Community’s anger after Sunderland memorial targeted by vandals

Vandalised Victoria Hall Memorial
Vandalised Victoria Hall Memorial
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Members of the Sunderland community have reacted with anger after hearing a treasured memorial - commemorating 180 children killed in the Victoria Hall Disaster - has been vandalised.

The historic Victoria Hall memorial, which stands in Mowbray Park, pays tribute to 183 youngsters who were killed in a crush when toys were being handed out at a children’s variety show, on June 16, 1883.

Vandalised Victoria Hall Memorial

Vandalised Victoria Hall Memorial

On Tuesday night vandals targeted the memorial and one of its glass panels was smashed.

More than 2,000 people were present for the show, which sadly turned to tragedy.

A door in the hall at the bottom of the stairs from the gallery had been bolted ajar, leaving just enough space – 22 inches – for one person to squeeze through at a time.

Many Sunderland families lost two or more children, and all 30 from one Sunday School party were killed.

No-one was ever blamed for the bolting of the door, despite two inquests being held, although a lack of caretakers to “preserve order” was criticised by officials.

Here is what some of you said about the damage:

Adele Currie said: “Anyone who knows the tragic story of the horrific deaths of all those children cannot fail to be devastated by the beautiful monument to them being vandalised.”

Peter Griffiths added: “There appears to be an increasing number of people who have no respect for anybody or anything including themselves.

“I really don’t know what the answer is.”

Marie Jones said: “It beggars belief. If they read what the memorial was about and who it was dedicated to and still vandalize it, they are the lowest of the low.”

Jacqueline ‘Cairns’ Jollands commented: “Outrageous. If only people knew why the memorial was there - it could be their relatives who died.

“Very sad that this has been done.”

Tarith Lawrence said: “So angry. One of my great uncles died in that disaster!

“It’s an insult to the memory of all those children that didn’t survive, and their families and descendants.”

Lilian Owens added: “A beautiful statue which has been there for many years.

“I used to look at it when I was a child and I am 84 years old now disgusting.”

Liz Scobie commented: “Such a tragic story. Hope the yobs responsible are caught.”

Susan Gorman said: “They should be ashamed.”

Lesley Mfon added: “Disgusting.”