Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Hillsborough remembered

Twenty years ago today 96 people died as a direct result of the Hillsborough disaster when Liverpool football fans were crushed to death at the Sheffield Wednesday ground.
The disaster deeply affected the people of Liverpool but Sheffield was shocked by the fact that those who had come to the city as guests should have faced such suffering. The role of the South Yorkshire Police in the events leading up to and after the disaster was also controversial and many questions remain unanswered.

The City of Sheffield will remember the event with a two minute silence at 3.06pm this afternoon. Libraries are the memory of society and their role in preserving the memory of this event is important. Libraries preserve documents such as the Taylor report into the disaster, academic articles about crowd behaviour, architects reports on the design of football stadia and archives of the organisations involved. They also collect published and private accounts from those who were affected by the events of that day. Of course libraries can only make available the information that has been released. Two government ministers will today call on the police, ambulance service and other public bodies responsible for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster to make available all documents they hold relating to the incident and its aftermath. Meredydd Hughes, the current South Yorkshire chief constable has agreed to investigate whether there are other documents relating to Hillsborough which have not been publicly disclosed.

Sheffield Libraries,Archives and Information has published a research guide on the Hillsborough Disaster. It is not a detailed account of the tragedy; it merely points the reader who wishes to carry out their own research to what is available within Sheffield Libraries and Archives. Although most of the material is freely available in the library, some of the official records, such as those from the police and the coroner, can only be accessed with their permission.

This publication, as much as the two-minute silence, is Sheffield's way of remembering this tragic event

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