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Rare pictures of the first air raids over Norwich in 1940

PUBLISHED: 14:00 05 March 2012 | UPDATED: 15:29 05 March 2012

Devastation caused at Boulton and Paul’s Riverside Works by a German bomber.

Devastation caused at Boulton and Paul's Riverside Works by a German bomber.

Archant

The story of King Street in Norwich is told in a new exhibition opening at Dragon Hall on March 6 which features some photographs of the first air raids of WWII brought death and destruction

Rare pictures, thought to be published for the first time, show a scene of death and destruction which heralded the arrival of the second world war in Norwich.

Two savage daylight raids by the German Luftwaffe in the summer of 1940 left people heart-broken and angry. Norwich was well and truly at war. People were being killed and factories and houses blown up.

The fight for survival was on.

These photographs give us a glimpse of just a small part of the damage caused following the raids on the big Riverside Works of Boulton & Paul which the Germans wanted to knock out.

They will form part of a fascinating Voices of King Street exhibition which opens at Dragon Hall on Tuesday March 6 and tells the story of this historic and colourful part of the city.

The war arrived in Norwich on July 9, 1940 when two planes unleashed their deadly loads over the city – killing 27 men and women from Boulton & Paul, Barnards, Thorpe railway station and Carrow Works.

Carrow Hill was packed with workers going home from Colmans when the attack came. The hill ran red with blood. Five women were killed – many more suffered terrible injuries.

Kate Lovett, of Sprowston, was the first to die.

There was panic in the streets as smoke rose into the air. People lay dead and dying in the street.

At Boulton & Paul 10 people died, and more would later lose their lives, and a further nine would be killed in a second raid on August 1.

At the time it was illegal for members of the public to photograph damage for fear of damaging morale and helping enemy intelligence so these pictures were taken surreptitiously.

Even the Evening News reports from the time refer to raids on ‘East Anglian towns’.

Jack Fincham was a 17-year-old engineer at the time. He heard the bombs falling and shouted a warning to his colleagues who scrambled to shelter under a work bench as the bombs dropped.

These are pictures of mangled workshops at Boulton & Paul’s Riverside Works – now replaced by the Riverside development.

They were hidden away but will be part of the King Street story being told at Dragon Hall. The exhibition is full of new displays and stories from people who have lived, worked and had a good time in boisterous King Street over the last century.

Often a rough and tumble place, it has produced some great characters over the years – the exhibition gives us a chance to see and hear all kinds of stories – some funny, others sad.

It’s had a rough deal over the years but at last times are changing. A part of Norwich with a colourful history – and an exciting future.

Voices of King Street opens at Dragon Hall on Tuesday, March 6 and runs until Friday, March 16, 10am to 4pm (closed Saturday, March 10). Admission is £2.50.

Next week we open the pages of a new book by former Evening News writer and military historian Steve Snelling telling the story of the Norwich Blitz as we approach its 70th anniversary.

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