Queen Anne's Mansions SW1

13 September 1940

By Katlynn Miller

On the night of 13 September 1940, Queen Anne’s Mansions SW1 – a large Victorian black brick block of mansion flats in Petty France requisitioned as government offices – suffered direct hits from high explosive bombs. One of these penetrated the roof, slicing through all eleven stories of the building and tearing out a huge gap in the structure. Debris fell into the street; the 1873 mansion block – whose previous residents once included composer Edward Elgar - was partly eviscerated.

There was extensive damage to water mains and rescue parties rushed to the scene. Nearby, London Passenger Transport Board Headquarters at 55 Broadway and St James's Park Underground station were temporarily closed. The ruins of Queen Anne's were searched but no casualties or trapped individuals were reported. At 11.36pm, a City of Westminster message form requested an ambulance: “to pick up two old ladies who feel badly shaken and wish to be taken to a shelter.” 

Rescue teams and ARP wardens were presented with a confused situation at the scene. At 7.30 am, 14 September, there were reports of an unexploded bomb (UXB) in the courtyard. Remaining residents were evacuated to an air raid shelter but no trace of the bomb was subsequently found. At 9.53 am, City of Westminster ARP message forms confirmed the presence of a delayed-action bomb on the ninth floor. However, by 1pm the leader of the rescue party had examined damage at 91 Petty France and concluded that the bomb had already exploded.

Queen Anne’s Mansions were finally demolished in 1973 and replaced by the Home Office building (1976) at 102 Petty France. In 2008, after major refurbishment, 102 Petty France reopened as offices for the Ministry of Justice.

Photo:Bomb Damage to Queen Anne's Mansions, Petty France

Bomb Damage to Queen Anne's Mansions, Petty France

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:ARP Message Form, Queen Anne's Mansions

ARP Message Form, Queen Anne's Mansions

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:Message Form, Queen Anne's Mansions, Petty France

Message Form, Queen Anne's Mansions, Petty France

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:Bomb Map: Queen Anne's Mansions, Petty France

Bomb Map: Queen Anne's Mansions, Petty France

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Petty France, SW1

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