The Blitz: A Walking Tour of London WW2 Sights

The Blitz: A Walking Tour of London WW2 Sights

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Good morning everyone. Sinead with Free Tours by Foot London. I have just come out of Blackfriars Station. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm very close to Blackfriars Bridge and I am meeting one of my colleagues today. I am not taking the

reins today. I'm actually going to be filming and engaging and I wanted to do this tour for ages myself and I haven't actually done it. This is the World War two tour with Canice where he's going to go into detail about one of the worst nights of the bombing of the Blitz. This is our World War

two Tour in London and that begins right here just outside Fire Station and this is where you would meet Canice right outside Black Fire Station. I'm interested in what he has to say myself because I've never actually done this tour and there he is waiting for me over here. Let's get the show on the road folks. World War two with Canice and free tours by foot. On today's tour of World War two, we're going to take you to some of the most damaged sites during that fateful night on the twenty-9th of December nineteen forty. We start our tour outside Blackfriars Pub on Vic Victoria Street. We'll head around Blackfriars Lane to Playhouse Yard and then to Ireland Yard. From there we turn on Bergen Street then to

Carter Lane from there to Dean's Court straight across the road to the amazing Saint Paul's Cathedral. We'll head around the back of Saint Paul's Cathedral and Saint Paul's Church Churchyard and Gardens. From there straight through Paternoster Square. Down Rose Street then we'll cross the main road to Christchurch Grave Fire. The next part will take

us to Saint Mary Aldermanberry Garden and onto Aldermanberry where we complete the tour inside the courtyard of the Guild Hall. So ladies and gents, this is Canis, one of our other amazing free tours by Foot Guides. He is going to take me on a tour of World War two London. Over to you Canice. Hello everyone. So this is the city of London that we're in and on the 29th of December 1940 the love to off at the German Air Force flew in and they destroyed it. And this

tour is a walk through through the destruction of the city of London. And if you look over here you can see that they're doing quite a bit of construction work. Um and this is a missing street. A missing street, yeah. Yeah. So, what we have here is this street used to extend out to here. If you look over there, you have three buildings and these are quite old-looking buildings and these survived the events of the 29th of December 1940 and here is a lovely image of the Black Friars Pub. This image here shows it in its prime and of course, there it is today in its prime right now. By the

way, I do coming to this pub that's decorated in the Arc Nouveaux style. It is beautiful in there, yeah. John Betchman, poet laureate. John Betchman. He rescued this building in the nineteen sixties. It's going to be demolished. Yeah. Before it was being demolished. Yeah it was going to be demolished.

Much like Saint Pancre Station was going to be. Wow. Um and he saved it. So there's a shrine in there to John Betchman poet laureate. Anyway the point of the tour is that we are at one

end of the bombing raid and we're going to walk through to the other end which is the Guild Hall and everything in between that you see that is a modern building was destroyed on the 29th of December. So much was destroyed so little was left. That's why it's so obvious to tell what survived and what didn't survive. There we go. Guys, we go around the corner. We're going to go into Queen Victoria Street and as you look down the street, on the right-hand side, everything is glass and concrete. So, Blackfriars railway station, all the way down the street. Come for a walk. I'm

following you. So this is Queen Victoria Street right here. Everything on the right hand side is gone. Absolutely everything. Okay. Um and then on the left hand side here you see this very nice shiny brand new building. This is also a bomb site. So anything that's modern is a bomb site. Okay. But do you see the big chunky white building that is known as the Faraday building and that was the very first telephone exchange. Telephone numbers were one. Two, three. Quick

fact, Selfridge Department Store was number one. Ah, on their telephone. Yep. Excellent. Blackflowers Lane, folks, around the back of the Blackflowers Pub. The reason I start the tour here is because when we get to the top of the hill all the buildings are old. So this is the last bit of the city of London that survived. Fantastic. And when we talk

about the city of London today, there's a population of 9000 people living here. On the night, it was 15, 000 people. Oh my god, almost double. It was almost double but the area was pretty much just a business district but it was full of offices and warehouses but Victorian offices and warehouses. Fabulous. Like these. Hi, Okay, so we're focusing solely pretty much on the 29th of December. Totally, one night. That was technically the

worst night of the Blitz. 100000 bombs. 100, 000 bombs in one night. Yeah. Um I'm not exact on the figure but it's somewhere between 163 and 1165 airplanes flew in. Oh my god

almighty. That's insane. Just a quick look at this beautiful courtyard here folks. Look at these beautiful buildings. It's a City Heritage Award there in nineteen eighty-five. Okay. Playhouse Yard. So the point of this is it's extremely

destructive because they've been practicing for many months. So the Blitz period starts from the seventh of September 1940 and keeps going until the 11th of May 19 forty-one. So that's an eight month period and twenty-ninth of December it's slapping in the middle of it. Um Coventry has been destroyed. Uh London went through the initial first 57 days of the Blitz was targeting London. Um and they

by the time to the 29th of December they know what they're doing. Absolutely. So even though the first day of the Blitz had a thousand airplanes coming to London 350 bombers and fighter escorts still what they did on the 29th of December in terms of scale destroyed the city of London and an American reporter coined the phrase the second great fire of London. Oh yeah. The first one being 1666 and it's a bigger fire. So one of the things again I like to iterate on the tour is when you look at this modern building, this modern building is the bomb site. So building was destroyed by the ehm but then if you look at this 1930s warehouse you can see that this building since has been destroyed by hipsters.

