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.

Bethnal Green Shelter Disaster Memorial. Photo: Sandra ScottingBethnal Green Shelter Disaster Memorial. Photo: Sandra ScottingThe 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.

A dedicated team of staff and volunteers have produced an oral history book, two audio trails around the memorial in Bethnal Green Gardens, created extensive education resources for schools and youth groups, a touring exhibition, this website, and an archive of memories and materials for future use. The team have given more than 50 talks to community groups and the project will soon have 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.

The project is now in the final stage and we will shortly be officially launching several of our key outputs - a plaque for the audio trails will shortly be unveiled on the railings at Bethnal Green Underground station; the project oral history book is now online and we have finished producing the resources needed to accompany a free teaching pack for schools and youth groups.


Latest news: A PDF version of the project oral history book can be downloaded now for free download and free printed copies are now available from the main reception at the University of East London Docklands campus. The teaching pack is also now printed and 30 packs will be sent out to local schools. A free, downloadable version is now available for teachers and youth workers, with lesson plans, resource sheets, documents, images, oral history clips and lots of great ideas for learning activities.