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   Back to The 20th-century port video gallery

Thornton Wilder inspecting bomb damage in Spa Road, Bermondesy.

Thornton Wilder inspecting bomb damage in Spa Road, Bermondesy.
Thornton Wilder inspecting bomb damage in Spa Road, Bermondesy.
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: H1578
Description: The American writer Thornton Wilder is shown inspecting bomb damage. Visits such as this were shown in newsreels to keep up morale. The government used its control over all forms of media to present a picture of life going on as normal despite the constant attacks. One film – 'London can take it' - presented the image of a city devastated by bombs, but one that carried on as normal. The narrator made the point that 'bombs can only kill people, they cannot destroy the indomitable spirit of a nation'. Much of the propaganda maintained that Londoners were united as young and old, upper and lower classes muddled through together. In reality, it was the poorer areas in the East End that were 'taking it'. The people there had nowhere else to go and were forced to stay in the city and face up to the raids with inadequate provision for shelter. The rich were often able to take refuge in the country or in expensive basement clubs in the West End.
Creator: Unknown
Date: September 1941
Credit line: Southwark Library collection.
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