Curator's Choice: The Blitz

AYY 78. Clip is from City Fires - London and Manchester, 1940

Senior Film Curator Jane Fish highlights a hidden gem in the IWM film collection, to mark 80 years since The Blitz began, as Nazi Germany bombed London and other UK cities from September of 1940 through May of 1941.

This short unedited black and white film was shot by British Army Film Unit cameramen during the night bombing raid of 29-30 December 1940 - a night during the London Blitz known as “The Second Great Fire of London”. The astonishing panning shot from vantage point high on the roof of St Paul’s Cathedral provides a dramatic record of the raging fires and destruction caused by the bombing. Although surrounded by the conflagration, St Paul’s emerged remarkably unscathed and remained a symbol of Britain’s indomitable spirit during the war.

The Blitz - IWM Film Selection 

From amateur colour footage of bomb-damaged buildings, to shots of Winston Churchill visting London's East End and civillians sheltering in Underground stations, IWM's collections are an excellent resource for telling the story of the defiance of the United Kingdom under attack.

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