Red and Black Telly roundup.




Red and Black Telly roundup.











Red and Black Telly roundup.







Red and Black Telly roundup.










Red and Black Telly roundup










Red and Black Telly roundup












Untold story of People’s War in London Blitz

Docklands and East London Advertiser

War Illustrated magazine showing families in Tube shelter at Piccadilly Circus

THE media dusted off the black and white photos and the TV showed old newsreels of Londoners clambering out of the dust and rubble of their devastated homes, smiling for the camera while Union Jack flags flutter in the wind. They recorded how the King and Queen were pleased that Buckingham Palace had been bombed because “(We) can look the East End in the face.” No bombs, in fact, landed on the Palace itself.

But the media did not show how London’s Working Class reacted—fighting not just to survive the German air raids, but the British Establishment as well.

The East End was in revolt. Parts had become a ‘no go’ area to the King, Queen and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The wartime Minister for Information, Harold Nicholson, recalled in his diary: “Everybody is worried about the feeling in the East End of London where there is much bitterness.”

Working Class communities had suffered badly during the Depression of the 1930s with high unemployment and slum housing. Now they suffered the heaviest devastation, with large parts of Stepney, Bethnal Green, Poplar, West Ham, Bermondsey, Deptford, Lambeth, St Pancras, The City and Westminster destroyed.

These communities knew more about the impact of ‘total war’ than any other, outside the Armed Forces. Many had already had sons who had been fighting fascism in the Spanish civil war a few years before. They knew from first hand the impact of aerial bombing by Hitler and Mussolini of Madrid, Barcelona and famously Guernica.

Unlike the Government, they recognised the need for deep-level underground shelters for the civilian population.

The Government failed to pay attention to the agitation, preferring to leave it to local authorities, employers or individuals to do the best they could. Those in the know began to strengthen the spaces under their stairwells, opened up disused cellars and dig up parts of their gardens if they were fortunate to have one. Corrugated iron was in great demand.

The authorities feared ‘deep shelter mentality,’ that Londoners may not return to the surface once down in the relative safety of deep underground shelters.

Those that spoke out at the beginning of the War for deep-level shelters or produced leaflets highlighting the dangers of the Anderson and trench shelters found themselves harassed, arrested and their publications often confiscated.

Sir John Anderson, after whom the back garden shelters were named, said in the Commons two years before the Blitz: “I do not think we are prepared to adapt our whole civilisation, so as to compel a large proportion of our people to live and maintain the productive capacity in a troglodyte existence deep under ground.”

Then just three months before the Blitz began, he said on June 12, 1940: “I am devoutly thankful that we did not adopt a general policy of providing deep and strongly protected shelters.”

How the Working Class paid for such stupidity! Things were soon to

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