In the meantime, and to help with something else I was working on, I thought I’d make a wee map of places of Blitz interest. It just kept getting bigger.
The Blitz is easily the most dramatic and traumatic thing to hit Bristol since the Civil War, but you’d never know it. Aside from a few books in the library and some teaching materials (don’t get me started on Hitler Studies teaching in schools), it’s as though there’s been a sort of collective will to forget the whole thing.
This is probably partly due to wartime censorship (Bristol’s sufferings were played down by official propaganda, unlike those of London or Coventry), and maybe also to the fact that people who were around at the time would rather forget the deaths of 1300 people, countless injuries and thousands of buildings destroyed, most of them over the bitterly cold winter of 1940-41.
And yet the Blitz completely re-shaped the city. A huge central area was laid waste – roughly where Broadmead, Castle Park and Cabot Circus are nowadays. Postwar Bristol’s centre of gravity moved with rebuilding, but bomb sites, always with clumps of buddleia growing on them, were a common sight into the 1970s.
And there are still many, many places where you can see evidence of the Blitz.
Map’s at bit.ly/aPcZl7 if you’re interested.
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