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‘The Blitz in Bootle: 80 Years On’ exhibition launches at Strand Shopping Centre

Sefton Library Service are unveiling a new exhibition titled ‘The Blitz in Bootle: 80 Years On’ at the town’s Strand Shopping Centre on Friday 26th November.

Bombing during the Second World War reached its peak in the seven-night Blitz of Thursday 1st to Wednesday 7th May 1941, also known as the ‘May Blitz’. It was during this week that the town of Bootle became one of the most bombed places in Britain. 

People are invited to attend the exhibition launch event, taking place this Friday, 26th November, from 2 pm to 3:30pm at The Esplanade, Strand Shopping Centre, Bootle.

‘The Blitz in Bootle: 80 Years On’ features the archive collections of Stewart Bale, who was employed by The Bootle Corporation to photograph and record the destruction, as well as notes from Bootle Air Raid Precaution Officer Major Salt’s diaries. 

‘The Blitz in Bootle: 80 Years On’ exhibition launches at Strand Shopping Centre
Image credit Liverpool Picturebook

Additionally, renowned photographer Jon Turton has been working with the children from Bedford Primary school and members of Bootle Library’s Local History Group to create exhibits that feature both historical and contemporary photographs of the former bomb sites. 

The launch event is open to everyone and people are invited to come along and explore the exhibition. 

In his diaries, Major Salt recorded the planning and preparation undertaken by Bootle corporation prior to the Second World War. His diary also contains notes recording the destruction caused by the Blitz as it happened. 

Stewart Bale was employed by The Bootle Corporation to record the destruction wrought on the town, so that war reparation claims could be made to re-build once the war was over.

Cllr Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: 

“Hundreds lost their lives in Bootle during the unyielding May Blitz of 1941 and this exhibition is a tribute to the people of the town and what they endured. 

“I encourage everyone to visit the exhibition and explore Bootle’s wartime history.” 

The ‘Blitz in Bootle: 80 Years On’ exhibition will be open at The Strand Shopping Centre on between 10:00am and 3pm on Monday 29th November, and Wednesday 1st, Thursdays 2nd and 9th, Friday 10th December. The exhibition is free, no pre-booking is required and people are welcome to drop-in during opening times. 

Cllr Hardy added: 

“This exhibition is a reflection of the resilience and spirit that Bootle people showed back then and which they have again exhibited over the past 18 months during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Image credit: Liverpool Picturebook

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