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War time view from the Monument

Date sent: 12 FEB 1940 

Sender: N/A  

Recipient: Miss Monica Davies, Shepherds Hill, Tynygongl, Anglesey. North Wales  

Transcription: 12 Feb, 1940 

Just a card hoping you are getting on all right.  I have been thinking about you.  I am back at S.Al. now from to-day.  It has been snowing here. Much love G D 

Panoramic view of london and tower bridge

There’s something special about wartime postcards made all the more poignant by our rarely knowing the full back story. Was Miss Davies a native of Anglesey, or had she moved there accompanying evacuees? Was GD family or friend, and what was S. Al?  

 This postcard was sent on Monday 12 February, after one of the hardest winters in 45 years.  Even the Thames had frozen in places. London had enjoyed a brief respite with temperatures rising slightly at the beginning of the month, but as GD notes snow had returned. Winter 1940 finally broke at the end of February. 

Postcard message

GD’s picture postcard shows London from the Monument before the Blitz of September 1940 – May 1941.  Halfway between London Bridge and the Tower of London, St Dunstan-in-the -East dominates the City side of the view.  The body of the church survived the Great Fire of London, but Wren had to rebuild the tower and steeple. Bombed in 1941, thirty years later the restored tower and steeple and nave walls, now set among gardens were opened to the public – one of London’s hidden gems.  

The White Tower stands tall in the distance, and with some effort and a magnifying glass, the shadowy outline of the Mazawattee Tea House on Tower Hill can be made out. That too was a victim of bombing raids, burning out in December 1940. 

The postcard looks very tranquil – the blue of the Thames perhaps benefitting from some enhancement. However, behind the scenes in the Tower Armouries, redundancies loomed. With the site closed to the public and parts of the collection and accompanying staff relocated to Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, economies demanded the establishment be cut by six men, leaving nine.  Foreman Nash’s stout defence of his staff earned him a very officious rap on the knuckles and necessitated his penning a formal apology for his presumption. Even in the face of war there were limits.  

 

The severe winter of 1939-40 – Historic Weather – Netweather Community Forums 

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