The Insider: Secret History

A visit to Fernhill House Museum, the People’s Museum, with (Curator) Bob Foster.

Opened officially in July 1996, the museum depicted the social, industrial and labour history of the greater Shankill, the tradition of military service and aspects of cultural identity. The museum offered a search facility for those wishing to trace relatives who died in either of the two World Wars.

The museum was situated in Fernhill House, which was once owned by the Cunningham family. It was situated beside the Glencairn estate, one of the most deprived areas in Belfast and known for its high unemployment rate. There are few recognisable resources in the area and the needs of the community are great and varied.

As a step towards economic regeneration, a community museum was established at Fernhill House by the Glencairn People’s Project providing local jobs for local people, and educational and recreational opportunities for the children and young adults both from the local area and further afield.

Fernhill House was the venue for the 1994 loyalist ceasefire announcement. The museum closed in 2010.

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