19 November 2020

Witnessing the war: The Bristol Blitz

Eighty years ago, on the evening of Sunday 24 November 1940, the first major air raid on Bristol devastated large areas of the city.

Over 200 people were killed and thousands of buildings and homes were destroyed by German bombers during the Bristol Blitz. The impact of this and subsequent raids is well documented at Bristol Archives.

Shipping inspector Leonard Putnam wrote that sky was lit up by parachute flares that guided in relays of bomber planes. Schoolteacher Margaret Cane described buildings left to burn when there was no water to extinguish the fires. Rare colour film shows the city’s emergency response alongside civilian life in wartime, while bomb damage was starkly documented by press photographer Jim Facey.

This talk will explore archive sources that capture the scale of destruction and how Bristolians responded to the threat and realities of aerial attacks.

Speaker: Allie Dillon, City Archivist

All material shown in this talk is available for research at Bristol Archives. This is a UWE Regional History Centre talk in partnership with M Shed seminar series.

Image: © David Facey: Facey Collection, Bristol Archives 41969/1/33.

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 2pm on Thursday 19 November.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. It’s up to you whether you turn on your video but all guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.

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