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Striking new images show the devastation of the Blitz on Liverpool’s suburbs

1 year ago

By The Guide Liverpool

Striking new images show the devastation of the Blitz on Liverpool’s suburbs
By Dawn Collinson

Fifty new archive photographs showing the devastating effect of the Blitz in Liverpool’s suburbs and city centre have gone on display at the Museum of Liverpool.

The fascinating images show how homes and businesses were destroyed in WWII bombings and the efforts of local residents to pick up the pieces and carry on in the face of enormous damage.

A slideshow of previously unseen photos has been added to the audio visual section of the exhibition Blitzed: Liverpool Lives. They are accompanied by personal accounts, collected by the museum, from people who experienced it first-hand which really add to the poignancy of the black and white images.

St Sebastian”s Church, Lockerby Road

The original Blitzed: Liverpool Lives exhibition, divided into three key themes – city centre and shops; homes and neighbourhoods; and industry, docks and transport – opened in June 2019. It featured 60 striking photographs taken by Liverpool City Police from 1940 to 1941.

The Port of Liverpool and surrounding areas were key targets for German bombers and 4,000 civilians were killed on Merseyside, 10,000 homes destroyed and 70,000 people made homeless.

Liverpool suffered the second highest number of civilian deaths in air raids in the entire country but due to censorship, press reports often didn’t tell the whole story.

Blitzed: Liverpool Lives brings to life the impact of the attacks through the eyes, and personal recollections, of those directly affected by the bombings.

Electric power station, Lister Road, Fairfield – September 5th 1940

Now the extra photos give even more insight into exactly what the city went through.

Neighbourhoods which feature in the added images include Walton, Great Homer Street, Vauxhall Clubmoor, Fairfield, Norris Green, Toxteth, Speke and Mossley Hill.

Two, which were taken in September 1940, show the bomb damage to the building and interior of Aigburth Vale High School, and there are others of the Jolly Miller Pub in West Derby, Palace Ice Rink in Kensington and TJ Hughes store on London Road.

Laura Johnson at Museum of Liverpool says the new photos give a fresh perspective on what people endured in the city during the Second World War.

“It’s interesting how many of the photographs show the destruction of ‘normal’ houses on ‘normal’ streets,” she explains. “People might think that the impact was only felt in the city centre or docks but these photographs show how the lives of so many people in the city were affected.

Custom House pub and Arthur R. Jones contractor, South John Street, city centre – October 11th 1940

“The response to the exhibition has been really powerful. As well as those with personal memories we’ve heard from people who have listened to their loved-ones recall this terrible time and its clear the impact of such an experience ripples through generations.

1 Woodrock Road, Woolton – August 30th 1940

“We hope the exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to reflect on what the city went through as well as appreciate the resilience and courage of the people who rebuilt their lives, home and city in the aftermath.”

Blitzed: Liverpool Lives is a free exhibition, on at Museum of Liverpool at the Pier Head until summer 2022.

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