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Havering survivors of Bethnal Green tube disaster may finally see justice

PUBLISHED: 11:47 13 March 2012

l-r, Reg Baker, Rik Fountain and Alf Morris

l-r, Reg Baker, Rik Fountain and Alf Morris

CARMEN VALINO ALL RIGHTS

Havering survivors of the Bethnal Green tube disaster may be eligible for compensation following explosive new evidence.

More than 70 years after 173 people were crushed to death on the tube stairwell, a new e-book reveals the tragedy was hushed up by the government at the time.

Former BBC journalist and author Rick Fountain met with survivors on Friday, including Alf Morris, of Hornchurch, and Reg Baker, of Elm Park, to discuss the findings.

Mr Fountain has unearthed national archives showing that between 1941 and 1942 Bethnal Green Council asked the government four times for an £88 restraining wall outside the tube entrance, but was told the barricade would be a waste of money.

His book, Mr Morrison’s Conjuring Trick, claims that a day after the accident Civil Defence bosses ordered work on a new structure to slow down busy crowds. It was feared if news of the blunder got out, home security minister Herbert Morrison would be forced to resign.

The book, available via Amazon on Kindles and iPads, comes as work on a memorial at the site started earlier this month.

The archives are a cruel shock for 84-year-old Alf Morris, who has thrown his support behind Mr Fountain’s research.

Alf, who as a 13-year-old was plucked from the stampede by a woman, said: “I didn’t know any of this before. I did blame the council but this throws a different light on it.

“I want it brought home that the government of the day was to blame.”

Mr Fountain admitted the evidence may also open the door for compensation for survivors.

He said: “Here is a fairly comprehensive record of what took place. Having assembled all this, one could put it to the local MP to be raised in the House of Commons. They could make an invitation to respond to the wishes of the Bethnal Green people to meet the costs of the Stairway to Heaven memorial.”


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