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Victorial Hall disaster memorial back at site of tragedy

Rev Ian Davies, with Joanne Cooper from Back on the Map and Raymond Davis, from Sunderland Old Township Heritage Society

Rev Ian Davies, with Joanne Cooper from Back on the Map and Raymond Davis, from Sunderland Old Township Heritage Society

A MOVING memorial to a tragedy which saw scores of children lose their lives has been returned to near where the disaster took place.

The Victoria Hall Disaster on June 16, 1883, claimed the lives of 183 children – most of whom were under 10.

They were crushed in a stampede for gifts after a show at the concert hall in Toward Road, which was later destroyed by a German bomb during the Second World War.

Now a lasting memory to the little ones listings their names, ages and addresses has been placed in Hendon library, at the end of Toward Road, after charity Back on the Map reopened the building.

It was passed to Sunderland Old Township Heritage Society after the closure of Monkwearmouth library, where it was originally on show.

Raymond Davis, from the society, said: “It had been in Monkwearmouth Library for a number of years and Monkwearmouth History Group passed it to me when the library closed.

“I have been looking for a year to find a suitable place for it, as I wanted it to be in Hendon, rather than the East End, then Back on the Map offered to have it here.

“It is the perfect place, as there is the memorial in the park at the north end of Toward Road and this is at the south.”

Reverend Ian Davies, who retired to Hendon two years ago, dedicated the memorial to its new home. He said: “As before in its former location in Monkwearmouth library building, many will pass by it and perhaps choose this memorial plaque as place to pause and wonder at the story of that accident and maybe and of other deaths and other griefs that in their own lives.”

 

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