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Victims of the Victoria Hall Calamity

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Toward Road, Sunderland runs along the eastern edge of Mowbray Park, perhaps the most outstanding of the city's many impressive public amenities. However, this attractive urban setting hides a terrible secret, for here, at the junction of Toward Road and Laura Street, stood the Victoria Hall which was the scene of what was arguably the country's worst ever tragedy, a tragedy which moved the whole country in a way only matched by the outpouring of grief following the terrible events at Aberfan in 1966 and the recent death of Princess Diana. The tragedy occurred on Saturday, June 16th 1883, during a children's show when gifts were being distributed from the stage. The 1100 or so children in the gallery, determined not to miss the treats, dashed down the spiral staircase to the stalls, but at the foot of the staircase their way was barred by a door which could only open towards them. Tragically the rush of children was such that, before the door could be opened, the leading youngsters were already being pressed against the door by those behind them. The yells of delight soon turned to screams of terror as more and more children found themselves trapped. In the ensuing confusion no less than 183 young children were crushed to death. Truly a tragedy without equal.

Money poured into the town - this is not a modern phenomenon - and some of the donations were used to erect a monument to the dead children in Mowbray Park. This took the form of a life-size white marble statue depicting a grieving mother holding a dead child.

Victoria Hall remained in use for a further 58 years until the night of April 15th/16th 1941 when, at around 3:00 a.m. during a heavy air-raid on the town, a German parachute-mine scored a direct hit on the northern end of the building and completely demolished it. Few would have missed that sullen reminder of an earlier tragedy, but sadly several other nearby buildings were seriously damaged too, including the Winter Gardens and the Museum and Library in Mowbray Park and the Palatine Hotel at the northern end of Toward Road. Soon after WW2 the marble memorial to the dead children was moved to Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.

In 1994 Sunderland Council began a £13 million project which included a new Winter Gardens, the restoration of Mowbray Park to its Victorian glory, and the refurbishment of Sunderland Museum. As part of this project, the much vandalised marble memorial to the dead of 1883 disaster was removed from the cemetery, fully restored, and re-erected in a copper and brass protective enclosure near to its original location in Mowbray Park.


Select a letter below to go to entries beginning with that letter.

A B C D E F G H J K L M N O P R S T V W

A

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Adams, Margaret G. 10 5, Parade
Algren, Charles John 8 23, Parade
Allan, Michael 5 13, North Bridge Street
Allan, Margaret Cook 7 13, North Bridge Street
Anderson, George F. 7 28, Brougham Street
Athey, Jane 9 125, Wayman Street
Athey, Ruth 11 125, Wayman Street

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B

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Bailey, Thomas 8 39, East Street
Beale, James 8 32, Ford Street
Bell, Isabella 7 25, Norman Street
Bell, James 6 3, Pemberton Street
Bell, William George 8 4 Bridge Street
Blakey, Barbara 10 7, Page Street
Bland, William 10 66, Hedley Street
Booth, Robert W. 9 1l, St Luke s Terrace
Briggs, Newrick 4 19, Blandford Street
Briggs, William James 9 19, Blandford Street
Brodie, John Wm. 8 3, Buxton Street
Browell, Emily 9 3, Gilsland Street
Brown, Margaret Ellen 12 16, D'Arcy Street
Brown, Margaret 4 13, Lisburne Terrace
Buglass, Dorothy B. 3 21, Thornton Place
Butler, Thomas 9 39, Thompson Street

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C

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Carr, Charles Henry 8 13, Trinity Place
Chandler, Sarah Jane 7 17, Wilson Street
Chandler, Thomas H. 10 17, Wilson Street
Cogdon, Barker Ramsay 8 21, Flag Lane
Conlin, Mary Jane 10 44, Burleigh Street
Coulson, George H. 8 22, Watson Lane
Coupland, Andrew 10 40, Queen Street
Curry, John 8 91, Back Whitburn Street
Curtin, Alfred David 5 4, Clanney Street
Curtin, James Fred 9 4, Clanney Street

