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Blue plaque for Brian Desmond Hurst - 13 April 2011

The dismal morning had given way to a brighter afternoon when the extended Hurst and Smith families and their guests assembled to pay tribute to their distinguished relative in the street where he had been born at the end of the 19th Century. The old back-to-back houses had long since disappeared through redevelopment but the building in which he attended school still stands on the other side of the Newtownards Road. Among the guests were Lord Empey, Councillor Ian Adamson, High Sheriff of Belfast and Councillor Jim Rodgers, former Lord Mayor of Belfast.

Wesley McCann, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle welcomed the guests and the Hurst and Smith families and said that the Circle was pleased to erect the plaque in celebration of someone who from humble origins had gone on to become a renowned filmmaker. He thanked the owner of the House, Mark Irvine, for his generosity in allowing the plaque to be placed on his property. It would serve to keep Hurst's memory and reputation alive. Councillor Ian Adamson, High Sheriff of Belfast, spoke about Hurst, his time in the army during WWI and his subsequnt career. Hurst's great grand nephew Allan Smith talked about his rewarding research in his great Uncle's life and work.

Before unveiling the plaque with her brother Robert Hurst, Councillor Marion Smith, great-niece of Hurst, said that Brian's journey over 91 years from Ribble Street in 1895 to Dundonald Cemetery in 1986 was remarkable and well known to her family. His stories took them to places we could never know or imagine. Few could imagine the turmoil of his early life losing both parents at a young age and then most of his comrades in the 6th Royal Irish Rifles on the slopes of Gallipoli. His journey into the world of the Arts and then early filmmaking was a rich twist in his life. Becoming one of John Ford's greatest friends was a testament to his creative genius and his loyalty. His catalogue of over 30 films would be his memorial and would stand the test of time. She was proud of her great uncle and grateful to the UHC and the people of East Belfast for this honour for his outstanding contribution to 20th Century filmmaking.

Later, in the Park Avenue Hotel, Allan Esler Smith gave a presentation on Hurst's filmography and Philip Orr and David Trusdale spoke elequantly of Hurst's experiences in the First World War and his film career.

Some photos of the event are shown below.

eople gather for the plaque unveiling - PHOTO Pat Devlin
People gather for the plaque unveiling
Wesley McCann, Chairman Ulster History Circle, addresses the assembled guests and visitors - PHOTO Pat Devlin
Councillor Ian Adamson OBE, High Sheriff of Belfast addresses the assembled guests and visitors - PHOTO Pat Devlin
Allan Esler Smith, great great nephew of Brian Hurst addresses the assembled guests and visitors - PHOTO Pat Devlin
Wesley McCann, Chairman Ulster History Circle, Councillor Ian Adamson, High Sheriff of Belfast and Allan Esler Smith, great great nephew of Brian Hurst address the assembled guests and visitors
Wesley McCann, Ian Adamson, Marie Louise Muir, BBC, Sean Nolan and Chris Spurr, Ulster History Circle enjoying the occasion- PHOTO Pat Devlin
Cllr. Marion Smith and Robert Hurst, great neice and great nephew of Hurst, unveil the plaque - PHOTO Pat Devlin
Wesley McCann, Ian Adamson, Marie Louise Muir, BBC, Sean Nolan and Chris Spurr, Ulster History Circle enjoying the occasion
Cllr. Marion Smith and Robert Hurst, great neice and great nephew of Hurst, unveil the plaque
The extended Hurst and Smith families - PHOTO Pat Devlin
Allan Esler Smith gives a short presentation on Hurst's work - PHOTO Pat Devlin
The extended Hurst and Smith families
Allan Esler Smith gives a short presentation on Hurst's work
The Exhibition on hurst's live and work presented in Portaferry Library - PHOTO Pat Devlin
Philip Orr and David Trusdale talk about Hurst's life and times - PHOTO Pat Devlin
Philip Orr and David Trusdale talk about Hurst's life and times


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