Norwich Arts Centre photographic exhibition and special event remembers the Baedeker Raids

By Jessica Keating | 27 April 2012
a black and white photograph of a policeman and civillians surveying Blitz damage in a street
Rupert Street showing the remains of Number 24, the shop of Hurn and Sons Ltd. Photo: Swain
Exhibition: Norwich Blitz, Norwich Arts Centre, until May 5 2012

Seventy years ago, Hitler had Norwich in his sights as part of the famous Baedeker Raids that saw the German Luftwaffe target Britain’s historic cities.

Starting at 11.40pm on April 27 1942, bombs rained down on the "fine city" until 1.15am on April 28; landing with devastating precision on the railway station, a maternity home, the grammar school the telephone exchange and many historic buildings.

In that short time more than 160 bombs were dropped, leaving 155 casualties, 600 injuries and a city’s landscape forever changed.  A second raid was to take place on April 29, followed by a third on May 1.

a photo showing the burned and bombed out remains of the interior of a church building
Nelson Street School, April 1942. Photo by Swain.
Yet rumour has it Hitler was strict in his instructions for the Town Hall not to be hit, as he felt its Germanic architecture and grand balcony in the centre of Norwich would provide the perfect backdrop for a victory speech that was, thankfully, never to be.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Baedeker Raids, which take their name from the famous guidebook to historic British cities that the Nazis used to plot their attacks, Norwich Arts Centre is holding a special exhibition of more than 60 archive photographs charting the extent of the damage and the people that survived to pick up the pieces.

An innovative selection of work entitled "Blitz Ghosts" by photographer Nick Stone is also included. Stone has digitally combined historical Blitz photos with modern ones to create powerful images of destruction in the modern-day Norwich landscape.


More images:

a photo of workmen digging out a bomb crater on a residential street
Caernarvon Road after bombing
a close up photo showing bomb damage, wreckage and rubble with the remains of large houses and buildings
Caleys Chocolate Factory (1942)
a photo showing bomb craters and collapsed buildings in a town
Orford Place seen through the remains of destroyed buildings
a photo showing the interior of a large buiding with its back wall knocked out and wreckage strewn about
St Augustine's School on Waterloo Road on April 27 1942. Photo: Swain
a photo showing a municipal style building with wrecakge in the street and blasted windows
Westwick Street, October 19, 1942. Photo by Swain.
Images courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service. Enjoy thousands of images of Norfolk’s unique history at: www.picture.norfolk.gov.uk
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