Birmingham pub bombings: silhouettes shed light on killings of 21 innocents in 1974 Troubles atrocity
On the 47th anniversary of the Birmingham pub bombings, a group of victims’ campaigners took to the streets of the English city to highlight the tragedy of the 21 innocent people killed.
Although the IRA never officially admitted responsibility for the worst Troubles atrocity outside of Northern Ireland, in 2014 a senior IRA man said they had carried out the attack.
On Saturday, Justice for the 21 brought 21 silhouettes on a tour of Birmingham, representing the victims of the two pub bombings.
Victims campaigner Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine was killed, said: “We took them around Birmingham on Saturday because on Saturday 47 years ago they were still alive. We wanted to remind people that 21 Brummies were still alive 47 years ago.
“We took them to where the Mulberry Bush pub would have been and then to the Tavern in the Town, where my sister Maxine would have been.
“We lined them up outside West Midland Police’s HQ.
“One of our supporters suggested we lie them on the ground. People were stopping at asking us what we were doing. People were crying because the silhouettes were so powerful.
“People today still don’t know about it because the authorities kept it well and truly buried.”
Julie continued: “Inside St Philip’s Cathedral we had the silhouettes in front of the altar. It was so powerful.
“We took them down to the tree memorial where the Irish ambassador came to pay his respects as well.”
Julie and her brother Brian started Justice for the 21 in 2011 to highlight the atrocity and seek justice for the victims.
They believe the UK government has failed them.
Julie said: “The Irish authorities have paid more respect to our families and the memories of our loved ones than any UK government.
“They’ve brushed it under the carpet until we’ve came along.
“This amnesty proposal is just the straw that broke the camel’s back for us.”
Julie said she was disheartened by the fact the Tavern in the Town site where her sister was killed hasn’t been closed down.
She said: “It’s something that grates on many of us that it really should be sealed and locked up. It’s a cellar so it could easily be closed down.
“It has changed hands a number of times. It was another pub, then a restaurant, then a Chinese buffet. It’s closed at the minute but only because there isn’t a tenant.”
She said: “It’s so disrespectful, it shows that money rules. It’s so crass, it’s quite sick really.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.