This was when it all began…
The records kept by Lambeth Air Raid Precaution teams do not appear to cover this terrible evening, probably because it wasn’t expected. Luckily The Guardian paid a visit to the Metropolitan Archives and published this excellent feature over on their website. The local information further down this page is taken from that. I will one day visit the Met Archives with a view to adding to my site however until then I am relying on whatever sources I can find.
This night in context….
The Government’s daily Home Security report summarises the extent of the attack:
Up to 1700 hours on 7th September 1940, enemy air activity was slight, a few bombs were dropped at Bristol and at Hawkinge, Kent. Soon after 1700 hours, however, the enemy launched a very big attack and the principal objectives seem to have been industrial and dock property on both sides of the Thames, bombs were dropped at Woolwich, Purfleet and the Dockland area of London.
Fires broke out and some damage was done to the Arsenal and to Siemen’s Bros. Works at Woolwich and to Harland & Wolff’s factory at North Woolwich. Serious damage was caused to a main sewer in Woolwich and there has been considerable interference with rail and road communications in the area.
The Gas Works at Beckton was seriously damaged and great interference will be caused to gas supplies in many parts of East London. A number of bombs were also dropped at different points of South-Eastern London where also serious interference was caused to rail and road traffic. During the night of 7th/8th September, attacks extending over many hours covered a considerable area of London and were of an intense nature.
Preliminary reports do not permit an accurate review of the full extent of the places hit or of the damage. Possibly the most serious effect has been in Silvertown which has been described as a ‘raging inferno’ and complete evacuation became necessary. Over 600 fire appliances were in use during the night. In the Battersea area, as in many others, major damage is reported, including the Battersea Power Station and London Power Company’s property.
A Summary of the incident
|Time that the bombs hit||21:40|
|Type of bomb/s||High Explosive & Incendiary|
|Was anyone hurt or killed?||?|
|Where did the bombs land?||Caldwell Street, Cranworth Gardens, Southey Road|
|Were houses damaged?||Yes|
|Were businesses damaged?||?|
|Were there evacuations?||?|
The Gaurdian say ‘We wanted to see how that first day and night unfolded and the Archives have allowed us to enter the records for September 7, 1940 in full detail – thanks to Alicia Weekes and Naomi Burley-Baker for their work on this. What you see here in this spreadsheet is the first time those records have been available online.’
The local entries in their table are as follows
|Time||Location||Type of bomb (Incendiary Bomb= IB Explosive Bomb= EB, COB= Crude Oil Bomb)||Damage or other details (All dimensions at in ft unless stated)|
|21:34||Flat 5, 17, Cranworth Gardens, Brixton, SW9, London, UK||IB||6x4 roof damaged|
|21:40||Caldwell Street, Brixton SW9, London, UK||EB||26 private houses damaged|
|21:40||Caldwell St, London, UK||EB||20x20 roadway damaged|
|Lambeth, London SW9, London, UK|
|21:40||Caldwell St, London, UK||EB||South Met Gas. 4"" main fractured|
|21:50||4 Southey Road, Brixton SW9, London, UK||EB||3 private houses damaged|
|21:50||Southey Road, Brixton SW9, London, UK||EB||20x20 roadway damaged|
|21:50||Southey Road, Brixton SW9, London, UK||EB||South Met Gas. 4"" main fractured|
|21:51||146-150, Brixton Road, SW9, London, UK||EB||3 private houses damaged|
Sites of the bombs are indicated with red dots on the map below: