On the 1st August 1714, ex-Governor and Siege Hero Colonel Mitchelburne hoisted the Crimson Flag on the Cathedral Steeple and formed the first club known as the Apprentice Boys. The formal arrangements for the August and December commemorations were organised by the military garrison based in Derry.
In the late eighteenth century Roman Catholic clergy joined in the prayer services offered on the Walls of Derry, and until the early nineteenth century Catholics joined the celebrations with their Protestant fellow-citizens. However by 1869 the British government's Londonderry Riot Inquiry of that year found that "the character of the demonstrations (by the Apprentice Boys) has certainly undergone a change, and, among the Catholic lower classes at least, they are now regarded with the most hostile feelings". The Inquiry recommended that both Apprentice Boys parades be banned. For similar reasons they also recommending the banning of Orange Order Parades.
In 1865, the local Tory MP, Lord Claud John Hamilton, won control of the Apprentice Boys and rallied the organisation against the campaign to disestablish the Anglican Church of Ireland, much to the dismay of many Presbyterian members.
The Apprentice Boys role in the celebrations became more important in the early nineteenth century which saw the establishment of the Apprentice Boys of Derry Club in 1814 and the No Surrender Club in 1824. New Clubs were formed over the following years. In December 1861 the various Clubs agreed to meet together in a Governing Body known as the General Committee. This remains the Governing Body of the Association to this day, with each of the eight Clubs sending an equal number of representatives along with representatives of various Amalgamated Committees from around the UK.
The celebrations continued in the usual form with the firing of the Siege Cannons, (today a small replica is used), the ringing of the Cathedral bells, the hoisting of the Crimson Flags, the laying of wreaths in memory of those who sacrificed their lives. In December they continue with the burning of an effigy of Robert Lundy (the Governor of Derry who had wished to negotiate with King James during the siege) and of utmost importance, the service of thanksgiving in Saint Columbs Cathedral.
In 1969, the Apprentice Boys' parade around the walls of Derry sparked off three days of intensive rioting in the city, known as the Battle of the Bogside. The disturbances are widely seen as the start of the Troubles.
In 1986, the banning of an Apprentice Boys parade in Portadown led to serious rioting between supporters and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. During these disturbances Keith White became the first Protestant to be killed by a plastic bullet in the Troubles.
In 1990 the organisation decided to apply for funding from the newly-established International Fund for Ireland, which led to protests at its August parade. Ian Paisley addressed a rally at the courthouse where he told the crowd that the proposed grant of £200,000 was "a bribe to get Protestant people involved in the Anglo-Irish Agreement."
It now houses the headquarters of the association, debating Chamber of the Apprentice Boys of Derry Association and their office. All new members must be initiated in the Hall. Other organisations such as the Orange Order and Royal Black Preceptory have separate accommodations in the Hall. It also houses a Social Club and Museum.
AIMEE FLIES THE FLAG FOR THE MAIDEN CITY FESTIVAL Aimee Peoples celebrates at the annual Apprentice Boys of Derry Maiden City Festival which continues this week. The festival celebrates cultural diversity and covers a wide range of activities from American bluegrass music, talks, tours and a fireworks
Aug 03, 2009; AIMEE FLIES THE FLAG FOR THE MAIDEN CITY FESTIVAL Aimee Peoples celebrates at the annual Apprentice Boys of Derry Maiden City...
The Forgotten Heroes Who Saved a Kingdom; the Courage of the Apprentice Boys of Derry Has Been Well-Documented, but While They Saved a City, Enniskillen Men Loyal to William III Saved a Kingdom. Historian GORDON LUCY Recounts a Seldom-Told Tale of 17th Century Valour
Aug 10, 2002; While the epic siege of Londonderry is usually accorded its proper place as the longest and most famous siege in British history,...
PLATFORM: Opinion: Tommy Cheevers - Equal Respect Is All We Seek; Tommy Cheevers, Spokesman, the Belfast Walker Club of the Apprentice Boys of Derry
Jun 08, 2000; The most frequent question asked of the members of the Belfast Walker Club is: ''Why talk to the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community...