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Irene's Story

I was a thirteen-year-old evacuee living with two other evacuees in Bath. Besides us there was the teenage daughter of the house, her mother, and her father whose job was connected with the gas works that was on some land behind the house.

Irene could not have started from Midland Bridge Road and then taken the route to school she describes. That route is correct if she were starting from Victoria Bridge Road though. That would make her address No 2 Albert Buildings, and the factory opposite would be part of Stothert and Pitt's.

Somehow I feel certain that the address at which I lived at the time of the Bath Blitz was 2 Midland Bridge Road. I do not remember any other residential properties around us.

Coming out of the house and turning to the left there was a factory on the opposite side of the road and continuing further up the road there was a bridge. We then crossed a main road and cut through some allotments and this was our route to school: Lyde House on Sion Hill.

GasworksThe house (and the gas works, see picture) was badly damaged on the first night of the blitz. We escaped from it and ran up the road to a concrete shelter in which we stayed for the rest of the night.

The house in which I and the other evacuees were living was so badly damaged that we were unable to re-enter it on the morning following the first raids, and with no family and only the clothes we were wearing, we sought help from two of our teachers. These two lived on the top floor of Lyde House in Sion Hill which was being used as our school.

We spent the day with the teachers and that night we were offered a bed in the home of a family who lived a little farther up Sion Hill.

We were very tired as we had had no sleep during the night of the bombing and had spent the day painting! This was because Lyde House had a domed glass roof over the entrance and our teacher was convinced that the German bombers would be able to see the white-painted stairs. She produced black paint and brushes and every bit of white paint had to be covered before we were allowed to finish.

We fell exhausted into a large double bed in our temporary home and slept until our host shook us awake when the bombing started again. Lyde House was badly damaged by incendiaries on that second night.

Supplementary information

Numbers 1 and 2 Albert Buildings were both so badly damaged that they were declared unsafe. Number 3 was only slightly damaged, and it remained habitable.

Lyde House (number 6 Sion Hill) was very badly damaged, and the houses alongside (numbers 3, 4 and 5) were totally destroyed by the bombing. As well as the incendiaries that Irene mentioned, there was also a 500Kg bomb in the gardens behind Lyde House.


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