By hipsters. So right here Sinead you are in the last bit of London that's still complete. So as a 360 both ends of the street are original and all the buildings in it are original. All these buildings here. So everything you see here survived. Alright let's have a look. Um and it

illustrates a point So if you look at this image this is taken on the 29th of December. So the biggest issue you're going to have is everything's on fire. That's a street that's on fire and there's only two firefighters. Wow. So the scale is overwhelming the fire service. Okay. Um but the big issue they're having is that this is a Victorian building. Now we're not in Shoe Lane and the reason I wouldn't bother going to Shoe Lane. It's glass and concrete and granite. There's nothing

actually to see. But on the twenty-9th of December there were two firefighters the battling with Blaze. Shoe Lane is just off Fleet Street and Fleet Street is the center of the newspaper industry. So, there are warehouses full of

paper and books and these two guys, a guy called Leonard Rossiman and William Samson are holding off the hose. Now, this is not them. Okay. Specifically. Okay. But I like to use this as an illustration because you need two people to hold on to the hose because the water pressure coming out is too much for one person. Okay. So, in Shoe Lane, they're there for three hours and eventually fire officer turns up with another guy. The other guy takes over Rossiman holds on to

the back of William Sanson and Rossman and the fire officer go up the street to get in another hose. Um when they get to the top, they look back and they see this. Now, this picture is a painting by Leonard Rossman and it's in this is his this is Leonard Rossman. Here, let me show you. That's in there. Oh, wow. And he was an artist and very prolific artist during The Blitz. Oh and he's an artist his entire life but this image

is part of the eh Imperial War Museum collection. Okay. And it's called the wall. And it depicts exactly this moment. What happened? The wall collapses is William Sampson cleared the wall by jumping forward. But the guy who was just took over from Rossman was killed instantly. So the point I'm making that during the blitz your life was determined on how lucky you are or how unlucky you are. Okay. Yeah.

Pure luck. But the reason why the building collapsed this is a Victorian brick. They're made by their billions by hand and there's no thought to fire safety. So you cannot build a

building out of these today because they're full of air holes. They are basically Swiss cheese. What this means today the fire service dealing with the fire in one of these buildings. The gas inside the air bubble will expand as the building gets up to a a thousand degrees Celsius. 000 degrees Celsius. So, when a building is burning now, the fire service can hear the exploding bricks and though the building is about to come down but on the night, they wouldn't have heard that because of the high explosive bombs going off all around them. Oh my god. That's why it was a surprise

and caught them out. On the night, 16 firefighters lose their lives. Wow. Five from collapsing buildings. Five from collapsive buildings. Little added note, William Samson

survived the war, so did Rossman and both of them were art and this is the reality of war. Um you hand a gun to somebody and if he shoots straight, you send him into the army. If you hand a gun to somebody else, he turns it and looks down the barrel. He's clearly an artist and you send him off to the fire service. So the fire service was full of creative people. Creative people. Who were incapable of fighting. That's so scary. No. Was it a shortage of people?

Well there were shortage of everything. Yeah there's a shortage of fire officers and fire service on the night but what what can you do? You just struggle off? Yeah to fight yeah. Yeah to try to do what you could yeah. I want to show you what this area look like. So as you see everything's modern. Everything's modern yeah. They're all sort of reprosed to make it look a little bit yieldy. Yeah. But this is this is how the city of London looked afterwards. Okay

so this is your before. Wow. That's insane. So you're looking at Saint Nicholas Cole's Abbey. Nicholas Cole's Abbey. Yeah. And it's fully restored. And the whole point

of what's going on here on the 29th of December is they want to destroy all the buildings that have significance to Londoners. Warehousing has no significance to Londoners. It doesn't have any significance to anybody. I'm sorry Jeff but if your warehouse is burned to the ground nobody's going to care and neither are you because you have insurance and that's what was going to happen here all of these are warehouses that are missing and they've all got compensation from the government okay but that's why they're all being demolished and that rubble ends up in the east end of London around places like Stratford and anywhere in the Riverleigh but this Saint Nicholas Goals Abbey is kept and it'll be restored at a later date. Okay. And it's fully restored now. It is yeah. Um so what is happening here is a

psychological attack on the nation. And what the loop flap are going to do is drop a load of these this is the incantry bomb it's no wiggered it's not much bigger than the iPad itself but it's filled with phosphorus phosphorus ignites in oxygen so it has to be kept in oil or in a sealed container away from oxygen so this is kept in a little bubble and then the tip has a pin in it sends air in and then it immediately combust like a flare but this is magnesium and magnesium will and burn at 1600 degrees centigrade approximately. Ehm you can get ten eh sorry not ten. You can get a thousand of these into one Heinko one eleven. Oh my God. So ten Heinko one eleven bower planes are taxing on an airfield in Northern France at about 430 in the evening. It

has just gone dark on the 29th of December. They take to the skies and they have the best pilots and the best navigators flying the airplanes. The purpose of this is that they're going to fly into London and be the path finder and they're going to set a big fire in London and then once they've set the fire for the rest of the night that we wave after wave after wave of bombers who are going to add to that fire but to make sure they don't miss the target they're using one of the earliest electronic navigation systems and it uses 2 transmitters sticking up 60 miles apart on the coast of France they send a beam which crosses over wherever you want it to cross over but on this occasion the town of Mitcham and Mitcham is exactly south of London. It's on the outskirts

