that ran parallel to Rossville Street (shown on the right of the photograph above) was known as Block 1. The central block was Block 2 and the easternmost block was Block 3.
23.26 The Rossville Flats were built on sloping ground. Blocks 1 and 2 both had ten storeys. Block 3 was built on higher ground and so, although it had the same roof height as the other two blocks, it had only seven storeys. As the previous photograph above shows, Blocks 1 and 2 were joined by three walkways. Blocks 2 and 3 were joined by two walkways. The photograph below, taken long after Bloody Sunday, shows the difference in ground level between Blocks 2 and 3. As the photograph shows, the lowest storey of Block 3 did not run the full length of the building, but tapered out as the ground rose. A retaining wall ran the length of the car park beneath Block 3.
23.27 The ground floor of Block 1 consisted of a row of garages. The ground floor of Block 2 was a row of shops. The shops faced southwards into Joseph Place, not into the car park. The ground floor of this block on the car park side was used as storage space. The lowest floor of Block 3, as noted above, did not run the whole length of the building. It consisted of one property, known as 37 Garvan Place. The floor above this, which did run the length of Block 3, consisted partly of flats and partly of storage space.
23.28 The flats were divided into three horizontal sections, excluding the ground floors. The first three floors of Blocks 1 and 2, together with the lowest floor of Block 3, were known as Garvan Place. The next three floors of Blocks 1, 2 and 3 formed Mura Place. The top three floors of Blocks 1, 2 and 3 formed Donagh Place.
23.29 The following diagrams1 identify Garvan Place, Mura Place and Donagh Place and show the location of each dwelling within the Rossville Flats. There is an error in the first diagram: the reference to Joseph Street on the left side of the diagram should be a reference to Joseph Place. The left side of this diagram represents the southern end of Block 1, which faced towards Joseph Place.
23.30 On the Block 3 diagram (above), the words “Joseph Place” should appear. What has been cut off the right side is probably “Joseph Street”. The right of the diagram shows the northern end of Block 3.
23.31 As the diagrams show, most of the dwellings were single-storey flats. However, there were rows of two-storey maisonettes on the second and third floors of Blocks 1 and 2 (which formed part of Garvan Place) and on the fifth and sixth floors of Block 3 (part of Mura Place).
23.32 Balconies ran along the entire length of each block. Blocks 1 and 2 had three balconies, while Block 3 had two. There were balconies on the sides of the blocks that faced into the car park; the outward-facing sides had windows only.
23.33 There was a stairwell at each end of each block. Access to the balconies could be obtained from the stairs at either end. It was possible to walk from the northern end of Block 1 all the way round to the northern end of Block 3, using the balconies and the connecting walkways.
23.34 There was a gap at ground level underneath the walkways that joined Blocks 1 and 2 and those that joined Blocks 2 and 3. It was possible to walk through these gaps and reach Joseph Place.
23.35 The photograph below, which was taken on Bloody Sunday, shows part of the retaining wall on the east side of the car park beneath Block 3. It is the part leading to the gap between Blocks 2 and 3. The wall on the far left of the photograph is the low wall that ran parallel to Block 2.
23.36 The photograph below, which was not taken on Bloody Sunday, shows the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats.
23.37 The photograph below shows the gap between Blocks 1 and 2. Close to the gap, a doorway can be seen at ground level in Block 1. This doorway led to a staircase giving access to all floors. There were also lifts next to the stairwell. It was possible to walk straight through the block at ground level; a doorway opposite this one led onto Rossville Street.
23.38 Another doorway can be seen in the foreground, at the northern end of Block 1. This doorway also led to a stairwell that can be seen in the picture, clad in vertical wooden slats. There was no doorway on the other side of this stairwell, facing into Rossville Street.
23.39 A rubble barricade, constructed by civilians, lay across Rossville Street at the time of Bloody Sunday. It ran from Block 1 of the Rossville Flats to the eastern block of Glenfada Park North, a block of maisonettes on the opposite side of Rossville Street. The photograph below, which is a still taken from film footage shot from a helicopter on Bloody Sunday, shows the barricade.
23.40 The barricade was made from a variety of materials, including an oil drum, rubble and wooden trestles. The photograph shows that there was a gap in the barricade, towards the western side of the road. One of the trestles barred the gap in the barricade and could be moved to allow vehicles to pass.
23.41 This barricade is described in more detail in our consideration of the events of Sector 3,1but a description of it is included here because some of the witnesses concerned with Sector 2 refer to it.