The Hillsborough Monument Memorial

Sculptor’s Notes

The Hillsborough monument was comissioned by the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and sculpted by Tom Murphy.

Background: A young girl asked her Father, where is the Hillsborough Memorial? She was told: ‘There is one in Anfield.’ She said: ‘Why can’t we have one in the city centre for everyone to see.’ This simple question was the catalyst for this monument.

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Design Concept (in brief)

The monument is circular with a raised design in low relief. The imagery shows an imaginary place,which is meant to guide our thoughts of remembrance and all that has happened since the tragedy.

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The people depicted in the design are ‘the guardians of the memory’, or ‘people like us’ Their purpose is symbolic and other figures represent justice, hope and loss. The setting is a beautiful and quiet place, which may help us to think about the characters and individual personalities of those who died. The people who passed away are represented by the birds who fly freely throughout the work.

We reflect and empathise with those who died while considering the people they were, and might have been, were it not for the disaster.

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Description of the raised relief on the maquette

  1. The design begins with two large tablets that list the names those who died. A dedication and information plaque is situated between the tablets of names with a poem, written especially for the moument, by David Charters (journalist and author). Immediately above the central dedication is a wreath of spring flowers. This reminds us of the season and number of victims who died. A Liver Bird stands guard. Below the information plaque is a rail of football scarves from differing clubs signifying the way football fans responded nationally in the days after the disaster. Around the top rim of the monument is the proclamation: ‘HILLSBOROUGH DISASTER. WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.’.
  2. The first figure to the right is a young boy who gazes on in disbelief at all the names on the tablets.
  3. The second figure depicts a man holding a football scarf above his head in a ceremonial manner. One side of the scarf bears the Liverpool Football Club crest and the other side, the Everton Football Club Crest. This demonstrates how The City of Liverpool is united in its grief.
  4. The third figure comforts a young woman who is trying to raise a flag.
  5. The fourth figure is the young woman trying to raise the flag.
  6. The fifth figure, behind the group holding the flag, is a man who gazes up to the text to emphasise the words: ‘WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.’.
  7. The sixth figure holds the flag; he look downs sorrowfully at the flag which rests on his lap. The flag represents the those who died and the devastating effect of the tragedy on family, relatives, friends and the ongoing effect on those traumatised by the event.
  8. The seventh figure shows a man with his arms stretched up as if to hold up the text.
  9. The eigth figure shows a woman a woman wearing a sash ‘with hope in their heart.’ She is holding a book, on the cover of which appears the number 96 in Roman numerals as well as the scales of justice.
  10. The ninth figure shows a man touching the ground with one hand. Birds appear to be emanating from his other hand; some are near and some far away. Various kinds of birds can be found in every part of the design. This image represents the spirit of those who died and shows that they will always be with us in some form. They will always be in the memory of relatives, friends and the citizens of Liverpool.
  11. The Eternal Flame is seen rising from the two Liver Birds.
  12. The tenth subject shows a man who proudly holds up a flag that bears the crest of Liverpool Town Hall. Anchors traditionally mean `hope.’. This is meant to be a positive gesture to emphasise that the people of the City are at one with the fight for truth and justice.
  13. 14 and 15: This group of figures shows a family who mourn the loss of a loved one. The man and a pregnant woman gently touch the the tables of names; behind them, a young girl becomes distracted and reaches out to play with one of the birds. This group of figures balances with the boy positioned on the other side of the tablets of names. The young girl is also a reference to the Liverpool schoolgirl, ‘Rosie,’ who sugested having a monument in the city centre; in her hand is a drawing of an angel with the head of a Liver Bird.

May the 96 people who lost their lives rest in peace.

© Tom Murphy 2013