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D

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Davison, John C. 6 104, High Street
Davison, Martin H. 8 73, Tweed Street
Davison, Rosanna 6 1l, Thomas Street
Dixon, Charles 7 Willow Pond Terrace
Dixon, John Edward 7 6, Howick Street
Dodds, Charles Foster 6 73, Victor Street
Downey, Mary 7 5, Back Sussex Street
Dring, Charles 8 61, Roker Avenue
Dring, John Robert 11 32, Dock Street East
Dumble, Elva 7 St Mark's Road
Duncan, Mary Ann 11 13, William Street
Dunn, Thomas H. 9 11, Colliery Row

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E

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Elliott, Elizabeth Watt 8 19 Burleigh Street
Elliott, James Oliver 10 19 Burleigh Street
Evans, Charles 9 16, Thompson Street
Evans, John George 11 16, Thompson Street

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F

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Fairgreave, James 10 17, Brougham Street
Fairgreave, Peter 7 17, Brougham Street
Falley, Kate 9 7, Cornhill Road
Fenwick, Cuthbert M. 6 43, High Street West
Fenwick, John 7 46, Wear Street
Fleming, Thomas W. 8 23, Vine Street
Fox, George 10, Gilsland Street N
Fox, Robert 10, Gilsland Street N
Fox, William 4 Chester Terrace North

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G

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Gibson, John G. 11 16, Tower Street
Gillies, John R. 5 27, Dame Dorothy Street
Graham, Fred. W. 11 2, Bramwell Street
Graham, Thomas 7 37, New Grey Street
Greener, John Thomas 7 89, Eglinton Street
Grey, Robert Henry 7 21, Hawthorn Street

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H

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Hall, Mary Ann 8 15, Deptford Road
Hall, Thomas 8 23, Alexandra Terrace
Halliman, Eliza 8 12, Grey's Buildings
Harrison, Thomas 9 11, Abbs Street
Hayhurst, James 7 2, High Street West
Henderson, Cicely 11½ 3, Hopper Street
Henderson, James 10 3, Hopper Street
Henderson, Joseph 9 6, Nicholson Street
Henderson, Margaret Jane 7 3, Hopper Street
Henderson, Richard 7 6, Nicholson Street
Hilton, Robert P. 6 41, Emma Street
Hines, Eveline 4, Booth Street
Hines, William Arthur 8 4, Booth Street
Hogg, Robert Hall 8 4, Harrison Street East
Howard, John 7 3, Pemberton Street
Hughes, Thomas Edward 5 1, Swinbank Street
Hughes, Thomas 7 5, Clanney Street
Hutchinson, Laura V. 6 72, Hendon Road

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J

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Jefferson, Thomas 9 20, Gosforth Street
Jewitt, R. 10 Foyle Street
Johnson, William 10 4, Pickard Street

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K

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Kelty, William 10 17, Dock Street East
Kemp, William 7 24, Henry Street East
Kirby, A. Edward 10 19, D'Arcy Terrace
Kirton, Elizabeth 9 1, Carr's Yard
Knox, George W. 9 Brougham Street

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L

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Lackenby, Johnson 50, Queen Street
Lane, Charles H. 10 2, Clanney Street
Lane, James W. 6 2, Clanney Street
Lawrence, Isabella 7 1, Addison Street
Lawrence, John 5 1, Addison Street
Liddle, Edward 8 34, Burlington Road
Longstaff, William S. 7 Coatesworth Street

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M

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
McCann, Kate 8 31, Silver Street
McKeever, John William 5 Society Lane
Maconkie, Nellie 10 6, Christopher Street
Maddison, Fred 5 11, Kingsley Street
Maddison, Sarah 5 11, Kingsley Street
Marley, John 5 7, Tees Street
Meek, James 8 40, Villiers Street
Milburn, Hannah I. 9 Alderson Street
Miles, Charles 9 19, Catherine Street
Miller, Emily 9 3, Gilsland Street
Miller, William 8 34, Burlington Road
Mills, Alice P. 10 10, Ann Street
Mills, Elizabeth A. 12 10, Ann Street
Mills, Frederick 8 10, Ann Street
Mills, Richard 6 10, Ann Street
Morris, Emily 7 17, Glebe Cleft Villas
Morrison, John 7 Richmond Street
Muse, Jane 6 17, Biss Street

