Children who died in Sunderland's Victoria Hall Disaster to be remembered at special service

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
141 years on: Sunderland remembers the 183 children who died

Prayers will be said for 183 Sunderland children who died in the Victoria Hall Disaster.,

The 141st anniversary of the tragedy is on Sunday and the annual commemoration of those who lost their lives will be held in Mowbray Park.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
A scene from the commemoration service in 2019.A scene from the commemoration service in 2019.
A scene from the commemoration service in 2019. | se

Prayers and a service

Sunderland Old Township Heritage Society is holding its annual Victoria Hall Disaster commemoration.

There will be a short service and prayers starting at 11am. The Mayor Councillor Alison Chisnall and local councillors will be there and local children will leave flowers inside the memorial.

Disaster during a theatre show

The disaster happened on June 16, 1883 when hundreds of children were watching a theatre show given by The Fays.

This powerful tribute to the children who died was a part of the 2019 commemorations.This powerful tribute to the children who died was a part of the 2019 commemorations.
This powerful tribute to the children who died was a part of the 2019 commemorations. | se

The performers began to distribute toys to children in the stalls but the children in the upper balconies of the theatre thought they would miss out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They hurried down a stairwell towards a door that was only partially open.

The Victoria Hall Memorial statue.The Victoria Hall Memorial statue.
The Victoria Hall Memorial statue. | other 3rd party

Changes in health and safety laws

As more and more children pushed their way towards the door, those at the bottom of the stairs couldn’t get through the narrow gap and were crushed behind it.

An undated Echo photo of Victoria Hall.An undated Echo photo of Victoria Hall.
An undated Echo photo of Victoria Hall. | se

All 183 children died as a result of asphyxia.

The effects of the disaster were far reaching and led to changes in health and safety legislation. Consequently the doors on public buildings must open outwards to prevent a similar occurrence.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.