The photograph above shows damage done to number 32 Brougham Road, Wallasey during the December Blitz. It has appeared in many books about the blitz on Merseyside and even appeared in the Daily Post on the 23rd December 1940. It is a fascinating image as it shows not just damage to the roadway, but also that the explosion has thrown a car up in the air, with it coming to rest upside down between the doorway and wall of number 32.
I included the photograph in my second book: Merseyside Blitzed with the usual direct comparison with the modern viewpoint below
In keeping with a lot of my recent work though, I particularly wanted to get another modern photograph in order to create a ghost image (one where the modern and wartime photograph are merged). I managed this a short time ago, then posted the results to my Facebook author page and shared it with several groups. The response was very positive, especially on a group called Wallasey Memories (link below) where something quite amazing happened.
First of all one of the members mentioned that they used to live at number 30, and recalled “the roof next door was never straight”. This was followed by Angela Cooper and Sandra Topping, sisters who lived at number 32 itself in the 1980s, when it was their family home.
A major contribution came soon after from Ken Clark, a fellow photographer who also does both “then and now” and ghost photos of the local area. It seems that this kind of work runs in the family, for Ken posted a slide with photographs originally taken by his uncle. Ken’s uncle served in the RAF during the war, and saw much of the damage first hand whilst on leave.
For many years he gave talks which included then and now photographs. When taking the post-war photos he would often speak to the current residents of the properties concerned, and if they agreed, include them in the photograph. His photograph of Brougham Road therefore included Sandra and Angela’s parents, Arnold & Betty Williams standing outside, who are sadly no longer with us.
It was a real pleasure to hear everyone’s connection to the photograph, and see how a few images can be very powerful, bringing together people around a common interest. It also allows even those unfamiliar with the property to gain an appreciation of the scale of damage that Wallasey suffered, and the unusual sights that people alive during the Blitz would have witnessed.
Wallasey memories group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/liberator31/