New Cross fire: Memorial service and commemorative plaque unveiling

Tomorrow, a church service will be held to remember the victims of the 1981 New Cross Fire, 30 years on.

The church has a strong connection with the young victims as many of them attended the youth club there. In October 2002, Lewisham Council installed a special stained glass window in their memory.

Speakers at the service include George Francis, Chair of the New Cross Fire Parents Committee, Sir Steve Bullock, and Joan Ruddock MP for Lewisham Deptford.
Date: 16 January 2011, 3pm
Venue: St Andrew’s Church, Brockley

Then, on Tuesday, a plaque will be unveiled to commemorate the site at which the fire took place. The ceremony will be attended by local councillors, dignitaries and members of the public. Families of the victims will speak at the event before unveiling the blue plaque.
Date: 18 January 2011, 2pm
Venue: 439 New Cross Road, London, SE14

Transpontine has more on the history and impact of the fire.


Anonymous said...

A victim of the fire Wayne Haynes was on Radio this morning.

He was the DJ at the party and discovered the fire and alerted others.

He climbed down a drainpipe that gave way and fell 40ft smashing his hip, he was hospital for months after the fire with severe burns.

His opinion is that it was not a racist petrol bomb attack because no glass was found inside the room where the fire started and there were partygoers outside who would have seen if anyone threw a petrol bomb.

Forensics have located the source of the fire to an armchair on the ground floor.

abw said...

I was at the memorial last night @ the Albany. Difficult and painful memories followed by a really insightful Q+A with Black Leaders involved at the time and their recollections. 2nd half was a joyful celebration of Black British Culture with spoken word artists and ending with the Queens of Lovers Rock Carrol Thompson and Janet Kay. The albany was more packed than i have seen it for a long time. Congratulations to all the organisers and artists who gave their time to make this a fitting to memorial to the victims. WE MUST NEVER FORGET
Here is a link to the film that opened the evening

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 16:08. Not sure what point previous posting was trying to make. What ever you believe was rhe cause of the fire, 13 people died as a result the youngest being 14, a child. That alone is worth commemorating.
I was also at Abany last night, amazing evening, honoring And celebrating the 14 (including later death of Anthony Berbeck), their familes and survivors.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the latest theory to the cause being that it was probably an accident?

Anonymous said...

A terrible tragic accident.

Anonymous said...

Oh,I thought there was already a Blue Plaque,but obviously not, does it take over 30 years to get one.

Mb (can't sleep..... Yawn!) said...

Read transpontines article to get some sense as to why its particularly significant, accident or not. Like Stephen Lawrence, it was the reaction to the incident as much as incident itself that caused much of the pain. Not that those affected by this have to justify commemorating it to anyone.

Anonymous said...

There is a plaque with all the names of those who died in the fire on the wall by the entrance to the Civic Suite of Lewisham Town Hall in Catford.

Transpontine said...

abw, I was at the Albany on Friday too, thought it was excellent. Bit of a minefield of emotions organising something like that, but it got the balance just right. I have reviewed the event here

SonofaGun said...

I know LKJ who is a great bloke,had many a pint of Guinness with him in the Talbot.

Anonymous said...

Anon 16:08 which means Darcus Howe's article today may be nonsense.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 19:32
A disgusting exploitive article by Darcus Howe. Who's racist political beliefs are far more important to him than the truth.

Suddenly an explosion rent the party asunder. Blazing flames transformed dance into blood and hellfire....

That was exactly 30 years ago and my heart still sinks in despair at the New Cross fire.

With all the forensic facilities at Scotland Yard's disposal, in spite of eyewitnesses who saw a white man who pulled up at the house in an Austin Princess and slung a Molotov cocktail into the party, despite the milk bottle with a fitted wick found at the base of the window sill, the authorities have still been unable to tell us the cause(s) of the fire.

Linton Kwesi Johnson is another who has exploited peoples emotions, but in a more subtle way. He was featured on BBC London last night and like Darcus left the impression it was murder by a racist.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 15 Jan 19:52

Wayne is a victim of the fire who gave a detailed account of what he witnessed and has had access to the police and forensic experts.

There are politically active intellectuals who at the time and after 30 years still want to use the tragic death of those young people for their own purposes.

A prominent poster carried at the 1981 march said..'Stop murdering our black children', which indicates the view of many on that march.

On You Tube there is a video about the New Cross Fire, the vast majority of the comments are based on information promoted by such people as Darcus Howe.

What's ironic is that much of that information first appeared in the press.

The point is that bigotted intellectuals can be equally as wrong as the police for exactly the same reasons?

Anonymous said...

Darcus Howe writing about the subsequent Brixton riots...

The slogan of that dark night, as Brixton was set alight, acclaimed: "This is for New Cross."

Job done Darcus.

WMF said...

Agree with anon. 8.17. And the police, albeit shamefully slowly, have at least been learning after the New Cross Fire and Stephen Lawrence. But if you point to the bigotry and closed minds on the other side it gives rise to immediate accusations of racism.

Anonymous said...


still not sure what your point is, but it's becoming clear. The posting was about an event in memory of those who died in a tragic circumstances 30 years ago, where no one has been held accountable hence the debate continues. The views of many have changed over this period, which has been widely known and openly expressed throughout the years. To focus on the understandable anger and feelings of that time misses the point and significance of the new Cross fire today, including the impact on policing today.  If not for those who protested of police indifference, to racism in general, there would never of been an inquest albeit 20 years later. Mr Howe (married to a White lady) is entitled to his view, but he is not the official spokesperson of blackpeople! Why turn the thread into an attack on those who were there ( like Wayne) and do still believe it was a racist attack? Maybe someone needs to start another threat to debate racism against white people instead of hopping on this one.  RIP to the 14, and congratulations to those who organised what was a great evening at Albany.  

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