While the majority of the NI files released under the 20 Year Rule in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland are stuffed full with pages of words, there is an occasional set of charts or photographs.
DRD/5/1/9 is a cardboard file containing loose black and white photographs of the relatively new-fangled M1 motorway with what must be helicopter shots over Sprucefield.
There’s no date on the back of the prints, but it seems likely they were taken sometime before the stretch between Junctions 7 (Sprucefield) and 9 (Moira) were opened in late 1965 and before the A1 to Hillsborough was dualled in 1971. NI Roads’ Wesley Johnston reckons between December 1963 and December 1965.
You can see the original “simple trumpet interchange with one roundabout” at Sprucefield as well as the Roads Service depot and salt store, as well as Lisnagarvey’s old hockey pitches beside the radio transmitter, and the single carriageway towards Hillsborough.
The photographs in the file are at least 45 years old [Ed – that’s older than you!] and there’s nothing to say why they’ve only entered the public archive this year.
Also included in file is a particularly artistic shot of a bridge at Moira and the view of traffic along one stretch (perhaps taken from Dunmurry Lane Bridge looking towards Lisburn).
Quite a few more photos in the file if you call into the Reading Room in the Public Records Office and request file DRD/5/1/9.
Some updates made to post based on feedback – thanks!
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about and reports from civic, academic and political events, reviews cultural performances, chairs discussions, and live-tweets, streams and records lectures and conferences. He delivers social media training, coaching and consultancy, produces podcasts, is a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland, FactCheckNI board member, and is a member of the Corrymeela Community.