On the night of 3/4 May 1942, just after midnight, 20 bombers arrived over the town centre, and in 70 minutes devastated the town centre and Newtown area. Bombs fell in High St, Sidwell St and Fore St, starting fires in the houses and shops there, which were soon out of control. Fire brigade and emergency services struggled to tame the fires, under the threat of unexploded ordnance and despite strafing by German bombers. Reinforcements from the fire services at Torquay and Plymouth arrived to help; eventually 195 appliances and 1,080 personnel were employed to bring the fires under control, which was largely achieved by 5 May, though sporadic outbreaks continued until mid-day of 7 May. 30 acres of the city were devastated, 156 people were killed and 583 injured.
Cornforth, David (10 March 2014). “The Exeter Blitz – April and May 1942”. Exeter Memories. Wikipedia.
This photo was going to be my Wordless Wednesday, but I realised how it marked the passing of time.
When I was in my teens, I remember the archaeological dig in front of the cathedral, but I didn’t realise the significance of the Roman baths they exposed and then covered over. Now I wish I’d taken more notice. A few years ago, the city made a bid for lottery funding to open up the baths, but it failed, so I don’t suppose I’ll get to see them.
I live in a very old city, the Romans arrived around 55 AD, and scared off the local Celtic tribe. They built a wall around the city they had named Isca Dumnoniorum and left a couple hundred years later. The wall, or about seventy per cent of it is still here. Impressive builders those Romans.
One of the good things about Facebook is all the local groups, one of the ones I follow, Exeter Memories is great for photos of Exeter in the past, it always provokes a lot of ooohs and aaahs and I remember that, but a couple of days ago there was a real treat.
The really talented Jerry Bird posted this photo in the group, and kindly gave me permission to post it here. He’s scanned a drawing of the ancient South Gate, from an old book on Exeter, and superimposed it onto a photo he took. The location, a not very appealing road into the city, was rebuilt quickly after the blitz and sadly looks nothing like this, except for the road markings and the car.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it did?
Jerry has plans to create some more of these images and i can’t wait to see them.
Wandering through Cathedral Close last night with friends, I showed the Californian One the outer door to the Bishops Palace. As it was closed, I put my nose up to the ancient wood and this is what I saw through the gap.
Of course, I had to add it as a last minute entry to Tina’s Lens-Artist challenge, doors and doorways.
A few weeks ago I went to Wild About Wool, an event at Poltimore house. One of the things that touched me was the room that had been the Matron’s office. It had been decorated by some of the people showing their yarn work, both knitting and crochet.
It would be lovely if the decorations could stay in place while rebuilding continues, the room needs cheering up.
Day two of Becky’s September Square challenge, and I found this mask at last weeks street festival. It was one of about twenty belonging to Widsith and Deor Storytelling Theatre who were performing on the Cathedral Green.
All are welcome to join Becky, just post a pink square photo.