Blitz


Sorry – still on historical stuff today – I’ll move onto other things soon, promise! Following on from yesterday’s Stockwell Street post,Steve sent me a couple of pictures of the immediately-surrounding area, in 1944, which shows the kind of bomb damage we were discussing. The originals can both be found at Greenwich Heritage Centre, a very, very interesting place.

The first picture could even be the V2 rocket we were talking about. It fell on 1st July 1944. It looks a bit close to Greenwich Station to be the one on the Stockwell Street drawing – but I find perspective in old pics hard to work out, and though you’d really need another photo taken from the other direction to be sure, it’s entirely possible it’s the same fellow.

Whatever, this is pretty serious stuff. An army of flat-capped workers are trying to clear the rubble, watched by what looks like the men from the ministry – or at least the council. I’m guessing the uniformed chap is the stationmaster.

The second is Burney Street, just across from Stockwell St. If you need to get your bearings, look in the top left hand corner – there’s (what’s left of) the Observatory. Presumably the row of buildings at the back is what’s left of the North side of Gloucester Circus. That bomb had fallen a few days earlier, on 27th June. You can always tell where bombs fell in the war as you walk around Greenwich, as the old houses suddenly stop and modern buildings suddenly begin. In Burney Street’s case, that’s a block of flats and a police station today – perhaps the police station was to replace the one in Park Row…

Steve is a Battlefield Guide – just about to join the Guild and everything (I didn’t even know there was a Guild of Battlefield Guides) and he’s just about to do a series of Blitz-related South East London Walks. The first takes in Blackheath and Greenwich on Good Friday, April 2nd. If you’re interested in touring the bombed-to-buggery sites of Greenwich, meet at All Saints Church, Blackheath, at 11.00am and be prepared to be walking for about two and three quarter hours. The cost is £6 per head.


12 Comments to “Blitz”

  1. Benedict says:

    It looks to me that the first pic is the back of Straightsmouth, judging by the proximity of the station and the nearness of the houses.
    The second Burney St one, is that taken from the clock tower on Royal Hill? Plus the main building in the centre foreground seems to have a mature tree growing out of the middle…?

  2. scared of chives says:

    B – agree just as the train from Maze Hill exits the last bit of tunnel

  3. Robert No 16 says:

    If there are those who do not know what a V2 bomb looks like.There is a disarmed one at London bridge station Platform 1 I think.

  4. Pedro says:

    The V2 outside London bridge is just a fake or mockup. The real thing is far bigger, more rounded and definitely more phallic – the Science Museum has one.

    As I learned from the phantom some time ago, South London had far more than its fair share of V1 blasts, because British Intelligence manipulated press reports to convince the German High Command that the buzz-bombs were overshooting and reprogram the timers, hence making the bombs less likely to hit the West End or Buck Palace.

    Herbert Morrison, MP for Brixton/Lambeth I believe, objected, but Winston Churchill over-ruled him!

  5. Robert No 16 says:

    Thank you Pedro for putting right on the V2.Did Greenwich ever get any dodal bugs?

  6. DonnerundBlitzen says:

    Nothing fair about war, Pedro. Every bomb that fell on Greenwich wasn't falling on the docks, and thereby starving the country into defeat. Morrison had to complain (his constituents) and Churchill had to over-rule. I for one am glad not to have been brought up in a Fascist state.

    Point for Benedict: there had already been four years of bombing before the V2s arrived. Would that have been long enough for the tree to grow to that size.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Surely Greenwich got some of everything, Robert No. 16? Not to mention the First World War bombs.

  8. Latelygay says:

    I was just reading that the average of fatalities per V2 rocket was only about 2, however there were singularly appalling strikes such as the death of 537 people in a cinema in Antwerp and 160 killed in the New Cross branch of Woolworths.

  9. RogerW says:

    Well, I went on today's walk (Fri, 2 April) and found it interesting and informative. Lots of contemporary photos to illustrate the various points of interest, plus plenty of well-researched info, right down to explaining how a particular street lamp at The Paragon took on a slightly drunken angle.
    There is, apparently, another Blitz-related walk [albeit more centred on London] starting from the main entrance of Southwark Cathedral at 11am on Sunday, 4 April.

  10. David says:

    Hello, Any idea if this walk is (or could be) repeated? Cheers! Keep up the great work on the site

  11. If you go to http://www.blitzwalkers.co.uk you’ll be able to see when the next one is. Enjoy!

  12. Terry Mc Carthy says:

    Benedict says the first pic looks as though it could be Straightsmouth, It WAS, I was there, we lived at 31 Straightsmouth, we just missed the real devastation, but it was still pretty bad, my younger sister had cuts to the head, (she was just a baby. sleeping in a cot) the ceiling came down on us, I escaped relatively unarmed. The rocket actually fell among the cottages op Randal Place, where it joins straightsmouth.