‘Thames at War’ path on Layers of London

It’s now 80 years since the start of the London Blitz – an event in our history we can’t afford to forget. So how about a self-guided, historic tour in the safe social distance of your own home?

Our members have developed a virtual trail that enables you to take a guided tour of the ‘Thames at War’. The trail is available on the wonderful ‘Layers of London’, a map-based history website developed by the Institute of Historical Research.

> Discover The Thames at War path

The Thames at War path on Layers of London has almost 30 records so far. The path runs from Fulham to Greenwich and pays tribute to the vital role and unsung achievements of the London County Council emergency repair teams ably led by Chief Engineer Thomas Peirson Frank. Between 1939-1945, three rapid response units were formed with non-combatants who undertook repairs to over 100 breaches of the flood defences where the bombing had breached the river wall, thus saving the low-lying Capital from drowning.

Themes covered include the story of the three Emergency Bridges built across the river in 1942, in case bombing destroyed the main bridges. Then there were the four Thames Flood Prevention Emergency Repair depots, the bases from which rapid-response teams rushed to sites where the bombing had breached the riverwall. A selection of the waterfront bomb sites that those teams repaired are also presented.

To get the full trail experience, don’t forget to overlay the path against the Bomb Damage map from the 1940’s, which is available on Layers of London.

And of course, once we can all get outside again, you can do the trail in the real world!

This path is based on the book ‘Thames at War: saving London from the Blitz’ by Gustav Milne.

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