Nostalgia for ‘HMP Divis’ and ‘HMP Rossville’: Memories of the Everyday in Northern Ireland’s High-Rise Flats

Garikoitz Gomez Alfaro, Fearghus Roulston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Divis and Rossville Flats in Derry and Belfast were high-rise housing projects built as part of Terence O’Neill’s modernizing 1960s vision for Northern Ireland. They became notorious during the Troubles in Northern Ireland as sites of state and non-state violence, and emblematic of the deprivation and suffering of Catholic communities. Following prolonged campaigns by residents, the flats were demolished in the 1980s and 1990s. Drawing on oral testimonies collected after the near-total demolition of both spaces, this article argues that there are similarities in the cultural memory of both spaces. This is firstly apparent in their evocation of the materiality of the flats, and secondly apparent in their negotiation with the iconic status of Divis and Rossville in relation to the Troubles. Finally, we argue that while both sets of sources mobilize forms of nostalgia to narrate the history of the flats, this nostalgia is differently-inflected across both sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-44
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of War and Culture Studies
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Belfast
  • Derry
  • Divis Flats
  • Rossville Flats
  • cultural memory
  • materiality
  • nostalgia
  • oral history
  • the Troubles

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