of London. One side is farmland and connovation on the other side of Mitcham today. Back then it was in the middle of nowhere. But what they're doing is listening to a tone which is going beep beep beep beep and as they're flying towards the triangulation tip it's speeding up going beep beep beep beep beep when the two beams cross over and they hit that point you get a solid tone now they know they're at Mitcham so all they have to do is turn airplanes north, set their airspeed, set the stopwatches and fly in. They even have to

look out the window. It's all done mathematically and then they drop 10000 in centuries. The whole place lights up. But they're here to destroy one building. Wow. Sinead. Yes. What do you think is the name of that building? I couldn't possibly hazard a guess but perhaps it may be the one around the corner The incredible Saint Paul's Cathedral. Correct. A symbol of hope for London. Absolutely, absolutely. But the big question you're all going to be asking yourself. Did it survive? Interesting. Let's

find out. Don't give it away. I'm not saying no more. Come on. On we go. Okay, Callis. Sixteen 66. The Great Fire of London. So this is what the building used to look like and you can see quite clearly very different. The whole thing firestorm. Spiral. But by the way we're we're cheating a little bit. The spiral was definitely not

on top of the church by the time the great this is it in its prime. In its prime. And it definitely wasn't in its prime in 1666. So there was quite a few people that were not sorry to see the back of it. But as a result it burned to the ground and it burnt because of a firestorm. Okay. So Chris Ren given the job of rebuilding at the cathedral. Uh but I want to talk about this jappier. So this is Lieutenant Robert

Davis. Lieutenant Robert Davis works for a bomb disposal and this is George Cameron Wiley. On the 12th of September 1940, they get a telephone call asking them to turn up at Saint Paul's Cathedral because there has been a little accident. Uh they parked their truck right there. And walked up to the

front doors. The doors were opened. The dean standing there said, oh hello chaps, that's terribly sorry to bother you today but we do have a hole in the roof and this rather large object here and what he was looking at was an enormous unexploded bomb. Wow. The twelfth of September is just a few days after the seventh of September, the beginning of the Blitz. So, these guys deactivated the bomb, took it out of the building, down onto their truck, drove out into the countryside, found a farmer's fee and detonated the bomb. It left a 1 00 foot crater in that field. 140 foot crater. 100

feet. 00 feet crater. These guys were awarded George Cross's the highest civilian honor for bravery as a result of their actions on that day. The farmer was furious. We shouldn't laugh. This is a a picture of another bomb. This one was only a little baby bomb that came through the roof. Detonated over the high altar reducing it to rubble. And then

this is the big daddy. A 550pound bomb. So powerful. It punctured the hole in the crypt. It actually exploded mid-air. The upward trajectory of that shock wave lifted the

dome moved its several centimetres out of its original alignment. The entire dome. Bang. Up and down. Yeah. Literally lifted. Lifted the entire dome and it it went like that. That's insane. Now the reason I bring this up is that that was the best that the had. So they couldn't using an

airplane and a bomb take down this building. It was too big. So the technology just didn't exist. Okay. So the plan is for the 29th of December. Repeat the great fire of London. And get the fire to destroy the building. Ah again it. I get it. I get it. So. Am I right in saying that the fire as well

from the first round of bombing gave them more visual sites of their targets? Absolutely. So. In the like first round of the yeah. Yeah. Okay. So what's happening is I'm sorry that wasn't very eloquently put but I'll leave that to you. They were using electronic navigation just to guide themselves in. Okay. In complete darkness. And then

just drop in ten thousand. So that's everything from Fleet Street which is all down there. So all the journalists and the reporters and everybody are down the street in Fleet Street. From there all the way up here to the other side of

the cathedral is all on fire instantly at six o'clock when they arrive. Okay. Okay. And the fires break out all over the place. So the place is already burning at 1000 degrees within minutes. Um because these in centuries are so hot. Anything. And everything down there is paper. Everything down there on Fleet Street folks. Right down there is paper.

Yeah. Um Saint Paul's is the origin of the Bible. The very first mass produced publication in country. So all publications were over here. Okay. In Paternoster Road. Paternoster Road. Collins who are now known as Harper Collins. Are we going to see around there or? Yeah we'll have a little one.

Yeah we'll have a wonder. Um but the point is this is all paper. So this whole place is this whole area is going to now burn. Let me show you what the issue is. This is the city of

London before the air rates. These are all the buildings that existed before the 29th of December. Okay. Now Hitler wants that building gone. This has the most significance to anyone in the country than any of the other building they can demolish. Okay. Not even the demolishing of the parliament buildings which they did in May 1941 is going to have the same impact because let's face it it's politicians. This has more

impact. So this building being destroyed by the morning people are going to start surrendering. That's the plan. However this is what he got. Now do you see the subtle

difference? Oh. The entire city of London is gone. But the cathedral is still standing. So now you have two trains of thought going on in London. Half the population is going he

bloody missed. And the other half are going the hand of God came down and protected the but now I want to be clear there were no witnesses to any large hands coming out of the sky so it's clearly. No Jesus sightings on the night. Yeah. So this is what happened. This is the dean of Saint Paul's Cathedral. Walter Matthews. And Walter Matthews had hired 200 City of London architects. And he had trained them to be

firefighters. So as a result his firefighters were structural engineers and they spent every night of the Blitz up on the roof camping with buckets of sand so that when the Nincentury fell on the lead roof they would pick it up instantly and shove it into sand where they would remove the oxygen out of the equation. Aw. If you pour water on an incendury bomb made of phosphorus, the oxygen dissolved in the water will ignite and make it explode. So you do not use water, use sand. So as a result, that's what they were doing every night at the Blitz, running up and down picking up an incenturies, but on the 29th of December, they discovered they had a problem. Too many incenturies. So they

played football with them instead. That is unbelievable. So rather than try to bother picking them up, as they slide down into the gullies, kick them as hard as you can and they'll flick off down here onto the ground. Oh my god. You do no damage down here and that's a lead roof and underneath is wood and the minute you melt through the lead, you get to the wood, it's game over. That's amazing. So the Loughroff are coming in to destroy the city. Right. Icon.

