Tuesday 10 April 2012

Soho "Unbombed"?

In this picture you can see what was left of St Anne's Church.

(out of shot to the left would be the York Minster Public House now known to all as "The French" General Charles de Gaulle who formed The Free French Forces is said to have written his speech rallying the French people, "À tous les Français" in the pub.

I have read Miranda Seymour's book review in the Culture Supplement of The Sunday Times Magazine 08.04.12 (The Seedy Heart Of London) of "NIGHTS OUT": Life in Cosmopolitan London by Judith R Walkowitz.
Ms Seymour asserts that Soho was "Unbombed throughout the War".

I can assure you Soho's residents did not go unscathed by Nazi Bombs during the Second World War and include pictorial proof of the almost destroyed St Anne's church in Dean Street Soho.

During the war it wasn't just explosive bombs that were dropped on London but also secondary, incendiary devices aimed to lower moral and drain manpower.

Maps are available at Westminster Archives that not only plot where these devices fell but also the scale of the impact. An Android App is now available at Bomb Sight a project sponsored by The University Of Portsmouth, The National Archives and JISC where you can you can look at the night time bombs that fell on London during the Blitz for the period 7th October 1940 to 14th October 1941.

These are not the only places in Soho to have been bombed but I hope serve to illustrate my point. More info is available here at The West End At War.

I do hope that Ms Seymour did not get her information from Ms Walkowitz's book!

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