Contents of ‘derelict’ Cookstown cottage set to go on public display

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An unusual exhibition charting the history of a derelict cottage at Cookstown opens at the Burnavon Arts Centre next month.

Local photographer Rebecca Brownlie has been travelling around Northern Ireland snapping and collecting documents on abandoned/derelict buildings.

One of them is of an old cottage in the Cookstown area where she and a friend unearthed a Mid Ulster Mail dating back to 1917.

“I have numerous artefacts which will be on display at the exhibition which opens with a presentation talk by myself on August 1,” she said. “I was privileged to be asked to document the cottage that has since been knocked down for a new build earlier this year.

“The first day we made the journey in early October, I opened the front door to find the house was cluttered with thousands of Readers Digest boxes stacked floor to ceiling.

“Even though it was messy we could see on shelves and in cupboards that the history in this country cottage was something to get very excited about!

“On that first visit we found WW1 binoculars, a newspaper dating from 1912 with the headline reading about the Titanic sinking.

“I also found Victorian era clothing in the wardrobe, war journals and bags of old coins dating from the 1800’s along with ration books and newspapers from the later end of 1890.”

Rebecca said they have since uncovered generations of history, remnants of the lives who lived here documented through letters, certificates, photographs, clothing and jewellery.

“We took about the task of removing all the rubbish and started to photograph and document everything through photography and building a time-line of the families before,” she continued.

Rebecca added that all important documents and items of historical interest would be donated to museums and societies where they will find a safe home and be available for future generations.

Rebecca is looking forward to showcasing her work at the ‘Physical Absence’ exhibition in the Burnavon Arts Centre on August 1.

Tickets are £7 and available for sale at the box office at the Centre.