Okay. Um Churchill is on top of Downing Street watching from afar and then he issues to the fire service. The order saved Saint Paul's at all costs. Okay. What that meant is that there were people in the fire off in in Fire Services back offices on the telephone to the warehouses around the area. Okay. Now hello Lav. We got anybody on to night in the

security field any anybody any night watch or anybody like that and if they said no they went thank you very much hung up if they said yes they said why just to let you know when you're building burns to the ground we won't be coming to help you out just tell them to go home for the night thank you very much the fire service was warning everybody that these buildings were going to be let to burn okay why because the fire service surrounded the building this image taken on the night by the fire service. Wow. So what you have is those are firetrucks around Saint Paul's. The light in that image is the buildings burning. Now here's the point. In the Great Fire of London of 1666 there were no in centuries and there were no aeroplanes. It only required the buildings next door to be whipped up into a firestorm and take the building out. So to make sure that that firestorm happened the need to stop the fire servers from putting out a fire. Okay. So

they turn the water off. Yep. Shall we find out how they did that? Absolutely. Come this way then. Here we go. A depiction of what happened here on the 29th of December. Um so the deal is this. The are spending an enormous amount of money setting fire to the city of London and they're going to drop over 100000 bombs in here. Um they need to make sure that

the fire service don't put don't successfully put out the fire. So to do that you need to turn off the water. So the way they do this. So at 730 that second wave is coming in. Now this is thirty bombers as opposed to the initial ten that came in just to set the place alight. Okay. Any old monkey can fly an airplane when you're flying towards the big orange spot on the horizon. So they're not using electronic

navigation. They're literally just going for the big spot on the horizon. They drop their bombs in but they're using high explosive bombs with a delayed detonation on top of the incenturies that they're adding. Oh my god. The high explosive bombs fall out of the airplane. It's going to take about 35 seconds for them to hit the ground because of three miles in the sky when they hit the ground they do not detonate they have a delay detonation so when they hit the ground they bury themselves in the ground then a timer kicks in and then they explode now if they fail to explode these were the most dangerous because these are the ones that people had to climb down into the hole and diffuse but when they do go off the shock wave now goes through the ground and anywhere there's a water main the water main fractures and the water leaks out this is the highest point in the city of London so this is where it's going to need the highest war pressure and of course it's the first place to lose water pressure. So by nine o'clock on the 2-9th of December the waters in the mains leak out and that's it. They have no more water. Oh my

God. So where the nearest supply of water? Right here. Mm hmm. Under the Millennium Bridge. That is the Millennium Bridge. The River tents. And of course we're all ideal. Lovely Millennium Bridge also known as the wobbly bridge. Ehm destroyed in by Harry Potter. Okay that's not true. So the

river Thames is obviously so yeah so you're going to pump water up from the Thames. So the standard practice is eh you get a fire boat and a fire boat is just a big floating pump and you drive them up and then you row out to the boat with some hoses connect them in and it's a massive pump and it just starts pumping the water. The chose the 29th of December 1940 because their air raid would coincide with low tide. So every angle. To remove water out of the equation has been taught out in advance. That is serious planning. Correct. To

plan the the low tide as well and the weather. Yeah. So. That's incredible. What does that mean? A fire boat comes up. It's sitting so low in the water. Turns on the hose. This is a high powered pump so it's going to pump a huge amount of water up through its hall. Of course it sucks up the bed of the river because it's sitting so low down. Um and the mud go through. The mud and salt to block the hoses. Correct. So

all of the boats were taken out of action. Are you telling me that this was strategically planned by them? Yep. They knew this would happen. Oh my god that is. So the next problem is is the service interconnects their hoses and they're going to use the pumps in the trucks to get the water out of the Thames. Fine. The only problem is they have to walk

through mud all the way down to where the water level is at this point. So that's difficult in itself and then the next thing they just throw the hoses in which is a natural thing to do. Turn on the pumps but of course the hose just floats or sorry sinks down onto the bed of the river and the same thing happens. So they might just go straight up the hose and into the pumps. So the firetrucks start getting taken out. So they clean out the firetrucks and the only way they can get the water out of the Thames is to have crews in the Thames holding the hoses under the water and away from the bear this in mind. It's 29th of December. So the is just above freezing. The water coming out the other end of the hose as

depicted here. They're holding onto a brass coupling and they're not wearing gloves. So the firefighters complain all night about the cold. This is an image of Frank Herd. Now Frank Hard is an auxiliary firefighter. Guess what? Bit of

an artist he writes a diary. And the diary is held by the Imperial War Museum. Now in his diary he describes a Before The Blitz happened. They're all complaining that they're sitting in the fire stations and nothing exciting is happening. All the friends are doing all sorts of exciting

things and he's bored. When it gets to the day first day of the Blitz the seventh of September 1940. Uh they get from Islington North London down to the docks. Takes an

