On 28 April 1942, York was hit by Baedeker Blitz, a series of raids carried out by the German aire force in response to the bombing of the city of Lubeck during World War II. The Baedeker raids targeted somewhat unimportant yet very picturesque cities within England in hope of destroying the beauty of our country. The raids took place in the beautiful cities of Exeter, Bath, Norwich, Canterbury and York.
Across the raids a massive total of 1,637 civilians were killed with a further 1,760 left injured. With 50,000 houses and buildings being destroyed, York’s famous Guildhall was amongst those left ruined after bombing alongside the rail station which was also left badly damaged.
In order to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Baedeker Blitz, the City of York Council will be putting on many events to commemorate the disastrous events of 1942. Saturday 28 April sees celebrations in The Guildhall as the City of York Council put on a 1940’s style tea dance to commemorate 70 years since the bombing of the building.
Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Social Inclusion, Cllr Sonja Crisp said “I suggested a tea dance because I thought it would be a perfect way to mark the anniversary of the bombing raid and have worked with council officers to make it is a success. I hope that residents will get their tickets as soon as possible and above all that they will enjoy the afternoon.”
The tea dance will commence at 2pm and will run until 4:30pm. Entrance costs a mere £4.20 for an afternoon filled with cakes, music, tea and dancing. Tickets are available to buy from the council: 01904 554667, but be quick as Prizes will also be awarded for the best dressed man and best dressed woman alongside spot prizes being dished out throughout the afternoon. So get your glad rags on and be sure to join in on the 70th anniversary celebrations.
York Art Gallery are also marking the 70th anniversary of the York Blitz with a small collection of drawings and prints that capture the buildings damaged in Baedeker air raid. The works on show were selected by a collection of local residents, some of whom shared personal memories of the air raid during a previous project at the gallery in 2009 called ‘Reflections on War’.
The display will be accompanied by a book featuring recollections and creative writing from participants. Artist Pat Borthwick has also created a soundpiece to accompany the collection, tellingthe story of the bombing and refurbishment of St Martin le Grand on Coney Street. The soundpiece is available for visitors to listen to within the gallery. The display can be found in the Community Chest in the Burton Gallery from 17 April-18 June.
York Explore will also be taking part in the anniversary celebrations as they fill social networking site, Twitter, with a minute by minute account of the air raid through the night of April 29. For all those interested in reading the account just simply follow @YorkLibrariesUK.