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Wartime London
London Docklands following an air raid during the Blitz
Public DomainLondon Docklands following an air raid during the Blitz - Credit: NARA

From September 1940 until May 1941, London was bombed almost daily by the German Luftwaffe in what came to be known as the Blitz.  Although by 1942 the pressure was off, as Hitler focused his firepower on Russia, the capital in which Charlotte arrives was in a terrible state.

Fighting a blaze after a bombing raid
Public DomainFighting a blaze after a bombing raid - Credit: NARA









Air Raid Shelter, London, WWII
Public DomainAir Raid Shelter, London, WWII - Credit: Mangostar

London had by then suffered intensive bombing on a scale never seen before, during which 60,000 people were killed and two million homes were destroyed.  The inhabitants of London had grown used to the nightly rush to an air raid shelter whenever a siren sounded, often in an Underground (subway) station.


Bombed Out and Homeless
Public DomainBombed Out and Homeless - Credit: Ercheck/NARA















By 1942, life was returning to a kind of normality.  The air raids were over, but conditions remained very difficult.  People lived crammed together in shared flats and houses, due to the loss of so much housing stock.  Unexploded ordnance remained a significant danger, despite the efforts of army bomb disposal experts.


Unexploded Bomb, London, WWII
Creative Commons AttributionUnexploded Bomb, London, WWII - Credit: NARA