Victoria Hall Disaster: Sunderland artist creates tribute to 183 children who died in stampede for toys

Artist Lyn Killeen with her Silent Voices exhibition
Artist Lyn Killeen with her Silent Voices exhibition

A city artist has created a moving tribute to the 183 children who died in one of Sunderland’s greatest tragedies.

On June 16, 1883, a generation of Sunderland children lost their lives in a stampede for free toys at the old Victoria Hall theatre in Toward Road.

Silent Voices bears the name of the children who died in the Victoria Hall disaster

Silent Voices bears the name of the children who died in the Victoria Hall disaster

This weekend, as on June 16 each year, a service will be held to mark the tragedy at the Victoria Hall Memorial in Mowbray Park.

READ MORE: How the 183 children who lost their lives in the tragedy were remembered at the annual service last year.

To mark the date, Sunderland artist and University of Sunderland Fine Art graduate Lyn Killeen will show her latest contemporary art installation, Ascension, her personal tribute to the children who lost their lives in the disaster.

She will also show Silent Voices, an installation of 183 individual glass tributes painted by the community in a project produced and facilitated in partnership with Living History North East and supported by Cultural Spring in 2017.

Ascension will also be on display at the Frederick Street Gallery

Ascension will also be on display at the Frederick Street Gallery

Lyn worked with local groups as part of the Silent Voices project to individually paint 183 glass holders inscribed with the names of each of the children who lost their lives in the disaster. Both art pieces will be on display at the Frederick Street Gallery this weekend, June 15 and June 16.

Alongside the exhibition,  Fred Gooch, a local model maker and Sunderland Maritime Heritage member, will show his Victoria Hall model.

Lyn said: '”It would be lovely to also see community members who participated in the project Silent Voices come along to see their tributes lit once more to remember the children.”

The Victoria Hall remained in use until 1941 when it was destroyed by a German parachute bomb.

A previous Victoria Hall Memorial Service

A previous Victoria Hall Memorial Service

*Ascension and Silent Voices will be on display at Frederick Street Gallery from noon to 3pm on Saturday, June 15 and noon until 2pm on Sunday, June 16. Entry is free.

*The memorial service  on Sunday, June 16 at the Victoria Hall Memorial in Mowbray Park will be led by Rev Ian Davies and local schoolchildren will be laying posies. All are welcome to come along and pay their respects at the service which starts at 11am.