Resources for All

New book published

The project will shortly be distributing 2,000 printed copies of The 1943 Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Disaster: an Oral History, published by the University of East London and edited by the project director, Toby Butler. The book features articles on aspects of the disaster and its aftermath and edited highlights from the project interviews with survivors, witnesses and their families. A free, downloadable PDF version of this publication is available here:  bg disaster an oral history.pdf





Courses in history and heritage studies


This project was organised by staff at the University of East London and students worked on the project from both the BA History degree and the MA Heritage Studies Programme. If you are interested in studying history and heritage studies at undergraduate or postgraduate level, please contact the programme leader, Toby Butler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

MA Heritage Studies

This MA programme provides its students with a critical grounding in public history and heritage studies. It is designed to equip you with key skills in researching, interpreting and communicating history through a variety of media. The programme is unique in linking issues of heritage and public history to in-depth theoretical and practical perspectives on oral history and memory. It affords its students an outstanding opportunity to develop the tools necessary to produce digital media, and to explore heritage issues in one of the most diverse communities in the world.  We offer a flexible programme of part-time or full-time study for students interested in pursuing advanced study at varying stages in their careers, at a modern London university which is an internationally-recognised centre of research excellence. It is also possible to study a smaller number of modules on the programme to attain other postgraduate qualifications (postgraduate certificate and postgraduate diploma).

The programme has the following key characteristics:

·         a wider and inclusive approach to heritage, that embraces the street and the internet as much as the museum or exhibition gallery

·         a strong focus on memory and oral history, an area in which UEL has a particular expertise. This is also a rapidly expanding area of heritage practice

·         a rigorous analytical grounding in heritage theory, that covers the full range of critical perspectives on heritage and the uses of the past in the present

·         a focus on the cultural contexts of heritage- making and the ways in which memorials, exhibitions and historically themed experiences are shaped by these contexts

·         an active, practice-focused approach

·         a commitment to give you opportunities to gain digital media skills and work experience in the museum and heritage field, should you need it


On the one hand, you will be able to study modules that address and range of key issues in heritage studies such as the politics of heritage, issues surrounding representation and cultural difference, how we remember the past both personally and collectively and how alternative interpretations of history have been - and might be - created. On the other hand there will also be modules that give you a very hands-on opportunity to consider, question and directly engage with heritage in museums, archives and outside in the streets. 

“I simply risk running out of superlatives to describe the MA Heritage Studies. Suffice it to say it is a world class programme which offers students a highly stimulating learning experience, harnessing, developing and enhancing the considerable potential of the students that it recruits. In the mix of teaching and learning methods, and the partnerships it draws upon, it is also a highly valuable development opportunity which will serve its graduates well even in the tough economic climate we are faced with.  Graduates can feel reassured that they are walking away with a highly prized qualification.”

Dr Andrew Perchard, Strathclyde University (External Examiner)

“This Heritage Studies MA looks excellent, offering a coherent combination of practical and more theoretical considerations. Far too many of the competitor courses fall on either side of that divide, which is not likely to be so helpful to many students entering a job world th at will certainly demand both.”

Patrick Wright (author of On Living in an Old Country, A Journey Through Ruins etc.)

"This is an original, thorough, and carefully-constructed syllabus, taught by people who are deeply engaged with their subject and able to communicate that enthusiasm to students. For those who want a career in the heritage industry, the course provides lots of opportunities to find jobs and placements in museums and other heritage organisations. I couldn’t recommend the MA more highly; it was the perfect course for me.”

Student testimonial

For an informal discussion or further information about the programme please contact Toby Butler This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Pop-up exhibition

A seven panel travelling exhibition has toured 14 different venues and can currently be seen on the ground floor of the University of East London/Birkbeck USS Building, near Stratford station. It features oral history clips that accompany the text which can be heard either on a CD player available from reception or via your own smartphone. If you have a venue that would like to host the exhibition and would be prepared to cover the transportation costs of moving the exhibition, please contact Toby Butler This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

You can also view a detailed image of the exhibition but be prepared to zoom in to view, it is a very large, seven panel exhibition so the image size is correspondingly large.


Archive resources

The oral history interviews and documentation collected for the Bethnal Green Memorial Project are gradually being added to this site where possible and ultimately archived at the Bishopsgate Institute Library. The collection comprises an extensive range of materials including interview recordings, photographs, digitalised artefacts, written accounts, newspaper cuttings and letters, as well as the materials gathered by the Stairway to Heaven Trust over the past years. Other organisations that also have material relating to the Bethnal Green Shelter Disaster can be found below.

The resources section of this website will increase as more materials are gathered, and we welcome contributions if you know of or have access to other documents or sources. Please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Key archives:

Bishopsgate Institute,

The British Library,

The National Archives (formerly known as the Public Records Office),

Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust,

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives have published very useful lists of sources, publications and reports and much can be found in their collection 

thlhla BG Disaster archival sources.pdf 

thlhla BG Disaster books_reports.pdf



Published work on the disaster includes:


Bourke, J. (2005) Fear: a Cultural History. London: Virago Press.

Butler, T. (Ed) (2015) The 1943 Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Disaster: an Oral History. London: Univeristy of East London.

Dettman, S. (2010) The Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Disaster of 1943: a Stairway to Heaven. London: East London History Society.

Dunne, L.R. (1943) Report on an Inquiry into the Accident at Bethnal Green Tube Station Shelter on 3rd March 1943. HMSO.

Fountain, R. (2012) Mr Morrison’s Conjuring Trick, or, The people of Bethnal Green (Deceased) v. the Crown. London: RTF Media.

Hook, J. (1996) ‘Weep Not, Ye Mourners’: The Air Raids on the London Borough of Tower Hamlets 1940-1945; A Chronological Listing of the Fatal Casualties. London: John Hook.

Hyde, A.F. (1986) ‘The Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Disaster’, in W.G. Ramsey, ed. The Blitz Then and Now, Vol. 3. London: Battle of Britain Prints International, pp.220-9.

Kendall, D. (1992) 'The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster' London Record, No. 15, pp.27-35.

Vale, G.F. (1946) Bethnal Green’s Ordeal 1939-45, and the Part Played by the Civil Defence Services. London: The Council of the Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green.