London SE1 community website

Bermondsey bomb made safe after two days of drama

London SE1 website team

The streets of Bermondsey returned to normality just after 6pm on Tuesday when the World War II bomb found on a local demolition site the previous day was driven away to Kent.

Bermondsey bomb made safe after two days of drama
Notice posted in Grange Road giving details of the evacuation
Bermondsey bomb made safe after two days of drama
The bomb is driven away along Grange Road
Bermondsey bomb made safe after two days of drama
The military convoy turning from Humphrey Street into Old Kent Road
Bermondsey bomb made safe after two days of drama
The site at the centre of the drama soon after the cordons had been lifted

See coverage of Monday's events

Those living in a 100 metre radius around the site of the unexploded bomb at the corner of The Grange and Grange Walk spent Monday night in hotels and temporary accommodation arranged by the council.

Overnight from Monday into Tuesday police officers knocked on the doors of residents living between 100 metres and 200 metres from the site.

Those in the extended exclusion zone were encouraged to evacuate their homes between 6am and 8am on Tuesday to allow an Army bomb disposal squad to make the device safe.

During the day, evacuees were looked after at a 'rest centre' at Seven Islands Leisure Centre in Rotherhithe.

Boutcher Primary School, Kintore Way Nursery and Harris Academy Bermondsey were all closed to pupils on Tuesday.

Bermondsey Health Centre and Artesian Health Centre were also shut for the day.

After hour of painstaking work, at 6pm the bomb was removed from the exclusion zone and driven away by the Army for a controlled explosion at a Kent quarry.

Police motorcycle outriders accompanied the military truck as it made its way along Grange Road, Dunton Road, Mandela Way, Humphrey Street and Old Kent Road.

Local Blitz historian Neil Bright believes that the bomb – a 250kg SA German bomb – fell on 11 May 1941 and has lain undiscovered until 2015.

Until recently the site was occupied by Mabel Goldwin House and Evelyn Coyle House – latterly home to the Southwark Irish Pensioners Project.

Southwark Council leader Peter John paid tribute to the emergency services, the Army and volunteers from the British Red Cross and St John Ambulance who contributed to the operation.

Simon Hughes MP said: "These difficult past few days remind us that eternal vigilance is always needed in an area which suffered so much during the blitz.

"Bermondsey has come together again to show real spirit – and I would like to praise the efforts of the emergency services, armed forces, council employees, volunteers and others who have worked so hard.

" I would also like to praise the many Bermondsey residents who coped admirably with such a challenging situation.

"However, there will of course be lessons to be learned. Some people tell me that they feel official communication has not been good enough.

"And I am asking the police, army and local authority to carry out a full review of events from the moment of the first suspicion of any risk to make sure all Londoners learn what can be done better in future."

Listen to audio
The SE1 website is supported by people like you
We are part of
Independent Community News Network
Email newsletter

For the latest local news and events direct to your inbox every Monday, you need our weekly email newsletter SE1 Direct.

News archive from February 1999 to January 2001
Got a story for us?
Contact us with your tip-offs and story ideas.