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N

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Newton, Catherine 13, Carter Street
Nipper, George Stokeld 9 11, Howick Square
Noble, John Waller 11 13, Winchester Terrace

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O

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Orrock, Margaret 12 16, Covent Garden Street

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P

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Paget, Mary 10 Lisburn Terrace
Paley, Edward 6 15, Garden Place
Patterson, Alfred 7 6, Matlock Street
Paxton, Louis A. 8 14, Dunning Street
Peace, Ann Marie 7 22, West Stanley Street
Pearey, William 9 4, Bright Street
Pescod, Mary Eleanor 8 21, Burleigh Street
Pescod, William Henry 10 21, Burleigh Street
Phillipson, Emmerson 11 12, Dame Dorothy Street
Pringle, Ann M. 9 48, Southwick Road
Pringle, Maggie 7 48, Southwick Road
Prior, George 12 11, Kingsley Street
Proudfoot, John T. 8 11, Burleigh Street

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R

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Ramsey, Robert 11 36, Covent Garden Street
Redmond, Annie 14 14, Booth Street
Richmond, Catherine 7 15, Grey's Buildings
Ritson, Thomas C. 9 18, Mordey Street
Robertson, Annie Patteson 10 61, High Street East
Robertson, Ethel 7 61, High Street East
Robson, Eleanor 6 14, Tyne Street
Roper Margaret 8 12, East Cross Street
Rowell, Elizabeth 7 48, Gladstone Street
Russell, Mary Helen 6 29 Lawrence Street
Rutherford, William 8 19, John Candlish Road

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S

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Scott, James H. 10 23, Vine Street
Scrafton, Eugenie 8 6, Handel Street
Shipley, Walter G. 10 Griffin's Buildings
Simey, Abraham 8 55, Silver Street
Simpson, William 7 Sans Close
Sleightam, George 8 Hendon Street
Sleightam, William 6 Hendon Street
Smith, Carrie 5 43, Northumberland Street
Snaith, Elizabeth 8 57, Fowler Terrace
Snaith, George 8 7, East Street
Solomon, Tiney 9 43, Henry Street
Southern, Thomas 8 10, Catherine Street
Spence, Joseph 10 30, Howick Street
Swinney, John Thomas 6 George Street

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T

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Taylor, John James 6 Coatesworth Street
Thompson, Margaret Ann 6 Norman Street
Thompson, Margaret 3 31, Palmer Street
Thompson, Mary Ann 11 31, Palmer Street
Tomlinson, Annie M. 4 South Durham Street
Topin, Ada Ann 11 47, Emma Street
Topin, Nora 6 47, Emma Street
Toward, Thomas 9 Coatesworth Street
Turnbull, Margaret A. 8 Norman Street

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V

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Venus, John George Thomas 7 89, Eglinton Street
Vowell, Grace Newton 8 5½, Norfolk Street
Vowell, Lilly 4 5½, Norfolk Street

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W

Victim's Surname and Forename Age Residence (Sunderland)
Wanless, Elizabeth 7 8, Dock Street
Ward, Florence Edith 6 8, Back Charles Street
Watson, Amy C. L. 13 Wayman Street
Watson, Annie Emily C. 10 Wayman Street
Watson, R. C. 12 Wayman Street
Weighill, William R. 8 Vine Cottage
Wilkinson, Robert 7 7, Addison Street
Willan, John Henry 11 37, Zetland Street
Williamson, John Robert 11 5, Johnson Street
Wise, John James 10 56, Moor Street
Wright, Andrew 7 5, Bright Street
Wright, Mary 5 Willow Pond Inn

Researcher Alan Vickers has been looking at newspaper accounts of the burials of the victims and has noted some discrepencies between the names listed there and the official list of victims. His work is ongoing, but he has provided GENUKI with the results of his of work so far. This suggests that there may well be more victims than are listed above.

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[Last updated: 6th September 2011 - Brian Pears]
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