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 Looking for good book to read during London blitz

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 Looking for good book to read during London blitz

 Looking for a good book to read during the blitz

Iconic photo staged by the British Ministry of Information

This iconic photo came to demonstrate the commitment of the British to “carry on” under the German bombing during the Blitz. It purportedly shows three men casually browsing the shelves of a library in a London home or bookshop the morning after it was blasted by German bombs.

This iconic image of the London Blitz purportedly showing an anonymous bookstore or library somewhere in London is actually a carefully staged photograph released by the British Ministry of Information without substantive information. It was certainly not an image taken at random since this is the library of Holland House, London residence of 6th Earl of Ilchester.

 

HenryVassall-Fox 3rd Baron Holland in the library of Holland House circa 1835. While there have been changes, this is the library pictured above. *

Library of Holland House Photo Staged
The photograph was staged and taken in the destroyed library of Holland House, London residence of  Lord Ilchester, 6th Earl of Ilchester [31 May 1874 – 29 October 1959], which was hit and mostly destroyed by German bombs dropped in a raid on London on 27 September 1940.
Since this was private property belonging to a peer of the Realm no less, it would be unlikely that anyone would have casually wandered in and started browsing the shelves. Looting was a serious crime and one couldn’t wander into private homes and take something which struck one’s fancy including books.

 

Holland House Hit by 22 Incendiaries Incredibly Library Survived

 

On the night of 27/28 September 1940, during Nazi blitz on London, twenty-two incendiary bombs hit Holland House.  The majority of this what was actually a palace burned down except for the east wing. Incredibly the library also survived.

 

 

 

1280px-ruins_of_holland_house

 

 

Library of Holland House Photo Staged
The photograph was staged and taken in the destroyed library of Holland House, London residence of  Lord Ilchester, 6th Earl of Ilchester [31 May 1874 – 29 October 1959], which was hit and mostly destroyed by German bombs dropped in a raid on London on 27 September 1940.
Since this was private property belonging to a peer of the Realm no less, it would be unlikely that anyone would have casually wandered in and started browsing the shelves. Looting was a serious crime and one couldn’t wander into private homes and take something which struck one’s fancy including books.
Holland house in 1896. The home in central London was often the scene of society balls and social events of all sorts.
Looting Serious Was a Serious Crime
Crown prosecutors brought hundreds of cases of looting before the courts during the Blitz, including numerous cases against policemen, firemen, and members of auxiliary organizations organized under the Air Raid Precautions Committee.
While burning, walls of burned homes and buildings often collapsed. The beam visible at the top of the photograph is preventing the walls of the library from collapsing else the men would hardly safe while browsing books. Portions of the wreckage in the middle of the photograph has been carefully removed so the men could actually reach the bookshelves.
No water damage or pools of water apparent
In this photograph, you will note the books are neatly arranged on the shelves although this would hardly be the case had the library been hit by bombs twelve hours previous. There is also no water damage or pools of water apparent. Since Holland House was a well-known landmark in central London every effort would have been made by the London Fire Brigade and Auxiliary Fire Service to extinguish the fire to keep it from spreading.
Remnants of Holland House in the present day. (Photo by Steve Cadman courtesy Wikipedia)
Lord Ilchester sold the land and what remained of the home to the London County Council in 1952. A large public park and other facilities were subsequently created on the property. Ironically, Lord Ilchester was President of the London Library from 1940 to 1952.
Nazi Germany’s Blitz on London

The major Luftwaffe bomber attacks on London collectively know as “the Blitz” occurred between 7 September 1940 and 21 May 1941. Many other British cities were bombed but London bore the brunt with over 71 major raids in which over 100 hundred metric tonnes of bombs were dropped on the city by the German Luftwaffe.

 

Germans Invented the Firebombing Technique Allies Subsequently Used On Them (payback is a bitch)

I regard German criticism of Allied “firebombing” of their cities as nothing more than crocodile tears. The Germans invented the process of dropping hundreds of thousand small incendiary bombs interspersed with larger bombs. These bigger bombs, at least several hundred pounds (and much larger as the war went on) would blow in walls in or blow the roofs off buildings and provide a pathway to the interior of buildings for the small incendiary bombs.

Those Bombed by the Germans Remembered It 

The bombing of London and other English cities along with the bombing of other cities throughout Europe by the Germans was remembered by those who were bombed. As they grew stronger and Germany weaker, Nazi Germany was turned into rubble by the Anglo-American bombing offensive.
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
Hosea 8:7  King James Version of the Bible
milkman-rubble-603421
London milkman making his way through the rubble to deliver milk after a bombing attack by the Germans during the Blitz on London. 
*Circa 1835. The above shows Henry Richard Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland (1773-1840) and his wife seated in the library of Holland House, Kensington.  Mezzotint by Samuel Reynolds 1847 (published in Walker, Annabel & Jackson, Peter, Kensington & Chelsea: A Social and Architectural History, London, 1987, p.23) after painting by Charles Robert Leslie.

 

By | 2019-02-09T18:30:45+00:00 November 14th, 2012|air raid, Blitz, Charles McCain, history, London, London Blitz, World War Two, ww2, wwii|0 Comments

About the Author:

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/