Site of Tottenham air raid shelter tragedy to be commemorated with Lordship Recreation Ground statue

Joan Curtis and Dave Morris from the Friends of Lordship Recreation Ground are close to reaching their fundraising total

Joan Curtis and Dave Morris from the Friends of Lordship Recreation Ground are close to reaching their fundraising total

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Tottenham’s largest single loss of life in the Second World War is set to finally be commemorated with a permanent memorial at the site of the tragedy.

At least 43 people, including children and the elderly, were killed on September 19, 1940, when a high-explosive bomb hit an air raid shelter in Lordship Recreation Ground.

More than 100 people were injured in the attack, less than three weeks after the London Blitz began, and Tottenham Hotspur’s football ground had to be used as a temporary morgue to house the dead.

Almost all of those who died or were hurt lived in the streets around the park.

The event was barely reported at the time as the wartime government focused on keeping up the ‘Blitz spirit’, but more than 70 years on, the Friends of Lordship Recreation Ground is raising money for a memorial at the site of the shelter. 

The 1.5m stone statue is inspired by a Pablo Picasso painting and depicts two hands cradling a dove.

Local sculptor Gary March will be creating the memorial out of Portland stone in time for a memorial event on July 26.

Artist Joan Curtis, secretary of the friends group, drew up the designs for the statue.

She said: “We didn’t want it to look like a tomb or a cross. We wanted it to symbolise love and protection. We want to respect this important piece of the history of the park.”

Although the survivors and victims of bombing were commemorated in 2010 on the 70th anniversary, this will be the first permanent appreciation, she said.

She added: “The families were obviously upset that the tragedy was never commemorated. There are memorials to soldiers and military, but this one is for ordinary citizens who lost their life taking shelter. The tragedy was they thought they were in a place of safety.”

The organisation has raised about £3,000 and is hoping to raise a further £600.

The memorial will be unveiled on July 26 at the park’s “We Remember” event, a day in remembrance of those who died in both world wars.

Friends chairman Dave Morris said: "It is about respecting the history of the park and creating something for the families of those who were killed."

Donations can be made by sending a cheque to the Friends of Lordship Rec, 7 Carrick Gardens, N17 7AX.

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