So the messages continue, street by street, file by file, throughout the war. Terse: telling us only the bare minimum. There are other records in the archive giving detail of the types of bomb, etc. but these flimsy sheets show the command posts in action, reacting to immediate events. Every street had its incidents, some very serious, devastating complete rows of houses. Damage in neighbouring streets is often bunched on the same dates, indicating a major raid, while some incidents are individual - the stray shots from a larger action not quite within the borough boundary; eleven incidents in Lisson Grove; thirteen in Church Street. Whitfield House in Salisbury Street on 11th May 1941; Wharncliffe Gardens 11 May and 22 November 1941 and devastatingly on 21 August 1944. The files go on and on.

Heavy raids, especially on the night of 11/12 September 1940, had caused great destruction in the Church Street, Lisson Grove area. In October 1940 a number of individual houses in Rundell and Oakington roads were damaged. Raids on London continued nightly, but damage in the Oakington Road area was still minor. Then, on the night of 10 May 1941, there was massive destruction. Every house in Rundell Rd, many in Shirland Avenue, Thorngate Rd and one side of Oakington Rd; houses in Edbrooke and Goldney and a large stretch of Marylands Road, were damaged, many completely destroyed. Police ordered the evacuation of the area and people had to take refuge in local emergency centres.

Houses on one side of Oakington Road were repaired later, with whatever bricks could be found, so that the patches of different colours can still be recognised. Dangerous structures were demolished, while the rest were to stand derelict for years under a veil of purple willow herb.1

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Broadley Gardens, at the corner of Broadley Street and Salisbury Street.


Footnote

  1. Civilians at war, by George Beardmore, OUP, 1986, describes the bombing of Madame Tussaud's and Edgware Road on 3 September .l940, p.82 and, by coincidence, another of the Artizans` estates at Noel Park on 19 Feb. 1945, p.189. There, a V2 left eighteen dead and eighty houses in ruins.

 

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Updated January 23, 2011