hour to get there. He describes Shrapnell raining out of the sky for the first time. When you have an aid, the only defense the city has at night especially is anti-aircraft guns. For example, the RAF didn't have a nightfighter

until 1942. And that's an aeroplane with radar. So at night they can't see in the dark. So the RAF are out of the equation. So you're sending a shell up to the sky to take out

an aeroplane. It explodes in the hope that it goes off in front of an airplane. Rarely does. But all the shrapnel comes down on top of the firefighters. Hence the reason they've got steel helmets and they're dressed head to toe in leather. Eh Free Heard is one of the firefighters on the night describing this in his diary and he also describes by the end of that night the damage was so astronomical. Ehm he talks about this sense of guilt forever having wished for something more exciting to happen. Yeah. And really

poignant bit in his diary. He's one of the firefighters here on the twenty-9th of December 19 forty. He's over in Smithfield Market. These are the names of the firefighters who lost their lives in World War two and sadly Oh you're joking that night. That's right. So on the twenty-9th of December 19 40

Frank Heard is one of the firefighters who loses this night. He was 24 years old. 24 years old. So. Oh my god. Nine o'clock. They're running out of water. They're getting the water out of the Thames. That is the six o'clock air raid.

The 730 air raid. The nine o'clock air raid. Left are two more air raids. Two more to come. 1030 and one o'clock. But What they discover is that the are patting themselves on the back on having done such a wonderful job that they decided to cancel the one o'clock air raid outright. They decided they don't need it and they prefer to have the airplanes in Berlin. The weather in Berlin is getting a bit dodgy so they just fly from France back to Berlin to get ahead of the dodgy weather in Berlin. Uh when the next day everybody

woke up to discover that Saint Paul's was still standing Hitler hit the roof when he found out that that one o'clock air raid had not flown. But we're now just with 1030 air raid. And these guys are going to come in and they're supposed to finish the job. Finish the job yeah. One of the problems and the things that's missing is the firestorm. So a firestorm first of all can start by just simply hot air rising up and oxygen rich cold air coming in. This is happening and the fire service are are talking about a wind picking up but then the wind actually a southwesterly started to blow and this is the beginning of the end because if that takes hold, we have a firestorm in our hands and it's over. Yeah. So the 1030 air raid is on its way. It flies in

from the south. These are the least experienced pilots of the night. The most experienced flu in first and it progressively gets less experienced by the end. These are young men in their early twenties. Oh. And as is the case in most situations where you have young men in their early 20s they prematurely ejected their bombs. And these bombs fell on

the south side of the river. Some pond. London what? That's some pond. I don't know which one. Clear. Go ahead. Go ahead. That's okay. They missed. They missed their yeah they missed their target. Yeah. Thank God. Too soon. Yeah. Thank God. I don't know what you mean. Anyway. Anyway. Um you know I'm Irish and quite innocent. Yes of course you are. Yes of

course you are. Anyway London Bridge Railway Station gets destroyed. Uh wow. Totally on fire. Everything on the south side, HMS Belfast, everything on the south side of the river there is destroyed. Now, on the night, this is the biggest destructive fire in the blitz and yet the death toll was tiny at a hundred and sixty-five. Now, you might say, that's not

tiny. The first day of the blitz was 650 people on 30 children. Yeah. So, 165 is quite low but here's the thing, it wasn't in the city of London. It was that 1030 air raid that missed its target and ended up bombing south of the river. Okay. But no firestorm because they didn't get anymore

fuel in here and the firestorm never took hold which meant that fire service was now able to take control of what's happening around side the cathedral forget about the rest of the city it's burning out of control but they're actually keeping things under control here. By twelve midnight radar is picking up nothing in the sky and the air raid sirens are turned off. But the fire crews have to deal with the fires. This is night itself right here. So they're desperately trying to keep these buildings under control. The next day is

this. This is Monday the 30th of December. Wow. 1940. Uh Tuesday the 31st of December. They're still dealing with fires and the last fires put out on the first of January which is the Wednesday. The damage economically done to the

city is huge. It's the end of empire. It's the end of a lot because this is the engine of the economy and it's now gone. But it doesn't matter. Because nobody cares about money in a time of war. What they care about is symbols and their own life. And as a result that building was standing and

people woke up the next day. And rebuild the city. Confident. Pretty confident. Pretty confident about their situation. So technically a symbol of hope. Absolutely. In the middle of the destruction. God was on their side. Luck was

on their side. Everything was on their side. But of course what we know is that it was all down to the fire service who protected this building. Yeah. And in fact weirdly if you look at the front of the building you'll see the phoenix and the ashes. The phoenix rising. Yeah. And that of course is Christopher Ren's description of the O old rising of the ashes but then it survived. And the phoenix always survives fire. Rising from the ashes. Wow. That looks so symbolic. Incredible. It's amazing how it really did kind of boost

people. The pilots are flying in realizing that they can see the silhouette of Saint Paul's clearly because there's now no buildings around it and it's on a top of a hill. So the sort of consciously avoid bombing the area simply because it's more useful as a way point and more useful for them to see where the city centre is and then always know where they are. Well the most entertaining part is how annoyed Adolf Hitler was. This is Abbey Maria Lane. And you might be thinking to yourself hang on a minute. This is just the path going through the middle of the garden in Saint Paul's. No. This is a

