The Blitz, the aerial bombing campaign on London during the Second World War ran from 7th of September to 11th May 1941. During this period 50,000 bombs and millions of incendiary devices fell on the city bringing death and destruction to London’s civilian population. In total 30,000 Londoners were killed, entire communities destroyed and countless thousands left homeless.
To commemorate this turbulent period in the capital’s history the Mayor of London has specially commissioned an exhibition on the 70th anniversary of the London Blitz dedicated to those individuals involved in the emergency, volunteer, transport and specialist services who kept London going during the darkest days of the War. Previously displayed at City Hall, this exhibition will now transfer to the Royal Air Force Museum London where it will be on view to the public, free of charge, from 1st February until the end of May.
Central to this exhibition are the iconic war-time images and histories from the collections of various London organisations, each of which vividly portray the story of London’s people, their Blitz Spirit and determination. These rare and poignant images are provided courtesy of London Transport Museum, the Museum of London, the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection, the Fire Brigade Museum, London Ambulance Service, Barts and London NHS and the Royal Pioneer Corps Association. Each brings alive the story of a capital bowed but not broken and of a people quietly resolved to keep calm and carry on with their daily lives in the face of terrible war-time deprivation.
Ian Thirsk, Head of Collections at the Royal Air Force Museum, stated:
‘I would like to thank the Mayor’s Office and City Hall for granting the Royal Air Force Museum the opportunity of showcasing this exhibition during this 70th anniversary year of the London Blitz. We are particularly honoured to display this collaborative effort, from so many of the capital’s organisations, which narrates the story of how they were central to the on-going delivery of vital public services during late 1940 and early 1941.’
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson welcomed the exhibition being shown at the RAF Museum: ‘We must never forget the bravery and dogged determination of the men and women who battled to keep London going in the face of a terrifying and unremitting bombardment which sought to destroy our great city during the Blitz. This tremendous spirit and resilience remain at the very heart of the capital and we owe a huge debt of gratitude and respect to all those who helped secure London’s future.’
Entry to the ‘London Blitz 70th Anniversary Exhibition’ is free of charge to visitors; as is entry to the Museum. It will be shown daily from 10am to 6pm until Tuesday 31st May in the Museum’s Bomber Hall. For further details please visit www.rafmuseum.org/whatson or dial 020 8205 2266. If you would like to learn more about the Blitz, the Museum has produced a podcast on this topic which may be accessed at www.rafmuseum.org/podcasts.