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The end-of-terrace wall bearing the Republican message, ‘You Are Now Entering Free Derry’, on the corner of Lecky Road in Londonderry became an iconic image of the conflict in Northern Ireland known as ‘the Troubles’. To this day, the wall with the slogan ‘Free Derry Corner’ still survives. In 1973 the artist was taken to see this landmark while staying in the city with a former colleague.
Lillford was struck by the detritus forming layers of barriers: the tangle of rubbish and broken brickwork in a heap, the striped concrete bollards (dragon’s teeth), and the broken down vehicles. To the right, two teenage boys act as guards, checking on anyone seeking to pass the barricades.
The name Londonderry, with its reference to England’s capital city, is contentious in Northern Ireland. Official attempts to be even-handed about naming it have given rise to the nickname ‘Stroke City’, as in ‘Londonderry/Derry’.