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Havering survivors of Bethnal Green tube disaster welcome new research

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 March 2012

After the carnage, gathering of the evidence begins. Photo of Bethnal Green tube stairs taken March 4, 1943. Courtesy National Archive.

After the carnage, gathering of the evidence begins. Photo of Bethnal Green tube stairs taken March 4, 1943. Courtesy National Archive.

Archant

Havering survivors of the Bethnal Green tube disaster have welcomed new research which claims the accident was hushed up by the government.

A new e-book, written by former BBC journalist Rick Fountain, claims Bethnal Green Council had warned the government that the stairwell was unsafe before tragedy struck.

In 1943, 173 people were crushed to death on the tube stairwell during an air raid.

But new book, Mr Morrison’s Conjuring Trick, reveals the worst civilian disaster of the Second World War may have been avoided if the government had heeded the advice of the council.

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

Fountain claims that a day after the accident, Civil Defence bosses ordered work on a new structure to slow down the hurrying crowds. It was feared that if news of the blunder got out, home security minister Herbert Morrisson would be forced to resign.

The book, available through Amazon on Kindles and iPads, comes as work on a memorial started last week.

Survivor Alf Morris, 82, of Hornchurch, said: “I would like to see more research done into this. Everything is still pushed under the carpet – no one wants to take the blame for what happened.

“If you’ve had families wiped out and then you put in an improved entrance, then you’re admitting you’ve made a mistake.”


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