Marble Arch Station

17 September 1940

By Brittni Morris

When the Blitz started on 7 September 1940, London Underground tube stations were considered amongst the safest places during air raids. However, such assumptions were proven false at Marble Arch Station, on the Central Line, at around 11.40pm on 17 September 1940. Late into this major night raid, which caused extensive damage along the length of Oxford Street, one high explosive bomb landed on Marble Arch Station in the unluckiest way.

At Marble Arch Station heavy traffic continuously passed overhead. The roof of the station, reinforced with steel girders and concrete, had been specifically designed to bear heavy loads. But not enough to protect against high explosive bombs.

The bomb penetrated the station roof, pierced between two girders and plunged into the tube station below. It exploded in the tunnel, ripping the ceramic tiles off the walls and sucking its way through the tunnel and platform. The blast effect was magnified in the enclosed space, creating more casualties than usual for this type of bomb. At least twenty people were killed and over forty others were seriously injured.

This attack, early in the Blitz, shocked civilians and emergency personnel alike, due to previous assumptions about Underground station safety. ARP units were also given bruising lessons in how to deal with mass casualties on the London Underground network.

 

Photo:ARP Message Form, Marble Arch Station, 1940

ARP Message Form, Marble Arch Station, 1940

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:ARP Message Form, Marble Arch Station, 1940

ARP Message Form, Marble Arch Station, 1940

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:ARP Message Form, Marble Arch Station, 1940

ARP Message Form, Marble Arch Station, 1940

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:ARP Message Form, Marble Arch Station, 1940

ARP Message Form, Marble Arch Station, 1940

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Photo:Bomb Map, Marble Arch Station

Bomb Map, Marble Arch Station

Copyright Westminster City Archives

Marble Arch Underground Station

This page was added by Brittni Morris on 30/06/2011.

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