George Alagiah unveils plaque to Stoke Newington Blitz victims

Broadcaster George Alagiah unveiled a plaque in memory of the Hackney families who were killed by a 500lb bomb as they sheltered during the Blitz on London.

The unveiling was attended by 250 people who paid tribute to the 160 people who lost their lives when the bomb ripped through a black of flats in Coronation Avenue in October 1940.

Guests included Dr Melvyn Brooks who lost an aunt in the disaster and travelled over from Israel for the unveiling ceremony yesterday - on the 70th anniversary of the end of the Blitz.

Hackney resident Eleanor Kennedy who also attended had narrowly missed being in the shelter on the night of the disaster - but was turned away as there was no room. Instead she took shelter at the Anderson shelter in the garden of her Leswin Road home.

The 90-year-old told the Gazette: “Whole families were wiped out overnight. It was horrific.”

The day after the raid when the all clear was sounded she saw the devastation.

“It was a terrible catastrophe right across the road.”

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She said it was important to pay tribute to the people who lost their lives and for their successors to realise what happened during World War Two.

Camilla Loewe who helped organise the event said: “We had a message from the Queen - her parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited the day after the disaster.

“We had a huge crowd of people paying tribute and we had a book for people to write their memories.

“Children from Princess May School did readings for us. Peter Williams who was born during the Blitz and who lived next to Coronation Avenue had spoken to them about the war and we asked if they would like to get involved.”

The Coronation Avenue Campaign will continue its work to raise awareness of the disaster and will be fundraising and recording the history of the people caught up in it.

Donations can be sent to ‘TimeLine’, PO box 44684, London, N16 OXY or via www.justgiving.com/timeline/donate

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