Irish community behind memorial for Birmingham pub bombings victims

By Robert Mann contact

- Last updated on GMT

Statues constructed: three 15ft steel trees will be built in memory of those who lost their lives in the bombings
Statues constructed: three 15ft steel trees will be built in memory of those who lost their lives in the bombings
A memorial to honour the victims of the infamous 1974 Birmingham pub bombings will be unveiled next month – exactly 44 years to the time and day of the atrocity.

Three tree-like sculptures will be permanently placed outside Birmingham New Street station, close to the site of the explosions.

The bombings occurred on 21 November 1974, when devices exploded in the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs, killing 21 people and injuring 182 others.

No one has ever been brought to justice for the murders, although members of the IRA are believed to have been responsible.

Never forgotten

The memorials have been made by Blackburn-based artist Anuradha Patel, who built them so that the victims would “never be forgotten”.

Each tree will have seven leaves providing a total of 21 leaves – one for each life lost – and will stand at 15ft in height.

The design of the leaves means that when the sun shines through them, a victims name will be reflected onto the pavement below.

There will also be seating built into the base of two of the trees providing visitors a place to rest and contemplate.

They will be unveiled at a ceremony beginning at 8.17pm on November 21 – in symmetry with when the first bomb went off.

Continued support

Although there is already a memorial in the grounds of St Philips Cathedral, this second one came following pressure from the leaders of Birmingham Irish communities.

It followed research into the after-effects of the bombings at the University of Birmingham, which found Irish people in Birmingham wanted a better, more prominent memorial.

The Birmingham Irish Association led the campaign and, three years ago, set up a committee to push and oversee the project.

Birmingham Irish Association chief executive Maurice Malone added: “We wanted to create an inclusive and healing memorial that could reflect both the damage the pub bombings did to our city and also the hope we have for the future.”

Julie Hambleton, whose sister, Maxine, died in the bombing, said: “The families have always had a dream of healing the fractured community of Birmingham that has existed since the pub bombings in 1974.

“This new memorial is not only to remember those who were slain in cold blood, but to illustrate how the communities in Birmingham, continue to support each other, no matter what.”

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