COLERAINE Museum has been presented with a “prestigious and substantial” collection of over 7.000 items belonging to the highly regarded Coleraine man, Sam Henry.
Gordon Craig presented the Mayor of Coleraine, Alderman Maurice Bradley with his grandfather’s collection last Thursday.
Included in this rare archive of material are unique photographs from across the north, taken by Sam as he made an extraordinary record of local people and local places along with their associated songs and correspondence
Mayor Bradley, on behalf of Coleraine Borough Council, thanked Gordon Craig and his family for their generous donation.
He said: “Sam was a gifted and committed man; his collection not only captures his own life in Coleraine but also the lives of others in the borough and beyond. His photographs, research, diaries and other materials included in the collection provide an invaluable resource for the museum service, researchers, local historians and genealogists.”
Henry (1878-1952) is widely recognised for his work as editor of the weekly series, ‘Songs of the People’ which was published in the Northern Constitution from 1923 to 1939.
‘Songs of the People’ featured songs known, played and sung by people in Northern Ireland. Henry was not only instigator of the series but the collector of a vast majority of the songs.
Henry was also a vibrant and popular member of the community, serving as a local councillor and becoming actively involved in the church, societies and clubs.
His many interests are reflected within the collection, including genealogy, folklore and folk music, poetry, bird watching, archaeology and photography.
He shared his knowledge through publications, articles, radio broadcasts and he lectured across Northern Ireland bringing his lantern slides to illustrate his talks and his fiddle or tin whistle to entertain his audience.
Part of Henry’s photographic collection was on display in Coleraine Town Hall and in the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre earlier this year. An initial collection of his images have been made available on line at www.niarchive.org.
Sarah Carson, Collections Access Officer of Coleraine Museum, said: “The exhibition sparked a great deal of interest in Sam and his collection.
“His research, correspondence, publications and articles are not only enlightening but entertaining and will be invaluable to many. He was truly inspirational and we are privileged to hold such a collection. I would like to extend my thanks to Gordon and his family for donating the collection to the Museum.”
Coleraine Museum would like to get in touch with anyone who remembers Sam Henry.
Please contact Sarah on 02870347213.