laneway. And there are buildings missing and here they are. Before the 29th of December, I would have gone knock knock and I would now be in a bookshop. Oh, okay. So, this line is the front doors of the bookshop. Okay. I have a

picture. Yeah, I I thought I read somewhere that was there over four million books or something? $5 million. $5 million. Went up in flames this night. So, remember I showed you this overhead picture of everything before. So, this is before and we are there. Okay. And that's Abe Marie Lane. This steeple here is that steeple there. Yeah. Okay. And the

building that you're looking at now is Saint Paul's School. That's the new one yeah. That's the new one. So what is it? Oh no it's Easter now so they're all gone home. Um usually we

would hear the choirs singing. Oh they're beautiful. They are angelic voices screaming in the stuff it. Anyway so what we have here is Abe Maria Lane and this is what we're standing on. Now the problem is that all of this is gone. And as a

consequence all the bits of these buildings went into the cathedral. Oh. So this is the most damaged part of the cathedral. So what you need to be looking out for is the extensive reconstruction work. So all these odd pieces of stone that look like a Mondrian are new pieces gone in to repair the damage done. Okay. But also look at the shrapnel marks that they've left for posterity. Oh I see yeah. So you can see a couple here. There's two nice big lumps missing here. We'll

see yeah you'll see them along here folks. Let me just point them out to you. Oh yeah that's pretty intense. Probably one of the more intense though is the ehm Church of Saint Clementine's. Yes. As you're coming out you can refer to our City of London

tour for that folks as to intentionally left ehm Saint Clementine's like that. Whereas they've done extensive restoration work here. It was kind of to remind themselves they rolls from the ashes as well wasn't it? Okay. But you know the interesting thing Sinead? Yes. Is that during COVID they're still repairing this. So I can't remember exactly which panel it is but I think it's the one around here but you see the fruit and vegetables? Yes. So I think

it's this one here. The vegetables. No, it's not. Uh oh, there it is. You see this one here is really really shiny. Oh the yes of course. Where the where the panel of vegetables. I always look I was pointing out to people before COVID the damage done to the fruit and vegetables. Okay. Now they're all fixed. They're all fixed. So they were doing that

over COVID. Well exactly. So this is an ongoing. It's a work in progress. Exactly. Still. And I suppose one of the aspects of this is that you have people who have skills and you don't want those skills to disappear. So you just keep

them plugging along. Over 80 years. It's so pretty around here in Saint Paul's Gardens folks. And from Fleet Street there's lots of things that journalists are doing. For

example one of the incenturies breaches the dome from the south. Uh London Bridge before it burned to the ground. So this is early in the night rang up Saint Paul saying Amy you know you're on fire and they had to climb through the inside of the dome to try and reach that incentury. Okay. Now while that was happening there was a New York based journalist on Fleet Street sending a Telex with the headline Saint Paul's destroyed back to New York and they printed it. Stop it. Yeah. Prematurely. He had he had jumped the gun a little bit. Ah. And as a result he eh yeah they it was a bit awkward I can imagine. Well I mean that shows a lack of professionalism

because he should have had two news reels ready to go. He should have had one that survived and won it yes. Well you know these things happen. Ehm but here's most important

photograph that was taken on the night was by Herbert Mason and most people have seen this anytime any history comes up about The Blitz. We end up with this amazing image. Iconic. It's amazing yeah. Herbert Mason works for the Daily Mail and the Daily Mail newspaper is on Fleet Street but he's on the building opposite and what this means is he gets clear view of Saint Paul's but his job on the night is firewatch. So he's

telling the fire service what's on fire it's not. However, the wind is always or sorry the smoke is always obscuring his view so by the time we get to this point in the night the fires are out of control. There's nothing for him to do but the wind clears the view. So he starts taking

photographs. Now remember he's using film reel. Yeah. He doesn't know what he's getting until he develops this reel. Um but the flash that went off behind the cathedral backlights the cathedral beautifully but he won't know until develops it that he's got it. Oh my God. Um as naturally enough this is so awesome. It ends up as front page news in the Daily Mail.

Now for those of you familiar with the Daily Mail you'll be delighted now it hasn't changed in one bit. Um war's greatest picture is the headline. Um the date 3-1st of December so that was Tuesday. Fires are still burning in London. And that is

on the front page of the Daily Mail. But it gets weirder because that is German media using the same photograph. Although they've done a bit of Photoshop because they're naughty. And they're saying at the bottom here, the city of London burning and showing you the burning buildings in the foreground. When you look at the Daily Mail, you can barely see the burning buildings but they want to emphasize burning.

Propaganda though, you know. Absolutely. Yeah. But what's even more weird or something you don't realize in modern day. The date is the 23rd of January. It takes weeks for them to get that image out of the UK and back to Germany so they can use it for themselves. Uh huh. Now, the question I ask myself is why didn't they just Email it? Ridiculous. I know. And this is Greyfar's passage. Over to you Kenneth. Sinead this is eh built in the 19eighties. Um it's a dentist.

That's a dentist. Yep. And has been the whole time as well. Very but you see down there where it says Bank of America. Yes. From a Bank of America right up to the church that was the original church that stood here in sixteen sixty-six. In

fact Christ Church Greyfries was the largest church in London. Second only to the cathedral. Oh wow. And it was a massive monkey. No I didn't know that. Franciscan monks. Hence fires. Grey Fires yeah. So from there all the way down to the other end of the building was the size of the church but after the grey fire of London population's already starting to shrink so they made the church smaller. Ah very

cool. The Ren Church was destroyed by fire bombs in December 1940. Anybody want to guess what date? 1666 perhaps? No. 1940. Sorry. Correct. September. December 29th 1940. Will you? Please. That's Sunday. Sorry. See? Do write in the comments if Sinead's keeper. Wow I love it here. This beautiful little quaint garden.

