A Victorian disaster

For the classroom

Rocking horse


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Courtesy of Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens © Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens

Victoria Hall Disaster Memorial first erected in Mowbray Park; 1883.


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© Sunderland City Council

Short documentary about the disaster

Source: youtube.com

Duration: 6:35

See this video on youtube.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKfGoCz9H40

Exterior of the Victoria Hall, Sunderland (click to enlarge).

Source: blogspot.com

Visit the site http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-KMBQczmkL6w/UEBPZDj8xNI/AAAAAAAABDw/TpLrIW_uDMc/s1600/05+Exterior.jpg

Poster advertising the show at the Victoria Hall

Source: wikipedia.org

Visit the site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Victoria_hall_disaster.jpg

Engraving of Hall interior

Source: searlecanada.org

Engraving from the weekly newspaper The Graphic depicting the interior of the Victoria Hall with Mr Fay performing.

Visit the site http://www.searlecanada.org/sunderland/images2/victoriahall18.jpg

Engraving of staircase

Source: searlecanada.org

Engraving from The Graphic showing the staircase down which the children poured and the door bolted open.

Visit the site http://www.searlecanada.org/sunderland/images2/victoriahall15.jpg

The verdicts from the second inquest

Download this document/images/uploads/classroom/78_ftc_inquest-verdict.pdf

New York Times article on the event

Source: nytimes.com

Visit the site http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9402E1DA1230E433A2575BC1A9609C94629FD7CF

Eye-witness account of a survivor, William Codling

Source: victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk

Visit the site http://www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/sites/default/files/page-attachments/remembrances_of_victoria_hall_disaster.pdf

Silver foundling token; engraved 1759.


Mothers pinned tokens to their baby’s clothes when leaving them at the Foundling Hospital in London. These helped ensure correct identification, should a parent ever return to claim their child. The parent(s) of the child admitted with this coin had it engraved with the despairing message, ‘I want relief’ in the form of a rebus puzzle, with images replacing words or parts of words.

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© The Foundling Museum

The 1833 Factory Act

Source: nationalarchives.gov.uk

Lesson plan on the 1833 Factory Act and its impact on children.

Visit the site http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/1833-factory-act/

Outside the classroom

Here are some relevant museums to visit.

Sunderland Museum, Sunderland

Source: seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk

Visit the site http://www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/sunderland-museum-winter-gardens

The Foundling Museum, London

Source: foundlingmuseum.org.uk

Visit the site http://www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk/

V&A Museum of Childhood, London

Source: museumofchldhood.org.uk

Visit the site http://www.museumofchildhood.org.uk/

Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Source: nationaltrust.org.uk

Visit the site http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sudbury-hall-and-museum-of-childhood/

A Victorian disaster