Title: The Battle of Bogside
Photographer(s): Clive Limpkin
Writer(s): Clive Limpkin
Publisher(s): Penguin books, Harmondsworth, England
Size:21 x 30 cm
Print: Printed by Hazell Watson& Vinery Ltd.Aylesbury, Bucks, England
Nation(s) and year(s) of Protest: North Ireland, 1972
The Battle of the Bogside was a very large communal riot that took place from 12 to 14 August 1969 in Derry, Northern Ireland. The fighting was between residents of the Bogside area (organised under the Derry Citizens' Defence Association), and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) along with local unionists.
The rioting erupted at the end of an Apprentice Boys parade which was passing along the city walls, past the Catholic Bogside. Fierce rioting broke out between local unionists and the police on one side and Catholics on the other. Rioting between police and Bogside residents continued for three days. The police were unable to enter the area and eventually the British Army was deployed to restore order. The riot, which sparked widespread violence elsewhere in Northern Ireland, is commonly seen as one of the first major confrontations in the conflict known as the Troubles.
Clive Limpkin arrived in Derry in August 1969, on the eve of the Battle of the Bogside, as a photojournalist for the London Daily Sketch. He captured the turmoil of that period with intense reality and returned regularly over the next three years to record the city’s descent into armed conflict as decades of discrimination and simmering discontent erupted onto the streets.
A portfolio of his work, The Battle of Bogside, was first published in 1972 in the UK and USA. The images were exhibited in the Photographers’ Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in London and the book went on to win the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal from Life magazine in America. The citation read: For superlative photography requiring exceptional courage and enterprise abroad.
Some of Limpkin’s images from that time are now among the most iconic to emerge from the conflict in Ireland and will be instantly recognisable. Others will be less familiar, since the first edition of the book has long been out of print and has earned an almost mythical status among collectors.