Oh and the pineapple is making an appearance again folks. But I just want to give you a good image of this. This quaint little open garden space right in the centre. It's the city of London. If you can hear this construction work going on everywhere. This guy up here can be heard louder than me.

He's Nick a great tour guide. Let's have a look here. At the runs. Look how beautiful this is. Okay. Stunning. Look at that. That's what it used to look like before the Great Fire of London of sixteen sixty-six. Oh my God that's amazing. Yeah.

That's so big extending all the way back to the Bank of America there. Yeah. Oh wow. It's huge. This is the wall that's missing. Oh okay. So as you can see we've got three walls and one missing and the reason. What do you think the reason for that wall being missing? I guess it was bombed out on the twenty-ninth. I demolished it to make way for a roundabout. For around about. Wow. And then that was in the 60s and then in the 80s they decided they never needed the roundabout in the first place so they just reinstated the garden. It's

terrible. Ehm but I do have a picture taken on the 30th of December. So this is the day after. After. So the fire had destroyed this ehm building. And this is two firefighters who came over just to wet down the building to make sure that all the embers were taken out and they would have been standing just here. Just there. So, So the building burned to the ground. Two eh it's some say it's about two in centuries came in and sapphire to the place. The fire service didn't

bother coming here. They were too busy dealing with Saint Paul's so they let it burn. Ehm but eh a postman broke in. Now that building there that used to be where the telegraph cables came in to London. Eh the Marconi company did the very first wireless telecommunication from that building. That was destroyed 29th of December and this

building today is owned by British Telecom although they did have it up for sale so I'm not quite sure if it's still owned by British Telecom. But British Telecom would have been direct descendant of that organisation. Post office, post office, post office. So this was the postal district. So postmen broke in and rescued the baptismal font cover. And this is what it looks like. Sectionally in Sepulchre Church the next church down. Um but a postman broke in eh There is a

a little notice under this in Sepulkirk Church saying it was rescued by an unknown postman. I I mean I can only imagine why he would have been unknown. I mean did he did he turn up with this baptismal font car which is a huge chunk of oak about that big. Oh my god. And then go I saved this and then like Batman disappeared into the night. I mean or was it more that he was walking down the street with this and somebody went alright mate. What are you doing with that? Oh yeah no I

reckon you did not. Who are you? Oh well I'm a postman. No you have it. There you go. I don't know. We can only speculate. But what I can tell you the dentist built in the 1980s is in that quarter. But the tower is a private residence. That's right. You said this to me. This is

actually a private thing. I think it's about 2006 that they got the lease. 12 floors. Um do they actually own the building or is it a rental? No that would be a lease yeah. It's a lease. So they would own the lease. Which could be 100 years like the one said Bell Graveyard. Yeah. A long long term lease but they it's owned by the Corporation of London.

They own the free home. So this is not their garden. This is their home. This is not their garden. This is a public garden. Corporation of London. This is public a public garden.

Um they own the rights to live in the tower. Um and you can see the kitchen is just above the pineapple. So now it is the beautiful little quaint gardens here. Uh the Gardens of Aldern.

Alderman Berry. What is it? Alderman Mary. Alderman Mary. Yes. Whatever you want to say. Bit of a mouthful. Alderman Mary. Alderman Bury. Alderman Berry. I'm so sorry. Right.

Anyway. But it is Saint Mary's. It's Saint Mary's. I got that. It's Saint Mary's. Okay love it. Um Christopher Red. As you know eh built fifty parish churches after the Great Fire of London. Eight of his churches get destroyed on the

night of the twenty-ninth of December and this is one of them. Wow. Ehm now you might this is eh look around you it's a beautiful garden. Look at the magnolia. Magnolia beautiful. Smells beautiful. This is the thing yeah. There's a beautiful smell. Ehm and this church barred to the ground. Once the city of London has lost so many churches. Remember there's nobody living here. The population after this event is

5000 people living in the city of London. There's no need for these churches. 50 churches for 5000 people there's no need for it. So a lot of the modern aren't restored. However

this is what it looked like beforehand. Ta-da. Oh wow. It's beautiful. And birds to the ground. However in the 1960s afterwards this is what it looks like. I would like to point out that in this image you can see all the very nice buildings. Um all of them are gone. None of these buildings exist anyway. Yeah. I would also like to point out excellent parking. Excellent parking. So lovely. What

happened indeed. Come on. Let's go for a walk this way. We're going for a little walk. Um Well, what happened is you may have heard of the story of London Bridge being sold to a gentleman in Lake Havasu in Arizona. Robert McCulloch. And that gentleman they got the built the bridge dismantled it shipped it down to cornwall big saws cut the facade off the stone that was packed into boxes into tiles he built a massive replica out of concrete and then they glued the exterior onto that bridge so this was quite common for Americans to come over and buy stuff so ever This is the Corporation of London and after World War two ends in 1945, Winston Churchill is kicked out of power. Socialists win a landslide victory mainly because Britain wants housing jobs and healthcare and Winston Churchill is now free. So, he is invited to America,

Westminster University, Fulton, Missouri in the United States of America. Oh yeah. By President Harry Truman and he is awarded an honorary degree in what is Westminster University which is today a Liberal Arts College. Uh while he was there he delivered a speech and here is a picture of him delivering this speech. This speech there's a Harry

Truman. Uh by the way if you're wondering why they were in Missouri of all places is because Harry Truman used to be the senator for Missouri. Okay. Um so he's delivering a speech in 1946 and he comes up with the phrase the iron curtain. Ah. Now when Winston Churchill passes away in 1965 and 1966 the University turn up and the Corporation of London's offices these buildings here and they go up and go hey hey then eh we're going to build a museum to Winston Churchill and eh I hear you sold London Bridge. Have you got anything for sale? And somebody up there looked out the window and saw that church over there and said well I suppose you can have that.

