Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Blitz London: A tour of Aldwych disused station

Today is the 70th anniversary of when Hitler decided the best way to win over Londoners to his cause was by dropping hundreds of tons of high explosives on their heads. To many people who research their family history in London, such as I, you can always see where the bombs fell by looking at the age of the houses - on one side of a street you might have obviously victorian or edwardian terraces and then on the other a modern building block - or just a patch of land. More often than not there's yer bomb crater. And in that hole lay the ruins of people's families, lives and futures among the masonry.

On 24th September to 26th the excellent London Transport Museum are conducting tours of Aldwych tube station, now disused and standing forlornly on the Strand, complete with actors in 40s garb to give Londoners a feel for what it was like for those who lived under the rain of terror. Nightly. I've just bagged a ticket for the 1930 Friday tour but there are tours every hour for the three days - book now here.

And what of us in the Bush? I'll always remember an elderly taxi driver telling me about the time when a V1 bomb landed on my part of the Bush and he and his father dragged out the injured, and sadly the dead. He'd heard it coming over Sawley Road W12, heard the engine stop, and then ... bang. The recently discovered colour footage of London during the bombing brings it all the more vividly to life, particularly the image of a red bus navigating its way through the shattered heart of the City.

It shaped the London and the Bush we live in today. And we should never, ever forget it.

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