The popular band Golden Life had played a sell-out concert when a fire broke out. Investigations later discovered that the fire had not been an accident but had been set deliberately. The resulting panic was made worse when the audience, most of whom were young people, found escape routes blocked and five emergency exits padlocked closed. As well as the seven fatalities it is estimated nearly 300 people suffered burns, many severe, and the trauma affected more still.
The arsonist was never caught and it took fourteen years for anyone at all to be charged with responsibility for the tragedy. Eventually the person in charge of the hall was given a two-year sentence, suspended for four years, while the fire officer and two of the event organisers were controversially acquitted.
A memorial was raised to the victims in the shipyard wall near to where the hall, now demolished, once stood. The words ‘Life is so beautiful but so fragile’ are an accurate reflection of the tragedy but the inability to find the person or people who set the fire and the leniency with which those responsible for safety escaped any punishment continue to mark this as an appalling tragedy.