Holland House library after an air raid BB83_04456
HOLLAND HOUSE, Kensington, London. An interior view of the bombed library at Holland House with readers apparently choosing books regardless of the damage. Photographed in 1940. The House was heavily bombed during World War II and remained derelict until 1952 when parts of the remains were preserved.
Holland House, originally known as Cope Castle, was a great house in Kensington in London, situated in what is now Holland Park. Created in 1605 in the Elizabethan or Jacobean style for the diplomat Sir Walter Cope, the building later passed to the powerful Rich family, then the Fox family, under whose ownership it became a noted gathering-place for Whigs in the 19th century. The house was largely destroyed by German firebombing during the Blitz in 1940; today only the east wing and some ruins of the ground floor still remain.
In 1940, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended the last great ball held at the house. A few weeks later, on 7 September, the German bombing raids on London that would come to be known as the Blitz began. During the night of 27 September, Holland House was hit by twenty-two incendiary bombs during a ten-hour raid. The house was largely destroyed, with only the east wing, and, miraculously, almost all of the library remaining undamaged. Surviving volumes included the sixteenth-century Boxer Codex.
Holland House was granted Grade I listed building status in 1949, under the auspices of the Town and Country Planning Act 1947; the Act sought to identify and preserve buildings of special historic importance, prompted by the damage caused by wartime bombing. The building remained a burned-out ruin until 1952, when its owner, Giles Fox-Strangways, 6th Earl of Ilchester, sold it to the London County Council (LCC). The remains of the building passed from the LCC to its successor, the Greater London Council (GLC) in 1965, and upon the dissolution of the GLC in 1986 to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Today, the remains of Holland House form a backdrop for the open air Holland Park Theatre, home of Opera Holland Park. The YHA (England and Wales) "London Holland Park" youth hostel is now located in the house. The Orangery is now an exhibition and function space, with the adjoining former Summer Ballroom now a restaurant, The Belvedere. The former ice house is now a gallery space
© Historic England Archive
Liverpool, 1946 EAW001911
LIVERPOOL. Aerial view, 12th July 1946, showing the area around the five way junction of Duke Street, Hanover Street and Paradise Street (the former Sailors Home, now demolished, stands at the junction) in July 1946. The widespread devastation caused by bombing during the Second World War is apparent. Liverpool Old Custom House on Canning Place stands roofless in the foreground after firebomb damage in the Liverpool blitz of 1941. It was demolished in 1950. Some whole blocks in the area around South John Street have been cleared and levelled ready for redevelopment. Most of this network of streets are now occupied by Chavasse Park, the Moat House Hotel and the Bus Station. Aerofilms Collection (see Links)
© Historic England Archive
St Brides Church, London 1941 BB69_02583
FLEET STREET, London. St Bride's Church was rebuilt to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire of London. A fire bomb fell on the night of 29th December 1940 which pierced the roof and gutted the interior. This shows the remains of the church in March 1941, photographed by Bedford Lemere. Rebuilding began in 1953 using Wren's surviving walls, it was rededicated in 1957 and it is still in use
© Historic England