Living With the Blitz

As the war progresses, the new normal sets in. People learn to deal with bombing raids, and the clear-up afterwards. But the end is in sight!


Scene summaries may contain spoilers
Welcome back to London, in May 1941. It's eight months into the Blitz, and people have adapted to the new normal. The Underground has been opened as shelter, with locals allocated set spaces, and tickets for everyone else. They have beds, chemical toilets, and even food service! But while conditions have improved, the stations are not entirely safe, with several stations getting hit, killing dozens of people.
Men with construction experience have been released from the army to act as repair teams for bomb damage. With 80% of damaged houses in London fixed up, homelessness is less of an issue. The badly constructed shelters have been pulled down, and a new steel shelter devised. It can even be used as a table during the day and fits inside a flat. Information centres provide one-stop access to everything you need if you've been bombed. But there is a dark side to this new normal. People are tired of the Blitz, and tiredness sometimes causes casualties.
Many incendiaries have fallen, and there are fires everywhere. The city centre is getting blown to pieces! The Lipton coffee warehouse is hit, and while the fire engines move quickly, the water mains are hit. The firefighters have to resort to using sewer water. This is a huge health hazard, but they can't risk bombs falling this close to shelters.
Over 1,400 Londoners died last night, and much of London is filled with smouldering ruins. Over 2,000 fires burn and the all-clear didn't sound until 6am. It has been 243 days since the Blitz began. Everyone is hoping the bombers won't come again tonight... and they won't. The Blitz is over for London. Hitler has turned his sights on Russia and needs his planes there. But the war is far from over, and it doesn't mean Britain is safe from bombs.
Welcome to New Cross in November 1944. In 1942, Britain began bombing German cities and industrial areas, including the medieval centre of Lübeck. In retaliation, the Germans began bombing cities like York, Bath, and Canterbury. They also invented new bombs that could be launched from coastal Europe, and they've been using them to bomb London. Each V-2 missile damages an average of 600 houses, and gives no warning at all. In New Cross, the main attraction is not a historic cathedral or beauty spot, but the local Woolworths. They're selling tin saucepans, a rarity during the time of rationing and shortages, so the shop is packed. A V-2 Bomb flattens the entire area, killing 168 people in the Woolworths and surrounding shops. It may not be the Blitz, but it isn't an improvement either.
Trafalgar Square is lit up with lights everywhere. A bomb hasn't fallen on England since the end of March, and the city is getting back to normal. Germany has just surrendered, and tomorrow will be VE Day, which Churchill has made a national holiday. Over 10,000 Londoners are flooding into the streets to celebrate after years of fighting fires, digging through rubble, or trying to stay safe in shelters. There is nothing to worry about tomorrow – apart from a hangover.


Cast listings may contain spoilers
Six to Start Ensemble
Robyn Holdaway
Kate Blair
Matt Wieteska
Sound Designer
Mark Pittam