North Watford History Group

1 May 2010 — Blitz Street

Visitors to this website who have read about the bombing of North Watford during World War 2 may be interested in the series Blitz Street, broadcast on Channel 4.

The producers of this four-part series have constructed a pair of terraces on a remote air force base. These terraces have been built using the techniques and materials that would have been used during the inter-war years. By using replica bombs and controlled explosions, the damage that would have resulted on similar buildings, during the war, can be studied. Although the damage sustained is evident to those who lived through the bombardment, and by others via photographs and newsreels, the opportunity for scientific analysis wasn't available at the time. For this television series, the street has been equipped with high-speed cameras and pressure monitors.

What may sound like a programme that has been made for the sole purpose of being destructive, clearly isn't when when watched. For people who hadn't experienced the war, the sight of the results of this experimental work is most revealing. The presenter, Tony Robinson, can be seen to be visibly shocked by the intensity of the noise and force of the explosions, and the experts are sometimes surprised by the results, which don't always fit their predictions. The programme uses historical footage and interviews with survivors to provide the context for the experiments.

Parts one and two of this four-part series have already been broadcast, but may be seen on Channel 4's website. These episodes focussed upon the high-explosive and incendiary bombs, dropped by the Luftwaffe on British targets. Part 3, to be shown at 9:00pm on Monday, looks at the V1 flying bomb.

[Added by Glen: 8:45am 1 May 2010]

This page was last updated on 26 May 2010.