The Bethnal Green Memorial fund, which you may recall has built half the memorial but still fund raising for the main piece has secured a £10,000 donation from TfL.

They still need another £75,000 to finish the project, but are now able to start to order the teak for the ‘stairway’ right now.

The Bethnal Green disaster was the worst lost of civilian life during WW2, as 173 people were crushed to death on the staircase leading down to the tube station. The memorial is a mirror image of the staircase, leading up to heaven as the original lead down to carnage.


Despite claims that the disaster was covered up and kept secret, that is an urban myth that really needs to be banished as it was widely reported in the newspapers at the time. It seems somehow discourteous to those who died to claim their deaths were covered up.

A small plaque later marked the spot of the disaster, and more recently a more significant memorial has been planned, and half built. They are still fund raising for the rest to finish it.

If you want to donate to the memorial fund, you can do so here.

TfL’s £10,000 donation goes some way towards helping.

Incidentally, the only way I knew about TfL’s donation was by reading The Guardian, where a short sentence in a wider unrelated article mentioned it, and then found out that the memorial fund has a rarely updated blog mentioning it.

Shouldn’t a cheque for £10,000 be shouted about? A chance for a press release and tons of publicity in the media?


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  1. Ed says:

    If, as you say, the disaster was not covered-up and not kept secret then something else perhaps is discourteous? This, again as you say, being worst lost of civilian life during WW2…so how come we still not finished building a decent memorial? £75,000 being what is needed to finish the project may indeed be alot of money for most of us…but come on this is London surely in all the time since the tragic event the money could have been raised many times over. Shameful.

    • IanVisits says:

      Londoners tend to be very generous, when they know there is something to be generous about.

      Maybe I am just not seeing it, but the memorial trust seems to be fairly quiet about sounding its own trumpet.

  2. John Mac says:

    Is this money that has ben raised by TFL workers, or is this money that has been donated directly out TFL budgets? If it is the later, I am surprised that TFL as a remit to decide that money that should be used to run transport system should be donated to charity instead. I know £10k, isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things, but still…

    • IanVisits says:

      TfL spends lots of money on things designed to enhance the environment, from art displays, memorials, plants, etc.

      This is no different.

  3. sandra says:

    We’d love the press to shout loud about the £10,000 that Mayor Boris Johnson has given us, particularly as he urged Londoners to read more about what happened and also to donate to such a magnificent memorial. But for some reason only the local newspapers (East End Life and East London Advertiser) carried the story. We sent details to all the London papers in particular (Metro, Standard, City AM, The Wharf), but nobody carried the news.

    The stories that appeared about the disaster 2 days after it happened in 1943 did not give full details about where or how it happened and all those involved were told to keep it a secret to prevent the enemy from gaining propaganda from it and also to prevent Londoners in particular from using shelters during raids which could have led to more deaths. We have also since learnt that it probably prevented the Home Secretary of the day from having to resign too. His department had refused Bethnal Green Council permission to alter the entrance to make it safer two years beforehand. They had written to the government department 3 times asking for permission to make alterations to the shelter entrance (which would have prevented the tragedy) but each time they were refused. The cost would have been £88. The day after the disaster these measures were all put in place, but the local Council was told to keep this secret and were effectively made to take the blame, rather than the government. There’s nothing new in spin and cover ups today!!

  4. Nicholas Bennett says:

    The Home Secretary and Minister for Home security at the time was Herbert Morrison MP who sat for the neighbouring constituency of South Hackney.

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