Remembering the 21: Birmingham Pub Bombings timeline

Timeline of the key events surrounding the Birmingham bombings from 1974 - 2019. Credit: ITV News Central

On November 21 1974, 21 people died and over 180 were injured after bombs exploded in two Birmingham pubs.

The attacks were blamed on the Provisional IRA and six men, who were wrongly convicted of the attacks in 1975.

No-one else has ever been arrested or charged in relation to the bombings.

Below is a timeline of the key events surrounding the Birmingham bombings:

  • November 1974: A series of bombs in two pubs in Birmingham - the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town - kill 21 people and injure 182 others - the dead were all aged between 17 and 51

  • August 1975: Six men, Patrick (Paddy) Joseph Hill, Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny, Gerard Hunter, William Power and John Walker, are convicted of 21 counts of murder

  • March 1976: The Birmingham Six made their first appeal against their convictions - it was dismissed

  • 1985 - a series of programmes by the documentary strand 'World In Action' cast doubt on the case against the Birmingham Six

  • January 1987: Home Office referred the convictions of the Birmingham Six to the Court of Appeal

  • January 1988: the appeal was dismissed and the convictions were ruled to be 'safe and satisfactory'

  • August 1990: The Home Secretary again referred the convictions of the Birmingham Six to the Court of Appeal as a result of fresh evidence

  • March 1991: The Birmingham Six were freed after serving 16 years in prison

  • 2001: The Birmingham Six were awarded compensation for their wrongful imprisonment ranging from £840,000 to £1.2 million

  • November 2011: Maxine and Brian Hambleton, who lost their 18-year-old sister Maxine, set up Justice4the21

  • April 2014: Then-Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, Chris Sims, refused to reopen formal inquiries into the attacks as there was "no new evidence"

  • December 2014: In a memoir, Kieran Conway, a former senior officer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), formally admitted the group's involvement in the Birmingham pub bombings

  • October 2015: a senior coroner considers whether to reopen the inquest into those killed in the bombings

  • June 2016: Senior Coroner Louise Hunt rules that the inquests should be resumed, as there is a "wealth of evidence". She highlights two occasions when police were warned of imminent IRA attacks in the city

  • November 2016: Fresh inquests into the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings get underway amid a dispute of legal funding between the families of the victims and the Government

  • July 2017: Coroner decides that the new inquests into the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings will not identify any potential suspects

  • August 2017: Justice 4the21 ask the public for money to help fight their legal case and overturn the coroner's ruling

  • January 2018: High Court rules that the suspects will be named. The coroner appeals.

  • July 2018: Appeal Court judges asked to reverse a ruling by the High Court that those suspected of carrying out the Birmingham Pub Bombings can be named.

  • September 2018: The High Court rules the coroner doesn't have to name the suspects.

  • October 2018: A documentary airs on ITV which names two prime suspects

  • November 2018: A memorial to the 21 people who died in the Birmingham pub bombings was unveiled outside Birmingham New Street.

  • February 2019: The inquest into the deaths of the 21 people who died begins at Birmingham Coroners court on the 25th of February.

  • April 2019: The inquest concluded on the 5th of April.

  • October 2020: After a number of calls for a public inquiry, the Home Secretary agrees to look into the case for one.

  • March 2022: Old Bailey Judge rules journalist Chris Mullin does not have to disclose his source material from his investigations into the bombings.

  • June 2022: The family of a Birmingham pub bombings victim are bringing a civil case for damages in connection with the attacks.