Reference HO 205/235
Title Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster: papers and memoranda compiled for Mr Dunne
Former Department Reference O and O GEN 275/9
Government Department Ministry of Home Security
Themes Military Activity and Home Defence
Subthemes Air raid shelters, Casualties and injuries, Central and local government, Air Raid Precautions and Civil Defence
Document Types Reports and Surveys, Memoranda, Meeting Minutes
Civil Defence Regions Region 5: London
Locations Berlin, Bethnal Green
Organisations Borough Councils, Civil Defence Service


A file of documents relating to the enquiry into the Bethnal Green tube shelter disaster. Subjects discussed in the file include the shelter habits of Bethnal Green residents during the bombing and lull periods; the origin of the shelter occupants; the public's preference for deep shelters; the number of casualties in the disaster; criticism of the structure of the shelter, including the lighting, the entrance surroundings, and the staircase; and the nature and cause of the occupants' panic. Other subjects discussed include the lack of police and wardens in the shelters; the performance of the rescue and ambulance services; recommendations for the improvement of shelter provision and administration; and other incidents in which the crushing of people resulted in fatalities. The file also covers the regional organisation of civil defence; confusion over the status of regional commissioners due to changes in the Defence Regulations; and the commissioners' functions concerning civil defence and air-raid shelter provisions.


accommodation, administration, air raids, air-raid precautions, air-raid shelter conditions, air-raid shelters, air-raid wardens, air-raid warnings, ambulances, bedding, children, cinemas, civil defence, civilian casualties, communications, construction, crime, death rate, defence regulations, demographics, emergency procedures, Fascism, finance, fires, first aid, government committees, government departments, grants, healthcare, hospitals, housing, infants, infrastructure, Jews, law, lighting, local authorities, London Underground, motor vehicles, municipal buildings, overcrowding, police, public health, public morale, railway stations, railways, rescue

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