And they sold it to them. And they shipped it over. So they bought Saint Mary's. Yep. All the ruins. And they shipped that. As a replica. Oh no it's not a replica. That's actually

Saint Mary's. In Missouri. Correct. Wow. So that is the campus of Westminster University Missouri. Fulton, Missouri. Um they said they were going to build a museum to Winston Churchill. This is a church but in the basement is a

museum to Winston Churchill with a lovely statue outside the front but of course they are Americans so they were not finished. They went over to a Berlin in 19 eighty-9. That's it. And got themselves a piece of the Berlin Wall. So what they have done is they have created a memorial to the Cold War. Winston Churchill's iron curtain speech and the iron curtain itself bringing up the rear. That's incredible. Yeah. So that would actually warrant a visit to Missouri. That's

absolutely remarkable. And it's just testament as you were saying to Churchill's ability. Yes. As you say. His gift to the world was very much his ability to write. And as he said himself he wrote all his memoirs lived as he lived them knowing that he was destined for greatness being a member of the Marlborough family. Um he famously said I history will

look kindly upon me as I intend to write it. Oh, But he he he that was what opened the door for him in in politics. And this is the administrative centre for the sit seat of the city of London. Okay Kennes over to you. So hello. Oh we got another picture. Wow. We got another picture. So what we've done is we've walked the entire city of London. Um starting at Blackfar's gotta include Fleet Street as well I suppose. And all the way down to here. Um this was the on the

night, the 29th of December. Oh my god and look at it. So, the old hall is the building behind us and originally built in fourteen forty. Um it's had five roofs burned down over the period of time. This is Saint Lawrence Jury. This building was also destroyed as well and this is actually going through restoration where they're cleaning the facade which has had years of pollution stuck to it so it's going to look nice and shiny but basically, yeah, this is the eastern end of the bombing raid. So, everything we have walked through through the city of London, all those modern buildings you've been looking at is the destruction that happened here on this night. But I'd like to finish up on eh something that's really important. Ehm Londoners never gave up. And the reason

Londoners never gave up is because well this yeah. Some of you may have seen this poster and in fact this post was produced in 1939 during what was known as the phony war. The first year of World War two nothing happened in London it all kicked off in Europe. So this poster was put up all around London and the Londoners hated it. In fact it was a

failure. Um because if you're in an argument and you tell the person you're having an argument with to calm down dear. Um it's a bit like putting gasoline onto the already burning fire. True. So as a result the government got rid of it never to be seen again but in the year two thousand a hipster found one and put it on the newly invented internet and the rest is history but I want to show you some photographs. This is the iconic milkman. Oh wow.

Delivering milk. Um as you can see the destruction in the background and basically what's been happening here is photography was pretty much quite basic. Um so no iPhones at the time. So you're walking down the street you see a milkman delivering milk in this carnage. And then you think to

myself that would be a great photograph if only I had an iPhone. Ah. So what you do then is you get your photographer's assistant to dress up as a milkman and you recreate the image. And in fact that is not a milkman. But the photographer's assistant. But that's just the way photography

was in World War two. You had to set them up. Okay. They recreate images that you would have seen in your day today. I wouldn't have been prepared for it. But this is iconic because

everybody drinks tea in the morning and you have to have milk in the tea and as Churchill said when he saw the rations for tea we are going to lose the war. Oh. They double the ration for tea. So these guys are making sure that they get the tea. Ehm buildings were bombed. Shops were bombed and as a result the owners would come out and put a sign up saying business as usual. Just to give you an example of how annoying the were eh in the last weeks of the Blitz in May nineteen forty-one. They flew airplanes down Oxford Street

and just bombed the department stores. Oh my God. Eh John Lewis was reduced to rubble. About a quarter of the building was left standing yet the staff turned up the next day and put trestle tables out on front. For the customers. Wow. Shelves. Uh basically on the streets yeah. And then finally. Oh. Life went on. Oh look at this. Uh what's lovely about this image is this is obviously daddy is going to walk the bride from the house to the church. The house is bombed.

They live around the corner. Remember nobody has cars at this stage until the 1950s that we get cars. And he's decided we're going to go back to the house and walk she's getting married hell near high water. Exactly. And look at the smiles

on their face. They know the whole situation is ridiculous but they're having a great time. And that is why this country survived. And as Churchill said Never, never, never, never give up. Hit subscribe. Ladies and

gentlemen, that was Callis. Thank you so much my lovely. Signing out here at the Guild Hall, ladies and gents. Hope you enjoyed our World War two video. Again, don't forget to like and subscribe. Cannace's tour is on our public schedule,

ladies and gents. This is Sinead and Canis signing out here in London. Bye. Bye for now.

2022-05-14 01:32

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