Friday, 22 December 2017

Fighting for Air Volunteer Visit to the Local Studies / Museum of Croydon

In the last post, I detailed how six of us had a busy day last Tuesday as we visited the First World War (FWW) galleries at the Imperial War Museum, London; then went to see archival material at the Museum of Croydon. This time, I’ll write up some notes from the Museum of Croydon. . .

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Fighting for Air Visit to the Imperial War Museum

Six of our volunteers had a busy day on Tuesday 12 December as we visited the First World War (FWW) Galleries at the Imperial War Museum, London; then went to see archival material at the Museum of Croydon. Both trips gave us a great perspective on the national and local response to the war and aerial attacks on civilians. We’ll start with the Imperial War Museum. . . 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Air Defences at Croydon

In January 1916, as the aerodrome opened for use, an observation point was established in central Croydon. There were numerous reports of suspected signalling to the enemy Zeppelins during the raids of October 1915. Several volunteer observers and police officers were stationed on the Clock Tower of the Town Hall with a direct phone line and motor car ready to convey police at any point. 

Monday, 11 December 2017

A ring around London: Beddington Aerodrome

Beddington Aerodrome was at first just meant to be an emergency landing field but public pressure after the Zeppelin air raids meant it became an aerodrome for fighter planes. It was one of a ring of ten aerodromes around London: Hounslow, Hendon, Hainault’s Farm, Sutton’s Park, Joyce Green, Farningham, Croydon, Biggin Hill, Wimbledon and Northolt.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Zeppelin Nights: The Impact of Raids

Winifred Knights’ The Deluge (1920) draws from the terror inflicted by the air raids for a contemporary depiction of the biblical flood. Knights was a Slade student at University College during the war and had a nervous breakdown due to the strain of the war. Her painting shows the impact of ‘Zeppelin nights’ on ordinary people. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

The Croydon Zeppelin Raid: A Personal Connection

33 Leslie Park Rd, Croydon, 14 October 1915
The Fighting for War project has used this image of the Zeppelin raid on Croydon in 13/14 October on much of its publicity. It shows two women and a policeman standing in the rubble of 33-34 Leslie Park Rd, gazing into the crater caused by the bomb. We have used it partly as it is free to do so courtesy of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and also because it shows people rather than just devastated buildings.

And then, rather excitingly, John Murrell got in touch as he was interested in the project and had seen the image used of his grandmother! John's grandmother was Mrs Naomi Murrell (16 March 1879 - September 1971), who lived in 34 Leslie Park Rd. Had the bomb been dropped a few meters in one direction, his granny may not have survived to pose with the policeman and her sister Sarah Kemp. IWM records give the address of the photograph as 33 Leslie Park Rd but John tells me that, according to the 1911 census, his grandmother lived at 34.

The photograph and story of Naomi Murrell recognising herself in an anniversary edition of the Croydon Advertiser featured in news story in the same paper in February 1969. The article is featured below.