Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust
Registered Charity Number 1118618
Artists impression of the proposed memorial
|Bethnal Green Tube Disaster 1943. |
On 3 March 1943 a crowd of people entered Bethnal Green tube station which was used at the time as an air-raid shelter. After the searchlights went on and an anti-aircraft battery a few hundred yards away in Victoria Park launched a salvo of a new type of anti-aircraft rockets the crowd surged forward. Someone tripped on the stairs causing many others to fall. 300 people were crushed into the stairwell within a few seconds, 173 of them died and over 90 were injured. The worst civilian disaster of the 2nd World War.
In a book published last year we recently discovered that there was also a government cover-up after the Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster.
Rick Fountain's book 'Mr. Morrison's Conjuring Tricks' sets out the evidence
that in 1941 (so, two years before the disaster) Bethnal Green Council had
written to the government asking for permission to alter the station
entrance and make it safer if a lot of people wanted to use it. The
Government department refused and the Borough Engineer wrote a stronger
worded letter explaining that the entrance and stairway needed several
measures to make them safer. Again the government refused permission. The
Council's borough engineer wrote a third time to plead for permission to
alter the entrance, but was once more refused.
The day after the disaster all these measures sought by the Council were put
in place. However, Bethnal Green Council was made to keep their earlier
letters secret, under the Official Secrets Act. The Council was therefore
made to take the blame. Statements given in Parliament suggested that the
victims were to blame. This ensured the event was kept as secret as
possible. This was partially to prevent the enemy using it for propaganda
purposes, but apparently it also saved the Home Secretary of the day,
Herbert Morrison, from having to resign. The Mayor of Bethnal Green was not
allowed to defend herself and was largely blamed for the tragedy.
The public enquiry, and the summing-up by the judge in the one court case
that followed, largely agreed that there had been no panic on the part of
the victims so they were not to blame. The final statement about the enquiry
was read out in Parliament by another MP as Herbert Morrison had a cold on
that day. So no questions could be asked. It was the Hillsborough of its
The memorial in spring 2014
We have already built two thirds of the memorial now
all we need to do is raise the money to complete the 'stairway' on the top.
Details of how to donate to the trust are given at the bottom of this page and on the 'Appeal / Donations' page. If you have any additional fund raising ideas please let us know.
posted: 8th September 2014.
Old Fashioned Cockney Party Night
We are organising a good old fashioned cockney party night on Friday 10th October at the Bethnal Green Working men’s Club, Pollard Row, (just off
Bethnal Green Road
) at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £15 each to include bangers & mash plus a finger buffet. The bar is at club prices (that usually means they are cheaper than a pub). It finishes late and there are no parking restrictions around the club in the evening.
Tickets can be purchased from the charity office or via Derek Spicer on 07722 162 168 or online via the Club at www.workersplaytime.net.
Our wonderful Pearly Kings & Queens will lead a sing-along and there will be the Dreamworld Productions Girls doing their 1940s ‘Andrews sisters tribute’ act. Plus the resident DJ playing music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Our wonderful patron Tommy Walsh will also be present.
posted: 8th September 2014.
Lie back and think of England.
Last chance to book tickets for this one-woman play about WW2 in the East End on Thursday 11th or Friday 12th September at the Brady Centre,
Hanbury Street, E1 at 7.30pm.
Book by ringing 0207 207 0296. Concessions available for people living locally. There will be a collection at the end for our charity
posted: 27th August 2014.
Jack the Ripper walk
Those that braved the weather for the Jack the Ripper guided walk on bank
holiday Monday 25th August were rewarded with a very comprehensive talk
about Jack the Ripper.
In particular we learnt about the man that our guide,
Ripper historian, Edward Stow, thought really must have been the evil
Read more ...
posted: 1st April 2014.
Boris Johnson presenting the £10,000
cheque to Derek Spicer and
Mike Pattison outside City Hall
Mayor Boris Johnson has just announced (today 1st April) on the Nick Ferrari
show on LBC radio that Transport for London would be giving us £10,000
towards the final part of our memorial.
We now hope that businesses and
individuals will match this generosity and help us raise the last £75,000
that we need to be able to complete the Stairway to Heaven Memorial as
quickly as possible this year.
For more details please ring the charity office on 01474 702513 or Derek Spicer, our fund-raising Trustee on 07722 162 168.
Sandra (Hon. Sec)
posted: 7th May 2014.
The Mayors letter
The Mayor Boris Johnson has sent a letter confirming the donation of ten thousand pounds to our charity.
Click on the image to read the letter
posted: 1st April 2014.
STATION COLLECTIONS AND RACE NIGHT NEWS.
The race night on 8th March raised £725.80 with thanks to Ladbrokes for
helping us so much with the event.
The bucket station collection at Bethnal
Green on 7th March brought in £467.60 and at Liverpool Street tube station
on 29th March raised £654.18. So a huge thank you to all our helpers and to
everyone that gave donations at these events.
Sandra (Hon. Sec)
posted: 4th March 2014.
71st Anniversary Memorial Service, Sunday 2nd March 2014.
One hundred and seventy three candles were lit as a community united once
again to commemorate the worst civilian disaster of World War 2.
2nd March survivors, rescuers and relatives, involved in the Bethnal Green
tube shelter disaster, gathered together at St. John on Bethnal Green
They were there to honour the 173 people that died (62 of whom were
children), over 90 injured, plus all the Emergency Services personnel, who
were affected by the tragedy on 3rd March 1943.
Read more ...
posted: 12th December 2013
Honorary Secretary's report December 2013.
Our Trustee, Anna Reid, is organising a Spot the Ball competition for us. It costs £1 for you to enter and put your cross on the colour photo to show where you think the ball is. Entries must be sent to her by 4th January so please order yours from Derek Spicer on 07722 162 168.
Our month-long photographic exhibition at Bethnal Green library had to be cut short in the last few days as somebody stole one of the photographs (worth £75). However we only missed a few days, but we are sorry for anyone that made the journey in the last couple of days.
The arts and photographic auction that took place on 14th November raised just over £900 and the Festive Fair on 16th raised just over £515. Our thanks to everyone that helped out, everyone that donated paintings and goods, and to everyone that bought photos & painting at the auction or items at the Festive Fair. A special thank-you to our wonderful auctioneer, comedian John Ryan, to photographer Mike Pattison who provided the photographs, and to Bethnal Green library staff and St. John on Bethnal Green Church for allowing us to hold the events there.
We still have some paintings and beautiful hand-painted china to sell. Details of these can be obtained by email if needed or we will try to sell the rest early in the New Year.
The final event of the year is a bucket collection at the East London Design & fashion exhibition at Truman’s Brewery, Brick Lane from 5th to 8th December inclusive.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters and helpers for their support and hard work during the year and to wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a happy and Prosperous New Year. Let’s hope we will be able to complete the last part of the Stairway to Heaven Memorial sometime in 2014.
Sandra (Hon. Sec/Trustee)
posted: 2nd December 2013
2014 Desk Calendars.
We now have 2014 desk calendars for sale for £5 each. They have lots of
photos on them.
If possible please phone Derek Spicer on 07722 162 168 to order yours and if
you are in London he will probably be able to meet you somewhere to hand
them over. If not, then postage will have to be added.
posted: 1st December 2013
Gatehouse School cheque.
On 13th November Gatehouse School in Sewardstone