Rose Foote

Rose's mother had predicted that there might be an accident on the steps down to the shelter because of the poor lighting and the lack of a central handrail. On the night of the disaster they had got down as far as the escalator when Rose noticed that no one was following her. After she had settled her mother, policemen, firemen and wardens were suddenly rushing through the tube station. Rose tried to go back up but was told to stay below. At 5 a.m. they were allowed up. Her father and sister were waiting for them at the stairs. Many others were waiting anxiously too.

You can listen to the recorded INTERVIEW below.

Read the interview SUMMARY online below, or click on the icon to read or download: rose foote summary.pdf

The summary gives timed sections which direct you to specific parts of the recording.

 Click on the icon to read or download the complete TRANSCRIPT: rose foote transcript.pdf

 

Catalogue Number:

 

 

Interviewee/s:

Rose Foote

Interviewer/s:

Philip Sunshine

Joy Puritz

Date of Interview:

1 May 2014

Location:

Rose’s home in Leyton

Length of interview:

Any other info:

 

 

 

Time Stamp:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary:

Rose was now 92. Her mother had had four children with her first husband who had died, and with her second had had Rose and her sister Ellen. They lived in Bethnal Green, were very poor but had enough to eat, and Rose enjoyed school which she left at fourteen in order to work. She described the games that she and other children played in the street and a gym club she joined. As a child she had always longed to read books but could not afford them, and there was no library.

 

The family’s home was destroyed by an incendiary bomb, and the Council found them a flat. Her mother, in her late 60s, was always terrified and used the tube shelter every night. Rose would see her down and settle her and then return to her father who had asthma and could not go up and down stairs; but in a raid Rose would stay in the shelter.

 

Her mother had predicted that there might be an accident on the steps down to the shelter because of the poor lighting and the lack of a central handrail. On the night of the disaster they had got down as far as the escalator when Rose noticed that no one was following her. After she had settled her mother policemen, firemen and wardens were suddenly rushing through the tube station. Rose tried to go back up but was told to stay below. At 5 a.m. they were allowed up. On the way Rose saw a huge new hole which had been hacked into the wall, and a pile of bedding to one side. She knew something must have happened. Her father and sister, who knew what had happened, were waiting for them at the stairs. Many others were waiting anxiously too. Her sister had been staying with friends.

 

The disaster was hushed up, probably by the government, Rose thought; all they knew was that people had been killed falling on the steps. There were rumours of thieving. Rose said that the new rocket guns in Victoria Park had made people panic and, with no central handrail and the poor lighting, people fell.

 

Rose described her war work: welding, drilling, folding parachutes, brazing. After the war she went into tailoring. She married in 1947 and had two children. They moved to Leyton in 1954. Her husband died aged 58. She has seven grandchildren.