Liverpool Echo’s Hillsborough exhibition

 April 14, 2010         Leave a comment

The Liverpool Echo and Daily Post are staging a joint exhibition in the foyer of the Echo building on Old Hall Street, consisting of 96 pages from the two papers in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.

I have little connection to Hillsborough, beyond the fact that I printed a number of articles in Liverpool Student about the appointment of Norman Bettison as the Chief Constable of Merseyside in 1998.

It’s an appropriately simple exhibition, with a short, plain page of A4 introducing reproductions of the pages, presented without captions or any associated text.

The editions reflect the shift in reaction from disbelief, to grief and then to anger. Expressions of grief, solidarity and sorrow are replaced by the search for answers and anger at the incompetence of the South Yorkshire police and lies printed by the national media, notable The Star and The Sun.

The Echo and LDP act mainly as mirrors of the feelings in the city – the relief family members, the terror of survivors, the horror of onlookers, and the outpouring of emotion that surrounded the memorials that followed – before the search for answers begins in earnest.

Among the more subtle elements evident in the papers are the letters of support from football fans of other teams; the family notices in the following days; images of the city’s famous sons and daughters wearing the gloom that surrounded the city on their faces; an outraged letter to the editor from a local businessman who had listened to mistruths from the police about where the blame lay.

Inevitably it’s the images themselves that hold the most power. A fan, head bowed, on a terrace; the aftermath at Leppings Lane; Liverpool’s clergy united at a memorial.

And then a simple image of two brothers hugging each other at Lime Street, in days before the internet and mobile phones – one possibly unsure about whether the other would ever return home.

Tears sting the eyes and I have to leave; into the sunlight of Old Hall Street, Liverpool in April.

• The exhibition runs in the atrium of the Post and Echo building on Old Hall Street until 16 April.

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