16 June 2016
On 16 June 1883, 183 children were killed in a stampede
On this day in family history, 1883, the Victoria Hall theatre panic in Sunderland, North-East England, killed 183 children and is the worst disaster of its kind in British history. The victims, aged between 3 and 14, were attending a variety show put on by travelling entertainers called The Fays and were crushed to death in a stampede towards the stage to get free toys at the end of the performance.
Grieving families received messages of condolence from Queen Victoria and donations poured in from across the country. These were used for the children's funerals and a memorial, which stands in Mowbray Park, near where the theatre stood until it was destroyed in World War II. Find some of the victims’ names at http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DUR/Sunderland/VictoriaHall.