The Bethnal Green Memorial Project

The Bethnal Green Memorial Project is dedicated to collecting and preserving records relating to the Bethnal Green underground shelter disaster of 3 March 1943, and its aftermath. We now have recorded more than 30 interviews with survivors, and witnesses and relatives of those who died and digitised documents and photographs from the families of those who were involved. The project is also deeply involved in making the history of the the disaster more widely known and complementing the information given at the new Bethnal Green Disaster Memorial in honouring the 173 men, women and children who died in the disaster, their families, rescuers and those who survived.The memorial canopy being lifted into place, November 2017The memorial canopy being lifted into place, November 2017

A dedicated team of staff and volunteers have produced an oral history book, two audio trails around the memorial in Bethnal Green Gardens. Lesson plans, resource sheets, documents, images, oral history clips and lots of great ideas for learning activities and education resources for schools and youth groups, a touring exhibition, and an online archive of oral history interviews and transcripts. The team have given more than 50 talks to community groups and the project has directly reached over 10,000 people. Our aim is to commemorate, consider and better understand the disaster and the impact it had on so many people, many of whom were told not to speak about it. 

The project is based at the University of East London and funded generously by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We have been working in close partnership with the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust and the Bishopsgate Institute with additional support from the Raphael Samuel History Centre and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

A plaque for the audio trails has now been installed on the railings at Bethnal Green Underground station and up to 30 audio players can be borrowed free of charge from Bethnal Green Library, a short walk from the memorial site. The players are loaded with the adult and child friendly versions of the audio trail.

Latest news: Full interview recordings with survivors, rescuers, friends and relatives are now available to hear online in the 'stories to remember' section of the website. These include interview summaries and transcripts. A PDF version of the project oral history book can be downloaded now for free download and free printed copies are also available from the University of East London Archives (Docklands campus). The final phase of construction of the memorial was completed in December 2017 and it is now open to the public. It is situated next to the stairway going down to Bethnal Green Underground Station.